A B O U T
SHANA TUCKER is a singer-songwriter and cellist who credits her genre-bending ChamberSoul™ journey to the influences of her jazz and classical roots interwoven with 80's & 90's pop music, movie soundtracks, and world music.
Touted by JazzTimes Magazine as “a jazz talent...whose imprint and vitality has already been quite visible in North Carolina,” Shana’s style and sound as been described as a mash-up of Dianne Reeves, Joni Mitchell, and Tracy Chapman, with an efficient complexity that is reminiscent of Bill Withers. ChamberSoul™ best 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 also with the audience, so that the music, performers and audience feel close and tangible, no matter the size the venue."
Growing up on Long Island, NY, Shana began taking piano lessons with her great-grandmother at home while discovering violin in fourth grade, later switching to cello in junior high school.
A beneficiary of public school arts education, Shana's cello talents awarded her a scholarship to Howard University in Washington, DC, where she was first introduced to jazz and a wealth of essential musical resources in faculty, peers, visiting artists and the community at-large. While at Howard, Shana initiated her improvisation chops and honed her songwriting skills as a member of HUE, a singing piano trio that received critical acclaim within the DC music scene in the mid-1990's, and later on, in New York City, where she completed her cello studies at CUNY-Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music before moving to North Carolina to raise her son.
Deciding that 2009 was the year to return to her music, Shana set to work establishing a network of musicians and a name for herself in the Triangle area (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) of North Carolina. With the help of her dedicated fan base, Shana successfully launched a crowd-funded campaign to finance the independent recording and release of her debut CD, SHiNE in 2011. Due to its broad appeal and genre-defying nature, SHiNE was picked up in 2015 by Boston-based jazz label and distribution team, The Jazz Urbane Recordings / SUGO Music Group to be remastered and reissued as one of their premiere projects.
INDYWEEK.COM writes, "Indeed, crossovers and connections are a central theme of Tucker's career, from the cello's liminal range to her interests in various genres. Her debut album SHiNE corrodes the music industry boundaries between classical, jazz, folk, R&B and soul." Triangle Arts & Entertainment notes Shana as “a complex musician who offers not only a world-class voice that rivals that of Cleo Laine or Diana Krall, but also is an accomplished cellist…able to compete with musicians who make their living simply by playing one instrument...she carves out a space that is intrinsically hers...”.
Shana's debut solo recording, SHiNE and a subsequent interview on NPR grabbed the ear of Cirque de Soleil’s talent recruiter, who invited her to Las Vegas to join the world-class theatrical production company as cellist and mezzo-soprano for KÀ, their unprecedented, gravity-defying production at the MGM Grand Hotel. After having balanced performances in theatres, clubs and festivals with her role as featured cellist/vocalist in Cirque du Soleil’s KÀ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the past 5 years, Shana returns to her full-time touring and recording schedule in 2017, with new collaborations in the offing, and the completion of her sophomore recording project, set for release before the end of the year.
Having opened for internationally-acclaimed artists including Norah Jones, Lisa Fischer, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Javon Jackson, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and Indigo Girls, Shana's vocals and cello are featured on several studio and live recording projects by both independent and signed label artists and producers. She also devotes a considerable amount of her time to working with students in schools/universities, community centers and summer camps throughout the year as part of her mission to promote arts education programming for students of all ages.
Shana is a recipient of two Nevada Arts Council grants, including the prestigious Artist Fellowship grant in 2014 and a Professional Development grant in 2016 for her exemplary work as a Performing Artist. She has served on review panels and advisory committees for arts organizations across the country, including United Arts (Raleigh, NC), South Arts (Atlanta, GA), and Nevada Arts Council (Carson City, NV). She is also a board member for Carolina Wren Press, a Durham, NC-based small-press organization that publishes diverse minority writers of quality fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and children's literature.
A front-line advocate for arts education, Shana has been a teaching artist with The Smith Center for Performing Arts and Southern Nevada Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts for the past three years. She incorporates artist-in-residence, workshops and community outreach opportunities whenever possible, wherever in the world her performances take her.
"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."
— JAZZTIMES MAGAZINE
"An absolute stunner... Her original gumbo of jazz, folk and R&B evokes the spirit of Bill Withers and Esperanza Spalding. "
— DURHAM HERALD-SUN
"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. The Durham singer/cellist calls what she does "ChamberSoul," and her debut album "SHiNE" is a delectable combination of folksy acoustic pop and in-the-pocket jazz, topped off with her easy croon. It's an impressive record..."
— THE NEWS & OBSERVER
"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."
...beautiful intensity exudes from the "chambersoul" of Shana Tucker, a singer-songwriter whose main instrument is the cello. Her original gumbo of jazz, folk and R&B evokes the spirit of Bill Withers and Esperanza Spalding." — INDYWEEK.COM