ChamberSoul: Cello & Songs
From the singularly distinctive Spivey Hall to the Smith Center’s Jazz Cabaret, or to the center of a groove at Cliff Bell’s in Detroit or the Velvet Note in Atlanta, cellist/singer-songwriter Shana Tucker delivers a unique voice through her self-described genre of ChamberSoul™.
With a deep respect for lyrical storytelling, Shana's melodies weave strong hints of jazz, classical, soulful folk, acoustic pop and a touch of sassy R&B into a distinctive rhythmic tapestry. After having balanced performances in theatres, clubs and festivals with her role as featured cellist and mezzo-soprano in Cirque du Soleil’s KÀ in Las Vegas for the past five years, Shana returns to fulltime touring in 2017, with new projects in the offing and a new recording project Play•List set for release before the end of the coming year.
Tucker is a product of public school music programs – grabbing a violin as a child in the orchestra room after someone in front of her had taken the last remaining flute… By junior high, she had traded piano and violin for cello, and seeds quickly began to take hold in fertile soil. Before finishing high school, she was composing, singing, performing at every chance in any genre and configuration available – and getting noticed for all of it. With subsequent musical studies at Howard University and CUNY-Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, her work as an arranger/songwriter/composer and vocalist continued to bloom.
Her debut solo recording in 2011 and a resulting interview on public radio grabbed the ear of Cirque du Soleil’s découvreur de talent who called her in North Carolina and invited her to audition. (Luckily for us, when her voicemail transcribed the original message from Cirque du Soleil as coming from “Circuit City,” Shana had the good judgment to dig just a little deeper…) She resided fulltime in Las Vegas as a member of the world-class musical ensemble for KÀ, Cirque’s unprecedented, gravity-defying production at the MGM Grand, while weaving cross-country touring with her own band into her fulltime role with Cirque. Shana Tucker’s musical life has always inhaled deeply with every turn.
International airplay of her recording SHINE continues to win fans and recognition from around the globe. ChamberSoul™ aptly describes what the listener should expect when experiencing Shana's music. "I’m intrinsically drawn to ‘real’ instruments, with resonance, tone and depth that can sound without amplification. Whenever and however possible, I always try to set a tone of acoustic intimacy with my colleagues on stage and with the audience, so that the music, performers and audience feel close and tangible, no matter the size the venue."
She is devoted to arts education for young students and works to incorporate inspiring outreach opportunities with workshops and classes wherever she appears. Shana is a Wolftrap-certified Teaching Artist.
Be it classroom, club, listening room, festival shed or proscenium stage, ask anyone who’s been in an audience and they’ll likely agree that ChamberSoul gets pretty ChamberMesmerizing very quickly. Shana is available in a variety of configurations including duo, trio & quartet. Holiday-themed performances are also offered.
In a Word…
"She covers much of the same ground from behind the cello that Esperanza Spalding does from behind the bass. Tucker distinguishes herself with calmly resolute, eclectic vocals and similarly eclectic songwriting that span the worlds of jazz, soul and pensively lyrical chamber pop." New York Music Daily
“You rarely see Joni Mitchell invoked as a reference point...because her music is so uniquely individual that few can follow her. But in Shana Tucker, we have a worthy successor.” David Menconi, News and Observer
“Most importantly, the songs tell a story; that’s what a work of art should do...making the audience realize that life is universal... Compelling, distinctive, a sure sign of greater things to come.” Larry Reni Thomas, JAZZTIMES
“Her voice alone would support a career. What makes Tucker special is her adherence to the cello, boldly taking the instrument into new territory. Much like vocalist Esperanza Spalding with her double bass, Tucker and her cello blur the lines in our heads that divide classical, jazz, folk, R&B and soul... The only emotion not catalogued is fear. Tucker’s debut is a gold piece of vulnerability, meticulously executed and gorgeously produced. Transcending obstacles, SHINE is acoustic music for inner rooms, with the human soul as resonating chamber. She burned down the house.” Sylvia Pfeiffenberger, IndyWeek.com
“An absolute stunner... Her original gumbo of jazz, folk and R&B evokes the spirit of Bill Withers and Esperanza Spalding.” Cliff Bellamy, Herald Sun
A Presenter's Point of View
"Last night's concert was certainly the highlight of our Performance Series at WCU. Shana Tucker’s vibrant and soulful presence on stage truly grounded our audience in the moment. The music and the stories she shared certainly reached me at my core and I know touched the hearts of every audience member. Her on and off stage engagement without audience made for such a memorable and meaningful experience for our community. Shana’s personal touch in making time for our students, even meeting for an interview with a reporter from the student newspaper before the performance, was incredibly special. After the performance several of her fans who were debating who traveled the furthest to see her on stage again and line of folks wanting hugs and autographs from her is the longest I've seen during my time at WCU!"
Denise Drury Homewood, Executive Director, John W. Bardo Fine & Performing Arts Center, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC
"It was so wonderful for an artist to be as concerned about the patrons' experience as we were. The after-glow continues. Shana is one of those artists you never want to see leave your venue. She is also the first musician who agreed to do a pre-performance discussion with our audience to talk about her work. The concert was amazing – the pacing, the banter with the audience, the musicianship. At intermission, the lobby was buzzing, and praise to us for having her on the season was already flowing. Following the encore and two standing ovations – the lobby was still buzzing and the audience didn’t want to leave."
John Elllis, Diana Wortham Theatre, Asheville, NC
Shana’s star is rising so quickly. She is an incredibly talented musician who completely engages an audience with her music and her charm. From the stage, she invites you into her world and shares her stories through her songs. When you leave one of Shana Tucker’s performances, you feel as though you have left behind a long-time friend. Her music is personal, relevant and beautiful. She is a dedicated and passionate educator and an inspired collaborator. Audiences of all ages are captivated by her performances. Last year, she performed 20 minutes for 150 NC State University students as part of a required class, and they responded with such enthusiasm I thought they were going to storm the stage. You can’t ask for a more compassionate partner in engaging your audiences, your school -- any of your stakeholders in your program. We love her at Center Stage and can’t wait to have her back.
Sharon H. Moore, Director, NCSU Center Stage & Arts Outreach, Raleigh, NC
Live Performance Preview