Join us for a series of conversations with the incredibly talented young singers who’ve performed — and triumphed! — at NJPAC’s Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition — as well as the judges who spotted their amazing gifts. This annual contest, now in its ninth year, has propelled a whole cohort of rising jazz singers into exceptional careers.

At this NJPAC Backstage interview, meet the 2017 winner of the Sassy Awards: Quiana Lynell.

A Texas native, Quiana went to Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge to study voice. After graduating, she taught music at the elementary and the university level, while pursuing her own career on the stage. In 2017, she broke through, appearing at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and at Terence Blanchard’s tribute to Spike Lee, fronting a 75-piece orchestra. In November of that year, she wowed the judges at the Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition. That win got her a recording contract with Concord Records, which released her debut album, A Little Love, in 2019. Her first recording encompasses jazz, soul, gospel and R&B, with Quiana’s unique interpretation of songs by Duke Ellington, the Gershwins, Nina Simone and Chaka Khan.

Tune in for a conversation with Quiana Lynell about recording and playing live, teaching and performing, and what the legacy of Sarah Vaughan means to her. Hear all about it at 6PM on August 11, on NJPAC’s Instagram page!

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