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Nikki Yanofsky

Nikki Yanofsky fuh-lipped out!

Nikki Yanofsky has a habit of astonishing people. Usually this is how it happens: first, she bounds onstage in a club or a theatre, a petite teenage gamine in front of a greying, paunchy all-male jazz combo. She then snaps her fingers and counts off the introduction to a jazz standard. The moment her voice rings out, the venue echoes with the sound of dropping jaws.

The jazz world has celebrated many a prodigy, but none has been met with this much unanimous adulation or hope since Wynton Marsalis drew his first raves in the early ’80s. With her multi-octave range, impeccable pitch, increasingly rich tone, and unexpectedly soulful power, Yanofsky, who turns 16 on Feb. 8, has been wowing crowds in her hometown of Montreal since she was 11, playing guest spots at clubs with her father’s weekend-warrior cover band. As word spread, high-profile gig offers with professionals followed; she has headlined shows at jazz festivals from Montreal to Sapporo. Pop audiences are catching on, too, and this month, her star is set to surge: she sings the theme song for CTV’s Olympic coverage (a Céline Dion-meets-Chariots of Fire power ballad called I Believe), and the video will premiere during the Super Bowl.

Story continues at Macleans


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