An up-and-coming singer-songwriter influenced by jazz, Sonya Kitchell was only 17 when she released her debut CD in 2006. Born in Northampton, Mass., she grew up in nearby Ashfield. She studied voice with Sheila Jordan and Rebecca Parris when she was 10. Kitchell wrote her first original on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001 when, at age 12, shaken by the World Trade Center incidents, she turned a diary entry into a song. After it gained attention in the press, she was given a gig at a local folk-oriented venue, the Iron Horse Music Hall. Her success there led to her forming her first band. She was accepted into a workshop for young jazz composers sponsored by the Kennedy Center, the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program. In 2005 Kitchell recorded her debut EP, Cold Day, for Velour Records, and in 2006 she recorded her first CD, Words Came Back to Me, for which she wrote all of the songs.. She toured Europe in 2007 and had an opportunity to perform with Herbie Hancock and Joni Mitchell. While her influences include Rickie Lee Jones and the jazz side of Joni Mitchell, and she has been called pop-inspired, folk-jazz and rootsy, Kitchell (who also plays guitar) seems destined to follow her own musical path.
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