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Take Five With Lauren Henderson

Lauren Henderson By

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Meet Lauren Henderson:

Lauren Henderson is a Massachusetts-born singer and songwriter. With eclectic vocal influences and a style that spreads across genres, she produces a distinct yet versatile sound. Her diverse musical background is rooted in jazz and expands to rhythm and blues, Latin, soul, gospel, classical, fusion, neo-soul, pop, Nuevo-flamenco and many other forms. Beginning piano lessons at the age of seven, and singing in church and school choirs has helped mold her to the musician she is today. Lauren has composed, performed, studied and directed music in the United States and internationally.

Currently based in New York, Lauren has performed around New York City and abroad. Having earned degrees in music as well as Hispanic Studies, Lauren has been able to combine her love for music and culture.

While living in Puebla, México, she studied the traditional music of the Yucatan and popular music throughout the country. Through her international piano and voice studies, she worked on developing her skill. In Córdoba, España, she studied flamenco and the similarities it shares with jazz. An avid Nuevo-flamenco listener, Lauren often quotes the new and popular sounds of various countries while nurturing the roots of classic forms.

Instrument(s):

Vocals, piano.

Teachers and/or influences?

Sarah Vaughan, Julie London, Blossom Dearie, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Shirley Horn.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I joined Voices United to Jam, a student-run gospel and R&B group at Wheaton College.

Your sound and approach to music:

Relaxed, smooth, soulful, smoky.

Your teaching approach:

Patience is important. If I am teaching, I think it is important that you know what the student is passionate about. Once they have love for the art, they will practice and improve because they want to.

Your dream band:

I love my quartet. They are my good friends and I think that helps us connect. Some greats I would love to work with and/or would have loved to work with are: Ahmad Jamal, Bill Evans, Junior Mance, Ray Bryant, Eddie Gomez, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Gene Krupa, Lewis Nash, Chick Webb.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:

One time I got up after sitting down and singing for quite some time, and I must have been tired or weak because I fell on to the upright bassist... he caught me.

Favorite venue:

Preshco performance in México.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

My debut album, Lauren Henderson; it's my first born...

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Ella Fitzgerald, Sings the Cole Porter Songbook.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

I believe in studying the greats from the past, but I always try to bring a different spin on standards and tunes.

Did you know...

I speak two languages fluently.

CDs you are listening to now:

Jane Monheit, The Lovers, The Dreamers and Me
Etienne Charles, Kaiso .

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

There is so much wonderful music out there, we have to find all we can and promote it as much as possible.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Education, performance, practice.

What is in the near future?

Promotion and performance, based around Lauren Henderson, my debut album.

By Day:

Production management.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

A dancer or a visual artist.

Photo Credit: Diane Levine
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