On October 21, 2012 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, NJ as part of the inaugural James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival, NJPAC, JAZZ ROOTS and WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM held the first Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, a search for the world’s next great female jazz vocalists. Among those receiving honors were Jazzmeia Horn, recipient of the inaugural Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition “Rising Star” award.
From over (800) contestants, over (15) semi-finalists, and (5) finalist Ms. Jazzmeia Horn was selected as a “stand out” vocalist in the field of contestants. “It was right at the beginning of this, when we were creating this whole idea of this Sarah Vaughan competition, to have a rising star award every year that we could pick out a young artist that we want to help mentor and bring forward under this banner ‘Rising Star’ award, and this year we found this wonderful lady.”, said festival producer Larry Rosen.
Hailing from Dallas, Texas, and currently enrolled in the New School Jazz program, led by Martin Mueller, Ms. Horn's ability to turn a musical phrase from words to feeling is reminiscent of the late, and undeniably great Sarah Vaughan
, while owning a voice that is truly her own. Where most vocalist copy and mimic, Jazzmeia Horn pays tribute, not only in quality of sound, but through that own originally unique force that makes the greatest singers beacons of light in a drab world of dull vocalist. I've always wanted to sing", says Ms. Horn. Since I was young, I wanted to learn every song, remember every line, and then find a way to craft them into my statements, to find a way to make them me."
As part of the almost (3) hour competition Ms. Horn performed her rendition of the jazz classic “Sweet Georgia Brown”, to wild applause. At the tender age of 21, Jazzmeia Horn seems well on her way to stardom. Ms. Horn has already racked up an impressive list of credentials having played and performed with such jazz heavy hitters as Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
Alumni Ali Jackson
and Vincent Gardner
, and NEA Jazz Masters Ellis Marsalis
and Jason Marsalis
. Ms. Horn has taken learning and exploring the musical form of jazz as serious as can be. While managing a full course load at the New School, Jazzmeia Horn, manages to study, practice and perfect her musical skills all while living the jazz musicians dream - that of being a working jazz musician in New York.