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Elissa Lala

If one had to describe the jazz vocal style of Elissa Lala in just three words, they would be passionate, evocative and distinctive. The daughter of a professional trombonist, Elissa Lala grew up in Philadelphia and began singing professionally at the age of five. By the time she was in her early teens, Elissa was doing background vocal sessions at Philly’s then explosive Sigma Sound Studios. Although heavily influenced by R&B, she’d be quietly singing Michel Legrand’s “You Must Believe in Spring” while walking the Philly streets to that all girl Italian high school. Cleo Laine’s rendition of the ballad hit her hard. And as if this wasn’t different enough, Elissa struggled privately with a hearing impairment that she became quite good at hiding during a very non pro-active parental generation. The impairment miraculously never affected her pitch, yet would she be able to hear that piano intro if the piano was positioned across the room during those television tapings? It always seemed to all work out. Falling in love with jazz guitarist John Valentino made the jazz thing stick all the more. They performed together at every major venue on the east coast, eventually getting married and moving to Los Angeles. Not long after moving to LA, Elissa was invited up to sing at a popular Burbank studios jazz club, where Aaron Spellings’ music supervisor heard her and was moved

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