Canadian vocal jazz & pop sensation Nikki Yanofsky is back with her sophomore release Little Secret, available May 12 worldwide via A440 Entertainment and Universal Music International.
Executive Produced by legend Quincy Jones, Little Secret combines pop-song structures with sophisticated harmonies, club-ready beats with punchy big-band horns, and earworm hooks with scat-singing solos. It’s all held together by her powerful delivery, as well as a newfound sass.
In the studio with Rob Kleiner and Dan Cinelli, Yanofsky brought together the immediacy of her pop work with the depth of her jazz. Her approach is epitomized by the track “Something New”, which cheekily adapts the hooks from Jones’s “Soul Bossa Nova” and Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” to a strutting groove, and features the full breadth of Nikki’s vocals, from a soulful roar to a kittenish growl.
“I’m excited to be back and to unveil Little Secret to the world,” said Yanofsky. The process of making this album has really forced me to reflect on what I wanted to say and the quality of work I wanted to put out. I think I have separated from the kid to the adult and the artist that I am now, and I couldn’t be more excited to share this new music with the world.”
“Little Secret is the evolution of an immense talent,” commented Randy Lennox, President and CEO, Universal Music Canada. “The master Quincy Jones has taken Nikki Yanofsky from ingénue to a young woman at the vanguard of her talents.”
With Little Secret, Nikki has drawn on the impeccable taste and crossover wisdom of the album’s Executive Producer and her co-manager Quincy Jones, who has been bridging gaps between jazz and pop since the ‘60s. She had brought jazz into a pop context before, performing with Hancock in 2011 for the MusiCares Person of the Year tribute to Barbra Streisand, and singing at a Los Angeles tribute to Carole King with a big band conducted by Jones himself.
“For many years now, it has been both my dream and my goal to inspire young people to recognize and appreciate jazz and blues,” said Jones. “Nikki Yanofsky is a leading voice in a generation of young artists who are bringing the quality of music back up. Little Secret is the result of years of hard work, and her stab at bringing her influences to her own generation. I’m proud to be her Executive Producer and excited for the world to hear this album.”
Yanofsky was bitten by the jazz bug at an early age, and there was no denying her prodigious gifts: in 2005 at age eleven, she was singing guest spots in clubs, and the next year, wowed 100,000 people onstage at the jazz festival in her hometown, Montreal, Quebec. She could reproduce the trickiest scatting performances of her heroine, Ella Fitzgerald, with dead-on pitch and articulation, adding her own youthful verve. In 2008, she released her first album, Ella … of Thee I Swing as a CD/DVD package. The album went Gold in Canada, was nominated for two Juno Awards (making her the youngest multiple-Juno nominee in history), and served as a remarkable calling-card. By 14, she had performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic, Washington, D.C.’s National Symphony Orchestra, and Herbie Hancock – not to mention pop stars Will.i.am and Wyclef Jean.
On her first studio album, Nikki (2010), she spread her wings, penning some of her own tunes with help from Canadian indie hero Ron Sexsmith and Grammy winning singer/songwriter Jesse Harris. Produced by 14-time Grammy-winner Phil Ramone, Nikki ranged in style from the sashaying swing of “I Got Rhythm” to the stately sweep of the quadruple-platinum single, “I Believe”. In Canada, the album went gold, hit #1 on the jazz chart and #6 in pop and was nominated for the Vocal Jazz Album of the year. Audiences far and wide caught on too: the album was just shy of gold in France and in the U.S. it debuted at #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart for new artists. iTunes® worldwide declared it the Vocal Jazz Album of the Year.