Brooklyn Center presents Alicia Olatuja
Brooklyn, NY, January 15, 2018: Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College continues its 2017-18 Kumble Theater season with jazz singer/songwriter Alicia Olatuja. Drawing from a wide range of musical influence including classical, R&B, soul, and gospel, this Brooklyn resident brings her scintillating jazz stylings to Brooklyn’s Kumble Theater, including a preview of selections from her yet-to-be-released second album, Intuition: Songs from the Minds of Women. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased in advance at BrooklynCenter.org or by calling the Brooklyn Center box office at 718-951-4500 . Day-of-show tickets should be purchased at the Kumble Theater on the downtown Brooklyn campus of LIU, located at 1 University Plaza, or by calling the Kumble Theater box office at 718-488-1624 .
“Olatuja possesses a special instrument: a full-bodied tone, precise pitch
and personal engagement at the lowest whisper or highest wail.”
— Downbeat magazine
Praised by The New York Times as “a singer with a strong and luscious tone and an amiable regal presence on stage,” Alicia Olatuja has been astounding audiences with her exquisite vocals, artistic versatility, and captivating demeanor. She first came into the national spotlight in 2013, performing as the featured soloist on the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at President Barack Obama’s Second Inauguration. GRAMMY®-winning jazz artist Dianne Reeves was so impressed with Alicia’s voice that she emailed pianist Billy Childs a link to the performance, writing, “You should hear this girl, she can really sing!” Shortly thereafter, she assembled her own jazz-based ensemble and recorded her first solo album, Timeless (2014).
Originally from St. Louis, MO, Alicia grew up immersed in a wide range of musical styles, including gospel, soul, jazz, and classical. These influences have informed her artistic journey, and she later graduated with a Master’s degree in Classical Voice/Opera from the Manhattan School of Music. Of her classical studies, Alicia remarked in a 2017 interview with Hot House Jazz magazine, “When I started classical voice, I was really studying for a healthy foundation, so I could sing whatever I wanted to sing. I had a huge appetite for variety in music, and I just wanted to learn how to work my instrument. Falling in love with opera became a part of that process. I always knew, though, that I would further pursue my roots in gospel, jazz, and soul music.”
After appearing in numerous operatic and musical theater productions, she started to perform more regularly in gospel and jazz concerts and worked with such esteemed artists as Chaka Khan, BeBe Winans, and Christian McBride.
In 2014, Alicia came to the attention of the acclaimed composer/arranger/pianist Billy Childs, and was brought on to be a part of the touring incarnation of Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro, alongside vocalist Becca Stevens, in the 2015-16 season. Her voice has also entranced the legendary Hammond B3 organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, and she has recently performed with him at multiple events including the Charlie Parker Festival and the BRIC JazzFest.
Over the past year, Alicia’s own band has been steadily in demand, and they have performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, Saratoga Jazz Festival, Jazz Standard, Birdland, Vermont Jazz Center, Rockport Jazz Festival, Markham Jazz Festival, Monty Alexander Jazz Fest, and the Harlem Stage Gatehouse, to name a few. She was a featured vocalist on Gregory Porter’s 2017 GRAMMY®-winning Take Me to the Alley.
Her newest projects for 2018 include touring throughout the year with drummer Ulysses Owens Jr.’s Songs of Freedom with German-born vocalist Theo Bleckmann and German/Zimbabwean singer Joanna Majoko. Developed at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the project focuses on the music of Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, and Abby Lincoln. She is also heading back into the studio to record a new album, titled Intuition: Songs from the Minds of Women, which will likely feature songwriters from that project. According to a recent JazzTimes interview, the album will be “all female composers, including myself, a celebration of those perspectives and experiences.”
Brooklyn Center’s presentation of Alicia Olatuja is made possible through the Jazz Touring Network program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts’ 2018 Kumble Theater season concludes on April 28, 2018 with two performances by Washington D.C.-based dance troupe Step Afrika!. In addition to the artists being presented at Kumble Theater, Brooklyn Center will also partner with the Weeksville Heritage Center to present their 11th annual National Grid Earth Day Celebration (April 21, 2018). Discounts for Brooklyn Center’s 2018 Kumble Theater performances are also available for seniors, students, Brooklyn College faculty/staff/alumni, active/retired military personnel, children ages 12 and under, and groups of 10 or more. $10 student rush tickets available day-of-show.
Saturday, March 10, 2018 at 8pm, $30
Kumble Theater at LIU Brooklyn, 1 University Plaza, Brooklyn
Online orders: BrooklynCenter.org
Box Office: 718-951-4500
Groups of 10 or more: 718-951-4600 x3331
About Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
Founded in 1954, Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College presents outstanding performing arts and arts education programs, reflective of Brooklyn’s diverse communities, at affordable prices. Each season, Brooklyn Center welcomes over 65,000 people to the 2,400 seat Whitman Theatre, including up to 45,000 schoolchildren from over 300 schools who attend their SchoolTime series, one of the largest arts-in-education programs in the borough. For the 2017-18 season, the company will present at the Kumble Theater on the downtown Brooklyn campus of LIU, while Whitman Theatre undergoes a 12-month closure for structural repairs. Brooklyn Center plans to announce additional performances for the spring of 2018 in conjunction with the opening of the new Leonard and Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College.
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts’ programs are supported, in part, by public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Brooklyn Center’s 2017-18 season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Major support for the 2017-18 season is provided by: Brooklyn College, Con Edison, TD Bank, National Grid, The Howard Gilman Foundation, the Jazz Touring Network, the Alice Lawrence Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the TD Charitable Foundation. Additional support provided by CNG Publications, The Brooklyn Eagle, Brooklyn Media Group, and WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM. The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New York Brooklyn is the official hotel of Brooklyn Center’s 2017-18 season.
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts gratefully acknowledges generous support from New York State Assembly members Annette Robinson and Helene Weinstein; New York City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams; New York City Council Cultural Affairs Committee Chair Jimmy Van Bramer; New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl.
Kenny Barron (solo piano)