Saturday, February 10, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Alicia Olatuja

Today, let's check out some videos featuring singer and St. Louis native Alicia Olatuja, who will be coming back home to perform starting next Wednesday, February 14 through Saturday, February 17 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Olatuja was known by her maiden name Alicia Miles while growing up here and then while attending the University of Missouri. After graduating from Mizzou's School of Music in 2005, she moved to New York City to earn her master's degree at the Manhattan School of Music, eventually meeting and marrying British/Nigerian bassist Michael Olatuja.

The two began working together as The Olatuja Project, releasing an album in 2011. Two years later, Alicia gained international attention for her performance as the featured soloist with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at President Barack Obama's second inauguration.

That led to interest in her as a solo artist, and in 2014 she released her first album, Timeless. Olatuja gained additional exposure that year on tour with pianist Billy Childs as part of his show “Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro,” and subsequently has performed with other well-known musicians including organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, bassist Christian McBride, and harmonica player Gregoire Maret, with whom she made her Bistro debut last year as a guest vocalist.

Now touring as a headliner with her own band, anchored by her husband as bassist and musical director, and having recently completed a Kickstarter campaign to fund a second album, Intuition-Songs from the Minds of Women, which is expected to be released in June, Olatuja seems well-positioned for even bigger things soon.

You can see her perform a full set of music in the first video up above, which was recorded in October 2014 in NYC, shortly after the release of Timeless.

After the jump, you can see three performances recorded in August 2015 at Dizzy's Club at Lincoln Center in NYC, starting with a cover of "Love Me Still," originally made famous by Chaka Khan, followed by two of Olatuja's own songs, "In The Dark" and "Truth In Blue."

Next up is a performance of "Serrado," written by the Brazilian singer/songwriter Djavan and recorded in 2014 as a duet with guitarist David Rosenthal.

The final video is an extended interview with Olatuja, just recorded on February 1 of this year before her performance for the Modlin Arts series in Richmond, VA.

For more about Alicia Olatuja, read the profile of her in last month's issue of Jazz Times, and this Q&A, also published in January.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

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