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An American singer, Stacey Kent is mostly associated with her ability to vocalise jazz music. Born in 1965 in New Jersey, Kent is a platinum-selling performer who has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the past. The singer was named as the Best Vocalist at the BBC Jazz Awards of 2002. The same organisation gave her the Album of the Year prize in 2006 for her LP The Lyric. In 2009, she became a member of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France.
Stacey Kent's career in jazz
Educated at Newark Academy in New Jersey, Kent went on to graduate from Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers. Thereafter, the burgeoning musician relocated to the UK in order to study music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Now based in London, she began to perform on a semi-professional basis. She also met the saxophonist, Jim Tomlinson, and the pair married in August of 1991.
Around this time, Kent began performing on a more professional basis. She would sing frequently at Café Boheme in Soho. After a few years, the performer began opening shows for higher profile acts who were booked to play at Ronnie Scott's famous Jazz Club in London. This brought her to the attention of many jazz fans for the first time, and calls for a serious recording of her work gained momentum. Kent's debut album showcased her vocal abilities and approach to jazz. Close Your Eyes was released in 1997, becoming the best-selling British jazz album of that year. It included standards as well as lesser-known tracks, and the liner notes for the work were provided by the legendary jazz trumpet player, Humphrey Lyttleton.
Love Is...The Tender Trap came out in 1999. Her second album featured the sax work of her husband and songs by the likes of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington and George Gershwin. In 2003, the world-famous novelist Kazuo Ishiguro wrote the liner notes for her well-received album, In Love Again: the Music of Richard Rogers. The two would go on to write together for a number of tracks on Breakfast on the Morning Tram, Kent's 2007 release for the Blue Note label. Before then, her album The Boy Next Door had been a huge hit in France, where it was certified as a gold-selling LP.
More recently, Kent has produced The Changing Lights, an album that featured John Parricelli on guitar. After this came out, the singer signed a deal with Sony for future releases. Kent once appeared in a British-made movie, playing the part of a jazz singer in a production of Shakespeare's Richard III.
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