Alicia Olatuja is among the standout “Rising Stars” that will be showcased in JazzFest White Plains, a four-day virtual celebration of jazz that will take place on September 8-11. In fact, Olatuja has been astounding audiences with her exquisite vocals, artistic versatility and captivating demeanor since she first came into the national spotlight in 2013, when she was the featured soloist with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration.
Olatuja, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, grew up immersed in a wide range of musical styles, including gospel, soul, jazz and classical – all styles that have informed her artistic journey. Now performing regularly in gospel and jazz concerts, her resume includes performances with esteemed artists like Chaka Khan, BeBe Winans and Christian McBride.
As an artist, Olatuja devotes her energy to celebrating feminine creative power. Her 2019 album, Intuition: From the Minds of Women features the songs of women composers not often performed by jazz singers, including icons and rebels like Joni Mitchell, Imogen Heap, Tracy Chapman, Kate Bush, and many others. Yet, she still offers a unique musical perspective that is her own. Her band, steadily and increasingly in demand, has performed at numerous festivals, including the Newport Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Jazz Standard.
The September 11 “Jazz’s Raising Stars” program will also include Connie Han, Matthew Whitaker and Veronica Swift – all of whom are making waves in the genre. The program will take place on Zoom and Facebook Live. Read more about JazzFest, including the “Rising Stars” program, on the following pages.
A version of this article first appeared in the July issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNewsis distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.
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For more than 50 years, ArtsWestchester has been the community’s connection to the arts. Founded in 1965, it is the largest, private, not-for-profit arts council in New York State. Its mission is to provide leadership, vision, and support, to ensure the availability, accessibility, and diversity of the arts. ArtsWestchester provides programs and services that enrich the lives of everyone in Westchester County. ArtsWestchester helps fund concerts, exhibitions and plays through grants; brings artists into schools and community centers; advocates for the arts; and builds audiences through diverse marketing initiatives. In 1998, ArtsWestchester purchased the nine-story neo-classical bank building at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue which has since been transformed into a multi-use resource for artists, cultural organizations, and the community. A two-story gallery is located on the first floor of ArtsWestchester’s historic building on Mamaroneck Avenue.