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|Born||March 27, 1965|
South Orange, New Jersey, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz, vocal jazz|
|Labels||Candid Records, Blue Note, Sony|
|Associated acts||Jim Tomlinson|
Stacey Kent (born March 27, 1965) is an American jazz singer. Kent often sings in French and was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) by the French Minister of Culture in 2009. She is married to saxophonist Jim Tomlinson.
Early life and education
Stacey Kent was born in South Orange, New Jersey and attended Newark Academy in Livingston, New Jersey. Her paternal grandfather was Russian and grew up in France. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College, she traveled to England to study music at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where she met saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, whom she married on August 9, 1991.
In the 1990s, she began her professional career singing at Café Bohème in London's Soho. After two or three years, she began opening for established acts at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London. Her first album, Close Your Eyes, was released in 1997.
Novelist Kazuo Ishiguro wrote the liner notes to Kent's 2003 album, In Love Again. Ishiguro met Kent after he chose her recording of "They Can't Take That Away from Me" as one of his Desert Island Discs in 2002, and Kent asked Tomlinson and Ishiguro to write for her. Ishiguro has said of his lyric writing that "with an intimate, confiding, first-person song, the meaning must not be self-sufficient on the page. It has to be oblique, sometimes you have to read between the lines" and that this realization has had an "enormous influence" on his fiction writing.
Tomlinson and Ishiguro co-wrote four songs on the album Breakfast on the Morning Tram. The first of their songs, "The Ice Hotel", won first prize in the International Songwriting Competition in April 2008. She recorded several more Tomlinson/Ishiguro songs on Dreamer In Concert, The Changing Lights, and I Know I Dream: The Orchestral Sessions.
Kent's album The Boy Next Door achieved Gold album status in France in September 2006. Breakfast on the Morning Tram (2007) achieved Platinum album status in France in November 2007 and Double Gold status in Germany in February 2008. Raconte-moi... was recorded in French and achieved Gold status in both France and Germany and became the second best selling French language album worldwide in 2010.
Dreamer In Concert (2011) was recorded in May, 2011, at La Cigale in Paris. The album includes three songs previously unrecorded by Kent: "Waters of March" by Antonio Carlos Jobim, "Postcard Lovers" by Jim Tomlinson with lyrics by Kazuo Ishiguro, and "O Comboio" by Portuguese poet António Ladeira.
In 2013, Kent released The Changing Lights, a Brazilian-tinged album, covering bossa nova classics such as Jobim's "How Insensitive" and again collaborating with Tomlinson and Ishiguro. In 2014, she left Warner Bros. and signed with Sony. Sony released Tenderly, an album of standards with Roberto Menescal, one of the founders of bossa nova. She met Menescal in Brazil in 2011 at the 80th birthday celebration of the Christ the Redeemer statue. They discovered they were fans of each others' work and collaborated on an album of standards inspired by Menescal's admiration for the duo of Julie London and Barney Kessel.
In 2014, Marcos Valle invited her to tour in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of his career. They recorded the album Ao Vivo and a DVD that was recorded live at the Birdland club in New York City and the Blue Note in Tokyo.
In 2017, Kent recorded her next album for Sony, I Know I Dream: The Orchestral Sessions, her first album with an orchestra, comprising 58 musicians with arrangements by Tommy Laurence, with music from the Great American Songbook, French chansons, songs by Edu Lobo, Jobim, Tomlinson, Ishiguro, Ladeira and his songwriting partner Cliff Goldmacher from Nashville. Tomlinson and Goldmacher wrote the title song.
Awards and honors
- British Jazz Award, 2001
- BBC Jazz Award, Best Vocalist, 2002
- BBC Jazz Award, Album of the Year, The Lyric, 2006
- Grammy Award nomination, Best Vocal Jazz Album, Breakfast on the Morning Tram, 2009
- Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 2009
- Love Is...The Tender Trap (Candid, 1998)
- Let Yourself Go: Celebrating Fred Astaire (Candid, 1999)
- Close Your Eyes (Candid, 1999)
- Dreamsville (Candid, 2000)
- In Love Again: The Music of Richard Rodgers (Candid, 2002)
- The Boy Next Door (Candid, 2003)
- Breakfast on the Morning Tram (Blue Note, 2007)
- Raconte-moi... (Blue Note, 2010)
- A Fine Romance with Jim Tomlinson (Candid, 2010)
- Dreamer in Concert (Blue Note, 2011)
- Ao Vivo with Marcos Valle (Sony, 2013)
- The Changing Lights (Warner Bros., 2013)
- Brazil with Quatuor Ébène, Bernard Lavilliers (Erato/Warner, 2014)
- Tenderly (Okeh/Sony, 2015)
- I Know I Dream: The Orchestral Sessions (Okeh, 2017)
- Collar, Matt. "Stacey Kent". AllMusic. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
- Kaiser, Robert G. "Stacey Kent: A Name, And a Voice, That Lingers", The Washington Post, April 18, 2004.
- koda Jazz Festival 2010: A sweet finale with Stacey Kent...
- Kellaway, Kate (March 15, 2015). "Kazuo Ishiguro: I used to see myself as a musician. But really, I'm one of those people with corduroy jackets and elbow patches". The Guardian. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
- "How we met: Stacey Kent & Kazuo Ishiguro". The Independent. September 22, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
- "Grammy Nominated Stacey Kent to Release the Changing Lights, September 17, 2013". Warner Music Canada. Archived from the original on August 7, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
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