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JT Track Premiere: Arianna Neikrug’s “Changes”

Winner of 2015 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition offers a preview of her Aug. 24 debut album on Concord Jazz

Arianna Neikrug (photo: Jacob Blickenstaff)
Arianna Neikrug (photo: Jacob Blickenstaff)

Arianna Neikrug, the 25-year-old singer who won the Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition in 2015, will release her debut album, Changes, Aug. 24 on Concord Jazz, and JazzTimes is pleased to be premiering the album’s title track here.

“I wrote the melody and lyrics to ‘Changes’ a couple months after graduating from college,” Neikrug says. “I cannot think of a bigger, more challenging and more significant ‘change’ in my life (so far) than the transition from college to the ‘real’ world. This song shares my experience of an unbelievably painful and personal struggle that ultimately paved the way for exponential self-growth. I’ve since then learned that in my darkest moments live the most valuable lessons.”

Like the rest of the album, “Changes” is produced by Grammy-winning pianist and arranger Laurence Hobgood and also features drummer Jared Schonig and bassist Matt Clohesy. It’s one of two songs that Neikrug—originally from Los Angeles, now based in New York—wrote for the album. The rest of Changes displays Neikrug’s gift for interpreting tunes from the Great American Songbook and more recent pop and R&B classics from the ’70s. Tracks include “After You’ve Gone,” “The Song Is You,” Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” Bob Dorough’s “Devil May Care,” and a medley of two Joni Mitchell compositions, “Help Me” and “Be Cool.”

For more information on Arianna Neikrug, go to And look for a review of Changes in the October issue of JazzTimes.



Originally Published