Nikki Yanofsky has been a jazz prodigy for much of her life. But despite her past successes, concert reviewer Gilles LeBlanc wrote after seeing her January 24 show at Massey Hall in Toronto, “[Yanofsky] has come a long way since 2010.”
In 2010, Yanofsky performed at the Vancouver Olympics, introducing herself to a range of new fans who until that point were unaware of the woman who’d been singing jazz standards since she was a toddler.
LeBlanc, in a play on Yanofsky’s Olympic song, “I Believe,” wrote, “You could even say she made a believer out of this self-proclaimed rock music enthusiast.”
Yanofsky’s Canadian tour is to promote her new album Little Secret, the Quincy Jones-produced disc that is her first release since Nikki in 2010. Back in May of 2014, Yanofsky told the Toronto Star how the sound of the new album reflects her musical evolution and maturation as a songwriter.
“I would describe it as accessible jazz. Jazz-hop is what I’ve been calling it, but it’s rooted in jazz and for me, there are a lot of pop elements, but I feel there are more jazz elements than pop… The original songs were kind of all over the map on the last one. I was super young — I was 15 when I was writing those songs, so I’ve definitely grown a lot as a singer, artist and a writer.”
Jones was effusive in his praise for Yanofsky, whom he also co-manages.
“Nikki is the bomb. All I can say is that she is frightening. Don’t fail to listen to her, because this lady is just starting.”
Her admiration for Jones is equally strong. Yanofsky told Hello magazine earlier this month that Quincy is one of her five greatest musical influences, along with Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, and Rod Temperton. As she told Hello, she admires Jones both professionally and personally.
“Quincy Jones has worked on everything from jazz and big band to songs by the King of Pop [Michael Jackson]! Quincy is all about de-categorizing music. I am so lucky to have been able to work with him and learn from him. Before I even met Quincy, he was one of my biggest influences. His musical arrangements are incredible and incomprehensible. He is the sweetest man, he’s achieved so much in his career, and he never stops!”
LeBlanc reported that the audience at Massey Hall this weekend featured older fans, many of whom had their children with them. Despite the conservative crowd, she brought them to their feet near the end, in a way that “put Bruno Mars to shame, too.” She invited fans to an impromptu meet-and-greet and expressed how much she’d enjoyed the show.
Yanofsky’s upcoming tour dates are available on her official website.
[Nikki Yanofsky image: David Kirouac via Huffington Post]