With a repertoire running the gamut from swing to bebop to the Great American Songbook, Veronica Swift is a young but fully fledged star on the international jazz scene.
Boasting a clear and lilting tone and radiant stage presence, she is also a master of rigorous vocal techniques like vocalese and scat. In the Wall Street Journal’s words: “[Swift] might be the best scat singer since Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day, Sarah Vaughan and Mel Tormé.”
Having first gained widespread attention in high-profile collaborations with the likes of Wynton Marsalis and Chris Botti, she has developed a devoted following among audiences. No doubt she will add to that following when Swift makes her Segerstrom Center for the Arts debut with two shows on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7 and 9 p.m. in the Samueli Theater.
Swift will be performing selections from her 2021 album, “This Bitter Earth,” along with additional jazz standards, rock classics, and more.
According to Swift, “This show at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts is not only a comeback after a year-long hiatus of no gigs, but it is a rebirth. The songs I’ve picked for this show encompass some of “This Bitter Earth’s” message, but also we have included new songs that mix classical with rock and roll and funk as well as jazz. I now know my purpose as an artist is to break down these genre barriers and fully immerse the audience in what to me is just simply music.”
Accompanying Swift are Mathis Picard, Piano; Alex Heffron, Guitar; Philip Norris, Bass; and Dylan Elise, Drums.
Still relatively early in her professional career, Swift has already developed an impressive repertoire. Raised in Charlottesville, Virginia by her parents – pianist Hod O’Brien and singer Stephanie Nakasian – she recorded her first album, “Veronica’s House of Jazz,” when she was only nine years old. In addition to performing with her parents, Swift sang and played trumpet with Dave Adams’ The Young Razzcals Jazz Project, which afforded her the opportunity to perform at the Telluride Jazz Festival.
After releasing her sophomore album, “It’s Great to Be Alive,” when she was only 11 years old, Swift continued performing at major venues such as Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.
After high school, she attended the University of Miami, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in 2016.
Before college graduation, Swift competed in the 2015 Thelonious Monk International Vocal Competition, in which she placed second. Two years later, she moved to New York City to further her career and has since performed and/or toured with a host of jazz luminaries, including trumpeters Wynton Marsalis and Chris Botti, and pianists Benny Green, Michael Feinstein, and Emmet Cohen.
Swift flips the script on “This Bitter Earth,” the captivating follow-up to her 2019 Mack Avenue Records debut, “Confessions.”
Whereas “Confessions” played out like pages from her personal diary, on the new album the 27-year-old singer and master song interpreter looks outward while addressing social ills that plague the world today.
“This Bitter Earth” takes on the song-cycle characteristics of such classic LPs as Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love,” and Mary J. Blige’s “My Life.” For her album, Swift tackles such topics as sexism with “How Lovely to Be a Woman,” domestic abuse with “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss),” racism/xenophobia with “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught,” and the dangers of fake news with “The Sports Page.”
She recorded much of the material in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic forced the world into a near total standstill. But the time allowed her to live with songs at different parts of her life. Eventually, she recognized the connective tissue between them.
Single tickets for Veronica Swift at Segerstrom Center for the Arts start at $59 and are available online at www.SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787.
Audience Advisory: Segerstrom Center’s updated COVID-19 policy requires ticket holders to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 to attend all indoor performances and events at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. “Fully vaccinated” means your performance is at least 14 days after your final vaccine dose. To enter the theatre, please bring proof of vaccination, either your physical vaccination card, a picture of your vaccination card, or a digital vaccination record. Most California residents may request a digital vaccination record at www.myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov.
Those who are under age 12 and anyone without proof of being fully vaccinated must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours (3 days) prior to entering the theatre.
Masks are required at all times for all patrons and visitors regardless of vaccination status in all indoor spaces at Segerstrom Center.
Performance ticket holders who do not comply with these policies will not be admitted.