Vocalist and Composer Lauren Kinhan has been creating genre-merging music for years as evidenced on her CD’s, Avalon (E One 2010) and Hardly Blinking (2000) and her contributions to New York Voices’ many recordings. Her musical ideas shake up the traditional confines of jazz, pop and everything in between and offer instead, the listener an experience led by an accomplished creative and curious mind. Legendary Phil Ramone describes Lauren as a true songstress, “She is musical, lyrical, and really delivers vocally.” Her training in jazz and deep connection to soul music has developed a voice that is expressive and fearless while her love of prose keep her dreaming of ways to lead her listeners on different adventures. Christopher Loudon from Jazz Times says, “Sweet surprises lurk around every corner… shaping a pastiche that is hip, intelligent and vibrant.”
Her third solo CD, tentatively titled Circle in a Square, is in production following a successful campaign she ran with the aid of Kickstarter’s fan funded business model. She has partnered with Elliot Scheiner (Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac) to produce the recording featuring the amazing talents of Ben Wittman (drums), Andy Ezrin (piano), Dave Finck (bass), and Will Lee (bass) for the underbelly. The project will also feature special guests like, Randy Brecker, Gil Goldstein, Romero Lubambo and Donny McAslin, to name a few. It’s another collection of her original songs with a wide range of stories and moods to be struck. She has also commissioned fine artists to depict some of the songs that will be featured in the packaging and the book of lead sheets. The artists are from her own family and immediate circle of friends and celebrate the impact these visionaries have had on her creative life. A tentative Summer 2013 release is the goal.
Since 1992, Lauren has been a member of the Grammy Award winning New York Voices; a career that has taken her all over the world and allowed her to work with some of music’s greats like Nancy Wilson, George Benson, Bobby McFerrin, Paquito D’Rivera, Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, Ivan Lins and The Manhattan Transfer. NYV is celebrating their 25th Anniversary in 2013 with three new projects, New York Voices Live at the Java Jazz Festival (DVD & CD), New York Voices Live with the WDR Big Band (CD), and their long awaited Holiday CD, Let it Snow. Their ever growing list of programs keep them busy with world class symphonies and big bands and their successful education division has grown from offering individual Master Classes and Workshops while on the road to creating the annual New York Voices Vocal Jazz Camp which attracts students of all ages and phases of life and from all over the world. This camp is hosted at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
Her versatility as a composer is evidenced in her contributions to New York Voices CDs over the years, and co-founding two other super groups, Moss and JaLaLa. Moss, made up of Luciana Souza, Kate McGarry, Theo Bleckmann, Peter Eldridge and Lauren, released their self-titled CD, Moss, in 2008 to rave reviews. In 2010, it was included in DownBeat’s ‘Best CDs of the 2000s’ issue. JaLaLa is short for Janis Siegel (The Manhattan Transfer), Laurel Massé (founding member of The Manhattan Transfer) and Lauren Kinhan, and they released their tribute to Johnny Mercer, That Old Mercer Magic, in 2009.
Lauren’s debut solo project, Hardly Blinking, was produced by Phil Ramone, Frank Filipetti and Rob Mounsey and was mixed by Frank and Elliot Scheiner in 2000. It shows off the influence that Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell had on her early writing. The collection of songs were pulled directly from a live performance at the Bitter End in NYC that Phil Ramone attended and then signed her on the spot. Expect categories to be dashed with rock anthems sitting next to art pieces. “Ask Amelia,” I Saw Love Today,” and “Heaven and Earth” are particular high notes.
In 2010, EOne Entertainment picked up Lauren’s sophomore CD, Avalon, which she co-produced with Ben Wittman. Avalon incorporates more of her jazz background with her singer/songwriter predilection and takes a good look at the passage of time. It is a project rich with well crafted arrangements highlighting Lauren’s voice and writing, and features some of New York’s finest musicians: Romero Lubambo, Donny McAslin, Andy Ezrin, Kate McGarry, Peter Eldridge and Joel Frahm. On the track, “Here After,” Jonatha Brooke sings the duet while Rob Mounsey pens an exquisite string arrangement. The sophisticated and nuanced attention to detail is present throughout the recording. Jazziz publisher Michael Fagien says “I can’t stop listening to it. She mines deep reservoirs of emotion and experience throughout.”
New York Voices share two Grammy awards for their featured work on Paquito D’Rivera’s Brazilian Dreams in 2003 and the Count Basie Orchestra’s Live at the Machester Craftsman Guild in 1997. They continue to use the choral canon as the backdrop for their voices as evidenced in their 2007 release, A Day Like This.
You can hear Lauren’s voice on the multi-Grammy nominated Bobby McFerrin project VOCAbuLaireS and Ornette Coleman’s 1996 release Sound Museum, Three Women. She toured with Ornette, culminating with his 1997 Lincoln Center retrospective, “?Civilization” featuring Billie Higgins, Charlie Haden and Gerrie Allen. In 1996 Lauren and Japan’s rising star guitarist/producer Jiro Yoshida teamed up to release Guitar and the Moon. The stellar quartet, featuring Eddie Gomez, showcases her personal take on singing the standards.
Lauren served on the Board of Governors for the Recording Academy’s NY Chapter from 2008-2010. She currently sits on the committees for Education, Jazz and Grammy Career Day. Teaching and mentoring are a big part of her schedule. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music.