Nancy FalkowView in iTunes
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Well known in the Philadelphia area since the late '90s, Nancy Falkow is an expressive singer/songwriter whose pop/rock and pop-folk often recalls Carole King's '70s recordings. The honey-voiced Falkow, who has also been compared to Natalie Merchant and Lucinda Williams in the Philadelphia media, favors a vocal style that is sweet but not cutesy or precious -- and her singing isn't without grit. Born in Atlantic City, NJ, on April 22, 1970, Falkow grew up in southern New Jersey and moved to Philly in 1988 to attend Temple University (where she obtained a B.A. in education). Falkow, who went on to earn a master's in education from Beaver College, started pursuing Philly-area gigs around 1995, and after a few years, she had become one of the best-known artists on the city's singer/songwriter circuit. It was in 1998 that she won a local talent search for Sarah McLachlan's Lilith Fair festival, defeating about 19 other female contestants. The prize was an opportunity to perform at 1998's Lilith Fair when it came to Camden, NJ's E-Center just outside of Philly; on the main stage, Falkow joined the Indigo Girls for their well-known "Closer to Fine" and McLachlan herself for a performance of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." Although Falkow is essentially a pop/rock/pop-folk artist, she isn't without R&B influences, which is why it isn't surprising that she was employed as a background vocalist when Patti LaBelle and gospel great Shirley Ceasar recorded some duets for Myrrh in 2001. Falkow, who has also provided background vocals for G. Love & Special Sauce and Brazilian great Astrud Gilberto, recorded her first EP (a self-titled release) in 1999. That EP was followed by 2001's Shane McMartin-produced Smitten, which was Falkow's first full-length album. ~ Alex Henderson