Jacintha Abisheganaden was born October 3, 1957 in Singapore. Both of her parents had musical backgrounds. Her Chinese mother played piano and sang. Her Sri Lankan father played classical guitar. Jacintha studied piano and voice beginning in her early teens. She won a local talent contest, Talentime and was a member of the Singapore Youth Choir.
After studying creative writing in Harvard, she returned to Singapore and began her career in theater. She released some early albums in Singapore. In the late 90’s she began releasing a string of critically acclaimed jazz albums on Groove Note Records.