A highly appealing jazz singer with a quietly expressive voice and a deep understanding of the lyrics that she interprets, Keri Johnsrud has been an important part of the Chicago jazz scene for the past 15 years. As Christopher Loudon from JazzTimes has also noted, Keri Johnsrud is largely about finding the unexpected in the familiar. The bright shimmer of her voice, a crystalline instrument of deceptive simple beauty, defies the depth of her artistry. Now with the recording of her upcoming CD, This Side of Morning, she is making a major step forward not only as a singer, but as a lyricist and songwriter.
Keri was born and raised in Iowa as part of a very musical family. Her grandmother, mother and sister were all professional vocalists and Keri first performed in public when she was seven. I grew up hearing big band swing, which my mother loved, and jazz. Since I was a child of the 1980s, I also listened to the pop and rock music of the time - Hall and Oates, Chicago, Huey Lewis and the News. Keri was a student of the piano, played trumpet in high school and, with the Iowa Ambassadors of Music (a hand-picked choir), she had the opportunity to visit and perform in England (including Westminster Abbey), Western Europe and Italy. At The University of Iowa she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Promotion, but also performed with the Old Gold Singers and Newman Singers, touring with both ensembles.