“People always ask me how long I have been singing. I say I started at 5 years old but I know it was long before that. I do remember constantly performing in front of thousands of people, in my mind. I would sing lead, back-up, and all the instruments. Microphone of choice was my mother’s deodorant spray, ” she laughs.
Jewelle performed for her first real audience at age six singing in a school play. She began piano lessons and continued for eleven years before turning her attention towards becoming a vocalist. Music and singing have always come naturally to her.
Her love for rich harmonies and the blending of voices inspired her to join a Gospel choir as a teenager. She would bask in the beauty of the voices and learn all the parts just for fun.
The choir performed all over Quebec, in Saskatchewan, and in New York. It was the most fulfilling musical experience of her life up to that point. While continuing her passion for Gospel music, a friend introduced her to an up and coming musician and they wrote and recorded songs together, hoping to be ‘discovered’.
Jewelle also began performing at a variety of Montreal venues with several Montreal bands and recording artists including Freddie James, Pierre Perpall, Dawn Tyler Watson, Wayne Tennant, and Michelle Sweeney.
At the same time, “My childhood friend was diagnosed with cancer, and she encouraged me to pursue my dream. I left my day job and that was that. ”
Jewelle was introduced to Denis Maheux by Pierre Perpall. They formed the band Ad-Lib and simultaneously started working on the material for her current album. It was here that she started cultivating her own voice and style. “I started to love my voice and really enjoy it.”
Jewelle performs internationally and has had shows in Morocco, Qatar, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. A riveting and versatile performer, Jewelle has opened for Matt Dusk at a gala function, and was described by an audience member as “the next IT girl.”. She was also a featured artist on the television program, Belle et Bum, with Normand Brathwaite. Her ability to WOW her fans comes from her undeniable stage presence, gifted vocal range, and easy-going nature.
Her first CD of original music, Ain’t It Good, which she wrote and produced, is currently available on all digital distribution outlets worldwide.
“I wanted my album to be organic… lots of instrumentation… a musical experience. It is like a funky-swing-r&b-pop groove.
She combines Swing, R&B, and Jazz, spiced with Gospel vocals and a little Rock for an eclectic style that is all her own, making the bold statement that she is not a woman looking for anyone’s approval. After the incredible success of her North American CD launch with her 10-piece band of musicians and singers, it is clear that she makes no concessions to pop trends or compromises the character of her artistry as she charms and disarms with her voice and music.
Listen for yourself and see why people are talking about Jewelle McKenzie.