Berklee Summer Concert SeriesNadia Washington Quartet
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Often compared to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, Nadia Washington's style incorporates a fusion of different musical avenues. Her smooth, velvet-cloaked vocals draw in an audience, leaving many feeling quite misty.
Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Washington was surrounded by some of the premier musicians of the area. Of course one in particular would be her mother, Nelda Washington, who took the hotel bar and lounge circuit by storm in the late '80s and early '90s. Being a single parent, Nelda would bring her daughter to studio sessions and some hotel gigs. This was the beginning of her education.
At the age of 5, Washington had her first performance at a church that seated five thousand. This was the start of her passion for performing. As she began to really get serious about her craft, her mother would invite her to sing along with on some gigs. Eventually, Washington began singing with her in studio sessions for clients such as Frito-Lay and McDonald's. She has also been involved in numerous studio sessions with various major recording artists, including David and Tamela Mann of the new television sitcom Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns.
By the time she hit her teenage years, Washington found a new passion: jazz music. At the age of 15, she was accepted to Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, where could learn more about the music that mesmerized her. Attending this school led her to many more opportunities that gave her national recognition: two DownBeat Student Music Awards and an honor from the National Foundation of the Advancement of the Arts. In 2006, she received the Monterey Jazz Festival Outstanding Jazz Vocalist award and participated in the Grammy Jazz Ensemble. She was also accepted to Berklee on the Bill Cosby Presidential Scholarship.
While studying at Berklee, Washington has made a mark on both coasts, playing at the Blue Note in New York as well as at Vibrato in Bel Air, California. She was an affiliate of many ensembles, most notably those led by Terri Lyne Carrington, Greg Osby, and Ralph Peterson, touring the East Coast.
Washington has appeared as a guest vocalist for many occasions, including a musical tribute to Dave Brubeck in 2007, and she was a featured performing artist in the Trinidad and Tobago Steelpan and Jazz Festival in 2008. Shortly thereafter, she played the role of Billie Holiday in the musical Love and Hunger. Most recently, Washington had the opportunity to sing with legendary jazz pianist Kenny Barron in the 2010 commencement ceremony at Berklee.