Born: May 3, 1976 Primary Instrument: Vocal
“Possessed of a very fine voice and an original style, I consider Monika one of the most promising and talented young musicians that I know.” -Steve Lacy, jazz saxophone
Called by jazz vocalist Dominique Eade “an unusual talent who makes alluring music that is both heartfelt and remarkably hip”, Monika Heidemann twists together jazz sensibility, improvisation, catchy pop melodies, the grind of rock n’ roll and enough subconscious creativity to still question where this music could have come from.
Reaching above and beyond the standard, these modern day art-songs are truly a breath of fresh air in the current music scene. Her off-beat humor and smart, avant-garde arrangements, though not at all esoteric, betray her background as an intuitive musician, well-balanced between the technical and the spontaneous. These virtues, key to every great musician, are equally true of her vocal approach. Monika Heidemann’s warm, dark, voice and fluid phrasing, envelop strong melodies and remarkable musical vocabularies. With an equally captivating band of brilliant musicians and improvisors, this music leaves one simultaneously entranced with mystery and revelation, joy and sadness. It is this dance with contradiction that makes the dreamlike poetry of her songs resonate for all who hear them.
Vocalist Monika Heidemann’s musical endeavors started with the saxophone in the 4th grade elementary school band and continued into her years at the University of Vermont in Burlington. Initially pursuing a career in wildlife biology, Monika instead found herself singing and playing sax in local rock bands. While in Burlington, she directed and arranged for the a capella group The Cat’s Meow, led her own jazz trio with local artists. For three years sang and toured with the Catamount Singers, a select 16-piece classical/contemporary choir. In 2000, Monika left the United States for a four-month excursion to Brazil to study the native music with local musicians where she was invited to play in a drum troupe as part of Carnival. She has toured the entire U.S. twice, as well as the UK, with her projects.
In May 2003, Monika received her Master’s degree in Jazz Performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston. She has studied voice, improvisation, and composition with artists Dominique Eade, Danilo Perez, Jerry Bergonzi, Steve Lacy, and Luciana Souza.
Now residing in NYC, she is finishing her first solo album with her band of NYC musicians, featuring original compositions and songs by the late saxophonist, Steve Lacy. Monika performs her original music with The Monika H. Band. She also sings with The Animal Channel (ethnic inspired dance) and The Bunkbeds (electro-pop). She tours nationally and internationally with the all female Afro-beat band, The Femm Nameless.