"Olatuja possesses a special instrument: a full-bodied tone, precise pitch and personal engagement at the lowest whisper or highest wail." -Downbeat
Praised by the New York Times as “a singer with a strong and luscious tone and an amiably 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, whilst performing as the featured soloist with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at President Barack Obama’s Second Inauguration. 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 Masters degree in Classical Voice/Opera from the Manhattan School of 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 part of the touring incarnation of “Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro” alongside vocalist Becca Stevens. The project has begun an extensive nationwide tour for the 2015-16 season in cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, Denver, Tallahassee, New York, and Boston.
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.
Alicia’s own band, over the past year, has been steadily in demand, and they have performed at the Jazz Standard, Vermont Jazz Center, Sioux Falls JazzFest, Rockport Jazz Festival, Markham Jazz Festival, Monty Alexander Jazz Fest, and the Harlem Stage Gatehouse, to name a few.
"[a] singer with a strong, lustrous tone and an amiably regal presence onstage."
• The New York Times
"The young lady was breathtaking... fantastic... unreal."
• The View (ABC)
"Vocally, Olatuja has a salt-of-the-earth voice and genuine embrace of the lyric— she’s like a rebooted Lizz Wright, but with her own sense of majesty. There’s her gospel soul combined with riveting storytelling style that pours joy, heartache and optimism."
• Nick Bewsey, ICON
"Brooklyn-based vocalist Alicia Olatuja tells stories about life and time through her music. In fact her album, Timeless, is her way of expressing how the concept of time impacts us all."
“Brooklyn gives birth to new musical star, singer Alicia Olatuja."
• The New York Daily News
"A Voice that Captivates."
• Nick Bewsey, BSC News (France)
"Olatuja’s is a voice to remember as is an album that is so full of well-considered and convincingly interpreted love songs."
• Stephen Graham, Marlbank (Ireland)
“Dianne Reeves recognized that one of the most thrilling vocalists of today was actually sitting in the audience: Alicia Olatuja. Giving Alicia a shout-out between songs, Reeves acknowledged the up-and-coming star’s breathtaking performance at President Obama’s inauguration and predicted great things ahead for her.”
• Jeff Tamarkin, Associate Editor, JazzTimes
KC Metropolis Review
Kansas City, MO
Fri Mar 11, 2016
Alicia Olatuja Quintet