A B O U T
SHANA TUCKER is a singer-songwriter and cellist who credits her genre-bending ChamberSoul™ journey to her jazz and classical roots, interwoven with 80's & 90's pop music influences, 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. Her self-defined genre of “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 possible, I always try to set a tone of acoustic intimacy with my colleagues on stage -- and also with the audience -- so that sounds and souls feel close and tangible, no matter the size the venue."
Growing up on Long Island in Amityville, NY, Shana began taking piano lessons with her great-grandmother at home while discovering violin in fourth grade and 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. She relocated to New York City to complete her cello studies with internationally-recognized cellist and educator, Marion Feldman, at CUNY-Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music before moving to North Carolina, where she stepped away from music for a number of years to focus exclusively on raising 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 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.
Of SHiNE, 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...”.
An NPR interview about Shana's SHiNE and her ChamberSoul style prompted an invitation from the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil to join the company as cellist/vocalist for their show, KÀ in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand. Shana performed with Cirque for 5 years before resuming her full-time touring, recording and touring indie artist schedule.
With collaborations as the cornerstone of her artistry, Shana is currently a featured artist with jazz legend, saxophonist/composer Bennie Maupin's ensemble; Grammy-nominated soul collective, The Foreign Exchange; jazz drummer/composer Shirazette Tinnin's group, Sonic WallPaper; Paperhand Puppet Intervention, a North Carolina-based, socially conscious theatrical organization; and her newest project, Women's Work, a female-led creative collective of musicians and composers representing both east and west coasts.
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.
Shana is a recipient of two Nevada Arts Council grants, including the prestigious Artist Fellowship for her exemplary work as a Performing Artist. She serves 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).
Shana is a board member for Carolina Wren Press, a North Carolina-based small-press organization that publishes diverse minority writers of quality fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and children's literature. She also serves on the advisory board for the Washington Women in Jazz Festival, an annual event in Washington, DC that celebrates and promotes women jazz artists through concerts, jam sessions, lectures, panel discussions, masterclasses and a young artist competition.
A front-line advocate for arts education, Shana is a teaching artist whose present and past affiliations include The Smith Center for Performing Arts, Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, Mallarme Chamber Players, Playmakers and Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. She 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, incorporating artist residencies, workshops and community outreach opportunities 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