Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $27 (available from the NAC box office with no fee, or online via Ticketmaster)
Part of the NAC Presents series.
- Kellylee Evans - vocals
Kellylee Evans knows how to dazzle.
That the Toronto-born, Ottawa-based JUNO Award winner can dazzle you in so many ways speaks to the considerable depth of her multifaceted talents. Specializing in – though not limited to – jazz, an idiom that prides itself on personal interpretation, improvisation and fine degrees of nuance – Evans is gifted with what JazzTimes calls “a ‘stunning’ crystalline voice” both powerful and emotive, a quality that is magnified and multiplied exponentially when you see and hear the magic of her performance. The creator of three unforgettable and critically acclaimed albums --2007’s fight or flight?; 2010’s The Good Girl and Nina, recently awarded Canada’s highest honour – a JUNO Award, the nation’s equivalent to the Grammy – for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year in 2011.
Evans’ intoxicating and invigorating exploration of her muse has led her down a number of paths, but those who have been fortunate enough to experience any segment of her career may be surprised to learn how organic the journey has actually been. Although Evans started singing as a member of the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir, her initial career aspirations excluded anything musical. She obtained degrees at Carleton University for legal studies and English literature, (“I had parents that worried,” she confesses), but ultimately decided her happy destiny with other alternatives. Evans initially courted tennis, but a debilitating ankle injury cut short that career dream. Ironically, it was while recuperating from that injury that the singer wrote the first songs that would eventually comprise her debut – and JUNO-nominated – album, fight or flight? Whether it’s thrilling audiences in France, England, Athens and North America or warming them up for the likes of Tony Bennett, George Benson and Dianne Reeves, Evans takes an organic approach to performance: Every second is spent immersed in the moment, music coursing through her veins, as she reacts to every note, beat and tempo with fluid gyrations.
At once both charismatic and sensual, Evans opens her pores to the action around her, constantly swaying and dancing, punching the air to match the downbeat of the drumsticks; strumming an imaginary guitar, losing herself in the melody and the movement while drawing you in while weaving her hypnotic spell. It’s an insidious flair, this ability to entrance her public so convincingly, but Evans says she feels most at home on stage, performing in her bare feet. “The stage is my most favourite place to be, and performing without shoes is more comfortable."
“For me, everything in life is about comfort. When my feet are bare, everything feels right. My instrument is my whole body. It’s not just my voice.”
Indeed, it’s not just her voice: the Kellylee Evans experience can simply be defined by one word -- bliss – and an unyielding supply from a woman who hasn’t yet finished grabbing the world’s attention.
National Arts Centre, Fourth Stage
53 Elgin Street