Critically acclaimed jazz and blues singer/composer Eileen Howard
has relocated to Atlanta and says she already loves it. She moved from the Upper West Side of Manhattan just a month ago and can be heard around town singing at jazz and blues jams. Howard is looking forward to getting more involved in the local Atlanta music scene, but she especially hopes for opportunities to do what she loves best: sing for homeless people.
“I have been singing at food pantries and soup kitchens and doing community music programs for the past 15 years. I have the biggest following of homeless and destitute in the country!”, she jokes. “But, seriously, providing music for these types of events turns it from a charity into community. It provides an uplifting atmosphere and helps everyone get along. It is incredibly meaningful for me and I get a ton of positive feedback from the clients.”
For the past four years, Howard sang and provided deejay music services at the Hope for Our Neighbors in Need program at the United Methodist Church of the Village in Greenwich Village, which serves over 500 clients a week at a food pantry and community meal. In addition to singing, she spun tunes on Tuesdays while folks waited for their number to be called to shop in the pantry. Her band performed during the Saturday community meal, providing a “club ambiance” as people enjoyed their lunch.
“The pantry coordinator and I would dance down the aisles and crack people up. It really broke the tension and made people laugh. Before we started doing this, there was always at least one altercation. Afterwards, I can only recall one. And during the community meal, the music was transformative. We received so much gratitude, it made me feel like they were doing ME a favor by letting me perform!”
Prior to working in New York, Howard performed throughout the Columbus
Ohio region. In Columbus she started and led a community arts access program called Harmony on the Southside, which provided concerts and opportunities to learn and make music and art throughout the community, particularly for marginalized people and people in poverty.
In addition to these activities, Eileen performs professionally as a singer and actor wherever she has been planted. In New York she sang at Birdland, The Iridium, Smalls, Tomi Jazz, Something Jazz, The West End Lounge and many more venues. As an actress, she appeared at the Broadway Comedy Club, Hudson Guild, Manhattan Rep and the New York International Fringe Festival. She has performed in many national festivals, concert series and clubs.
Earlier this year, Howard released her fifth CD, Big City Love
, an eclectic musical tribute to love in, and for, the city, to critical acclaim. Her previous album, ,em>Blues in the Green Room is a live recording of her sold out Blues Cabaret programs and garnered dozens of positive reviews. She has composed many tunes for several albums, including MakeOver
which is a personal spiritual album of her original compositions, many of which were written as part of her journey of serving and singing for marginalized people. Two jazz albums, Street of Dreams
and All Kinds of Weather
have also received critical acclaim. She can be heard on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, Rhapsody, Pandora, and all major download and streaming sites.
Scott Yanow, L.A. Jazz Scene, called Howard a “very appealing singer with a powerful voice and a joyful personality” and “a singer well worth discovering.” Edward Blanco
said, “This lady can definitely sing up a storm with a voice that allows her to reach and hit the high notes with effortless ease...lush velvet voice.” Blues Music said: “She harnesses the genre as one of those rare entertainers with the sensitivity and witty flair to deeply evoke the human sensibility.” Deejay Fritz “The Night Owl” called her “One of the most creative and swingin’ singers ever to vocalize on the local jazz scene.” And music review blog, “Wildys World” said, “Eileen Howard sings like a Diva, vamps like a Rat-Pack veteran and generally entertains like few others can.”