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If jazz is about emotions, Mitzi Zilka has found a way to pack a wallop by combining her talents as both a singer and a lyricist. The words she has penned to a variety of jazz instrumental classics including Monk’s Mood, Blue Bossa, Lament, Pent up House, Look to the Sky and Lady Bird, add a fresh dimension to the jazz tradition, says two-time Grammy winner, Peter Boe. “She not only has a great jazz voice, but also, the words she writes to original instrumental music and existing standards are among the best I’ve seen.”
A Portland native, Mitzi moved to L.A. with her family when she was 11 where she began her classical training as a singer. But says she fell in love with jazz the moment she heard Billie Holiday sing. “What got me about Billie Holiday is that you heard real stories about pain and love and I believed every word she sang.”
With her three octave-range and rich alto voice, Mitzi appeared in musical productions throughout her teen years – and even did studio back-up vocals for Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys – before college and a young family of her own interrupted her singing career. A lot of living since then has brought her back to jazz, her first love. “People say you can’t sing jazz until after age 30, maybe because it’s so much about the human condition. My goal is to reach the audience and give them an unforgettable musical experience.”