With a growing catalog of outstanding recordings and a warm, swinging performing style, Audrey Silver is one of the most elegantly creative singers in jazz today. Known for what Hot House Jazz has called “extraordinary artistry” and “a velvet-laden timbre with impeccable phrasing,” Audrey has more recently become known for her compelling takes on well-known pop tunes and her own poignant originals.
Her latest recording project and her fourth album, Let Me Know Your Heart, was released in early September 2019. The album features a remarkable group of musicians including Bruce Barth on piano, trumpeter Marcus Printup, upright bassist Paul Beaudry, drummer Anthony Pinciotti, Tom Beckham on vibes and guitarist Gary Ciprut. The album is centered artistically and emotionally on Audrey’s six newly-penned original songs (out of fourteen total tracks).
Let Me Know Your Heart’s title song, written by Audrey, has the flavor of an Irish jig and features her singing and also playing the Native American flute. It also features Audrey’s renditions of Abbey Lincoln’s “Up Jumped Spring,” Irving Berlin’s “How Deep is the Ocean,” and Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill.” It also includes a French song, "Plus Je T’Embrasse” by Max Francois and Ben Ryan. Altogether the album is a wonderful example of Audrey’s superb ability to set a compelling scene in song.
Audrey’s previous recording project, Very Early, was released in October 2016. Included in the stellar line-up is Barth and the highly respected drummer Lewis Nash. Creatively arranged by singer, composer, and Berklee professor Steven Santoro, the album bravely stretches across the spectrum from the cherished show tune-turned-jazz-standard, “Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” to the late Mose Allison’s “What’s with You,” to several of Audrey’s own compositions including “The Cold Wind’s Embrace,” and “When the World Was New.” Very Early also includes the French song, Jardin D’Hiver by K. A. Zeidel and B. Biolay.
Born and raised in New York City, Audrey graduated from Brown University, where she founded The Higher Keys, the school’s first a capella singing group. After stints working in marketing for CBS Masterworks (now Sony Classical) and Chesky Records, Audrey returned to school and earned an MBA from Columbia University Business School.
Audrey began her singing career in earnest in 1998 when she teamed with Jon Raney, son of pianist Jimmy Raney and produced her first demo with the help of Ronnie Zito (Woody Herman, Bobby Darin) and Jay Leonhart (Judy Garland, Tony Bennett).
In the meantime, she honed her craft through private study with singers Shelia Jordan and Mark Murphy, that latter who eloquently described her voice as having “that rare quality of light infectious swing that lights up her tall willowy persona.” Audrey has built a respected and successful career by performing at an array of New York’s best-known jazz clubs and music venues including Zinc Bar, Jazz at Kitano, 55 Bar, & the Cornelia Street Cafe. Nationally, Audrey performed at large festivals and venues around the country including the Tanglewood Jazz Festival and the JVC Jazz Festival. She was a semi-finalist in the 2016 edition of the international Songwriting Competition.
Along with Let Me Know Your Heart and Very Early, Audrey has released two additional albums through her production company Messy House Productions: Here In My Arms and Dream Awhile.
Receiving high praise from the jazz press, JazzTimes.com noted that “Her clarity and enunciation is on par with the great Jo Stafford and her breath control— a talent so often, and so wrongfully, overlooked— rivals Sinatra’s.” The same website reinforced a comparison she has heard numerous: “Not since Karen Carpenter have I heard such a strong alto voice that is so pure and so convincing.”
Audrey commented about songwriting and what started her down this path. “When my son was four and going through an obsessive boat phase, he said, 'Mommy write me a song about boats.' It took me about five minutes to write, 'Farewell to The Harbor’. The song was a simple blues tune with a bridge, but it turned out that the song actually includes a poignant metaphor about a child separating from the safety of its parents. That was when I first realized that I might actually be able to do this. Songwriting begins with tapping into what is in your heart and adding a melody to it. I’m a storyteller at heart but I feel different about the way stories are told than I used to. I feel like it’s much more of an emotional than verbal story at this point.”
Crediting musical luminaries as diverse as Bill Evans, Annie Lennox and Arnold Schoenberg as influences on her artistry, Audrey has found new challenges and satisfaction in becoming a songwriter and looks forward to sharing more of her music with her audiences in the coming years.