Alyssa GrahamView in iTunes
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Born in New Jersey to parents who instilled a love for all musical genres in their daughter, singer/songwriter Alyssa Graham took inspiration from Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan, Dizzy Gillespie, Neil Young, Nancy Wilson, and the Temptations at an early age and later funneled those musical influences into her own music, which utilized both her multi-instrumental skills and jazz-styled vocal delivery. Although she ultimately established herself as a solo artist, Graham received her first boost with Blindman's Holiday, a six-piece ensemble that she co-founded after enrolling at Ithaca College. The sextet became legendary on the college circuit, securing high-profile performances with such artists as the Band, Lisa Loeb, Jesse Harris, and the Wailers. Graham graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in anthropology and continued touring extensively. Travels through Brazil, India, Africa, and Europe supplied boundless musical inspiration. As Graham's creative resolve, passion for storytelling, and vocal eloquence continued to evolve, her peers and the jazz cognoscenti praised her true talents as a singer/songwriter. She continued her musical studies at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studied jazz voice and contemporary improvisation, and was encouraged to develop a unique artistic style that played on her fresh, breezy phrasing and multi-octave range. In 2005, Graham launched her solo career with her critically lauded debut CD, What Love Is, which was later chosen by All About Jazz as one of the best new recordings of 2005. Three years later, her forward progress was further enabled by the release of Echo, produced and co-written by Jon Cowherd. On Echo, Graham covered songs by Paul Simon and Sting, performed four originals inspired by the love of her life (Douglas Graham), and made musical history as the first singer to record the long-lost gem "Involved Again," which was originally written for Billie Holiday in the '50s by songwriter Jack Reardon. The disc garnered a wide range of praise from The New York Times to Elle Magazine as well as digital vendors. In 2011, Graham resurfaced with a new EP on the Sunnyside label. Lock, Stock & Soul found the singer leaning even more toward pop and featured performances by Me'Shell Ndegéocello, David Garza, and Jesse Harris. ~ Paula Edelstein