Addicted to novelty since 2001

The Crazy Talent That is Nikki Yanofsky

Last night on CBC’s The National, I watched a piece on Nikki Yanofsky, a twelve-year-old singer from Montreal. She’s a jazz singer, and apparently the love child of Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin. Check out this little montage:

And I was impressed by the seventeen year old white girl from Dover? That jazz singing comes from the most unlikely of places. There’s always the danger of her becoming a bit of a freak show, but the CBC piece suggested that her parents were her head straight.

I’m not jazz aficionado, but she sounds like she’s got more soul at twelve than the likes of Norah Jones or Diana Krall have at twice or three times her age.

7 Responses to “The Crazy Talent That is Nikki Yanofsky”

  1. Meg

    She has a great voice, she has really exceptional pitch, and she’s very strong as far as stage presence goes, but it feels like she’s oversinging at points — trying for vocal maturity she doesn’t have because honestly, she still sounds 12. Very, very good 12, but a kid’s voice.

    But that oversinging is what gets your attention, and it’s gutsy. I want to see her in five years. She’ll go from being, “Holy crap, that kid can sing” to “Wow, that’s a hell of a voice and I don’t care how old she is.”

    But awesome. She reminds me of Joss Stone or Bette Midler when she’s punching it out, and then when it’s sweet, then she sounds a bit Ellaesque.

    I think she could use a vocal coach who is not awed by her power, and forces her to play down into technique.

  2. Lincoln

    Ditto — great pipes, but not jazz. And, Meg’s bang on — she’s kinda over the top in a lot of places. A few years and training in musical dynamics will make a world of diffference.

    But, still, “Holy crap, that kid can sing.” Reminiscent of Olivia Olson from Love Actually.

  3. Mary

    I wish I could have sounded like that at 12!! I haven’t read or heard anywhere that Nikki believes her voice is one of a mature trained adult singer, pretending she is something she is not. But lets face it, she isn’t exactly your average sounding 12 year old.
    I think she is fantastic and with experience, she can only blossom into one of the greatest versatile singers of her time.
    Good luck to her, although somehow I don’t think she will need it.

  4. frank 'tony' martinez

    who is around now when Ella first sang at the
    Apollo at her young age of 17? Yes this young woman is ‘doing’ Ella, only Ella Frizgerald done Ella in my life there will never be another Ella. Yet Nikki has the chops she’s refreshing and yes new. She’s being played on jazz stations though out I pick up on Nikki via local station Kjazz 88 out of Long Beach. I see where she is ‘not’ a jazz what standards..Did Ella start out as a jazz singer?
    Singing the American song book was Ella’s joy.
    Nikki needs exposure and a few more recordings to really hear where she’s coming from and where she’ll go. Thank you.

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