Nikki Yanofsky: Bringin’ Scat Back

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Nikki Yanofsky: Bringin’ Scat Back

If you thought that the Time 100 Most Influential People gala was the most thrilling thing going on in Manhattan last night, think again. Betty White and Sarah Palin aside, it wasn’t even the most thrilling thing happening at Jazz at Lincoln Center in the Time Warner Center. Because on the other side of a flimsy screen from the gala, inside the intimate Dizzy’s Club, 16-year-old wunderkind songstress Nikki Yanofsky was performing for a small and lucky crowd to celebrate this week’s release of her first album.

blog_yanofsky_01.jpg Yanofsky opened with a jazzy rendition of On the Sunny Side of the Street. To hear her sing—her vocal acrobatics draw comparisons to Ella Fitzgerald—is to assume that her handlers are shaving years off her age for publicity purposes. But between songs, the Montreal native—adorably clad in sequin shorts and bedazzled black Converse high tops—spoke in an unmistakably teenaged cadence. “I’m so excited to be here, especially because my album launched today—I’m stoked!” she cried before launching into her first original song of the evening, Cool My Heels. (On the album, her tunes stand up surprisingly well next to classics like I Got Rhythm and Somewhere Over the Rainbow.) Another new one, First Lady, is dedicated to Fitzgerald: “She pretty much opened up, like, a whole new world for me!” Yanofsky explained in introducing the song, before launching into a soulful and breathtakingly executed melody.

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Photos: Slaven Vlasic

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