Toronto jazz singer Lara Solnicki could have become the next Beverly Sills, but instead is carving her own path as a jazz artist.
Once a Verdian soprano, Solnicki will showcase songs from her recent CD Whose Shadow? at the Toronto Jazz Festival June 21 in a one-hour concert at Lula Lounge.
An accomplished composer and poet with a four octave range, Solnicki gave up an opportunity to sing Madame Butterfly and a career in opera to develop her creativity in poetry and jazz over the last eight years.
“When I was at the Royal Conservatory of Music, I initially thought opera would be my career. But I ultimately decided I wanted to immerse myself in creative music, improvisation and writing poetry and found my home in contemporary jazz ,” said Solnicki.
Thus far, Solnicki has received acclaim for both Whose Shadow? and her debut 2010 CD A Meadow In December, a selection of songs from the Great American Songbook of jazz standards that have been played on jazz radio stations across Canada.
In Whose Shadow?, Solnicki shows her flair for composing and drawing from her classical music training in many songs. In the song La Flute Enchanté, she combines a classical flute styling with her jazz arrangements while singing in French.
She draws inspiration from artists such as Peter Gabriel and Joni Mitchell interpreting what she describes as “art pop songs.”
“I love the playfulness of jazz and the poetry of words in these songs.”
Along with her artistic talent, Solnicki has a business flair that has made her widely known in jazz circles across Canada.
She has recorded with multiple award jazz instrumentalists and producers despite not being signed on a major record label and having no agent.
Solnicki may have drawn inspiration from her family. Born in Toronto, her parents, filmmaker Victor Solnicki and author Jill Solnicki gave her both the love of the cultural arts as well as the self-discipline to succeed in her career.
Jazz composer/singer Lara Solnicki performs June 20, 7:30 p.m. for the Toronto Jazz Festival at Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. W. in Toronto. Admission is free. For further information, call 416-588-0307 or go to www.lula.ca