Born: 1985 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Aubrey Johnson is a Boston-based singer/composer/arranger whose music combines her many stylistic influences which range from jazz, pop, and folk, to opera, Brazilian, and Turkish music, creating her unique brand of improvisation-rooted composition, with and without lyrics. Born to a musical family in Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1985, Aubrey fell in love with music at a very young age and soon after began singing in church and taking piano lessons. Studying classical piano and teaching herself to sing all kinds of pop, rock, and Broadway repertoire throughout middle and high school made for a very fertile period of growth for the young musician, who began performing professionally at the age of 16. Also during this time, Aubrey began studying jazz piano and voice with Lawrence University professor, Christine Salerno. Her studies with Salerno and new-found love for improvised music led her to pursue a degree in Vocal Jazz Performance at Western Michigan University. At WMU, Aubrey was selected to be a member of Gold Company, the university's world-renowned vocal jazz ensemble. With the ensemble, directed by Dr. Steve Zegree, she performed at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall, Miller Auditorium, the 2006 IAJE conference and with Bobby McFerrin, Janis Siegel, Darmon Meader, Roger Treece, and Fred Hersch. In 2005 and again in 2006, Aubrey recorded and performed the original compositions of pianist Ron DiSalvio, featuring drummer Jimmy Cobb. Her work with Cobb/DiSalvio can be heard on their recent Origin Records release Essence of Green. In March of 2007, she performed with Fred Hersch at the Annual Fred Hersch Honors Duo Concert at Western Michigan University. It was also in that year that Aubrey won her first of two DownBeat Collegiate Student Music Awards, for Jazz Vocalist Outstanding Performance. Aubrey's talents also have been recognized by composer/singer/arranger Roger Treece, who in 2008 called upon her clear, soprano voice to be a part of a vocal ensemble on Bobby McFerrin's choral album, which is nearly complete. During the same year, Aubrey was awarded her second DownBeat Award for Best Jazz Vocalist. Upon completion of her degree at Western Michigan, Aubrey yearned for further study and time to nurture her passion for instrumental music as well as modern improvisational and composition techniques. At the suggestion of Fred Hersch, she moved to Boston to pursue her Masters Degree at the New England Conservatory, on scholarship. Here she studied with some of the world's top jazz performers, including Danilo Perez, Jerry Bergonzi, Dominique Eade, and Jerry Leake. At NEC, her penchant for singing without words soared, as she began performing her original compositions and those of her peers in this style. The concept of using the voice as an instrument has been something that has long intrigued Aubrey, who began doing so as child, singing along with the classical piano music she studied. In May of 2009, Aubrey graduated with honors and was awarded the Gunther Schuller Medal for outstanding performance and for making an extraordinary contribution to the life of the school. Most recently, Aubrey was a semi-finalist with Special Judges Attention in the Voicingers International Vocal Jazz Competition, held in Zory, Poland. During the summer of 2009, she performed at the Zeltsman Marimba Festival with Lyle Mays and Steve Rodby, playing keyboards and singing wordless melodies. The large ensemble, which included marimbas, percussion, and voice, world-premiered Mays' most recent composition, Eberhard. Aubrey is scheduled to appear again with Mays and Paul McCandless at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival in May of 2010.
Awards:"Best Jazz Vocalist" 2008 DownBeat Student Music Awards "Outstanding Performance - Jazz Vocalist" 2007 DownBeat Student Music Awards
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Brookline Music School Milton Academy