Vocalist Virginia Schenck has studied and performed music since her childhood, but since 2007, she has renewed her commitment to singing full-time. Using the stage name VA, she has released three albums which showcase her developing artistry. Schenck was raised in Florida and attended Florida State University. While her degree was in Music Therapy, she studied jazz piano, voice and dance. She started singing jazz gigs while in school, and continued to sit in with groups after she launched her music therapy career in Macon, Georgia. Her love of jazz was enriched through a friendship with drummer Jaimoe (previously a member of the Allman Brothers Band). In 2007, she had the opportunity to work with Bobby McFerrin and Rhiannon in New York, and over the next three years, she continued her studies with both musicians. By this time, Schenck joined the local jazz scene in Atlanta and formed the trio that still accompanies her today: pianist Kevin Bales, bassist Rodney Jordan, and drummer Marlon Patton.
Schenck’s style moves between straight-ahead swing to daring, progressive improvisation. Schenck says I like being grounded in tradition, but I want to tantalize my audience and inspire myself by doing something different. But I always come back to center with traditional sounds. Examples of both elements can be found in abundance throughout VA’s albums. On first glance, her debut album looks like a fairly standard vocal record, with a mix of standards, ballads, jazz classics and originals. However, as the album progresses, VA’s original concepts become immediately apparent. She places Tom Jobim’s “How Insensitive” in a slow-burning Latin groove, sets “Better Than Anything” over a New Orleans street beat and explores the loneliness in Monk’s “Round Midnight” with a mournful bass/voice duet. Schenck’s versatile delivery allows her to project a wide range of emotions from heart-rending tenderness to powerful intensity, and her impeccable diction allows the listener to understand every word of her compelling stories.