Johnaye Kendrick was born and raised in San Diego, CA. She received a Bachelor of Music from Western Michigan University in 2005. During her time at Western Michigan, she received a DownBeat Student Music Award for Outstanding Jazz Vocalist, and was featured in an honors recital with pianist Fred Hersch. In the fall of 2007, Ms. Kendrick was accepted to the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
While attending the Thelonious Monk Institute, Johnaye worked with many outstanding jazz musicians, including Terence Blanchard, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Danilo Perez, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Brian Blade