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Stephanie Nilles

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Stephanie Nilles is an independent musician constantly on the move. At 17, she was a finalist at the Young Concert Artists’ International Competition. At 22, she had graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music with a BM in classical piano performance. These days, she’s performing her own politically-influenced jazz/folk tunes, described by listeners as “Ella Fitzgerald on speed beating the shit out of Regina Spektor” and “Tom Waits on helium,” in her adopted home base of New York City and out on the road in a hatchback with a Roland. She has performed at joints like Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, The Bitter End, The Cutting Room, WFMT’s “Live from Studio One,” and the Dame Myra Hess Series at the Chicago Cultural Center, and she has collaborated with artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Joel Newton, and Christian Howes, in styles ranging from free improv to burlesque accompaniment. Stephanie’s songs, sometimes “brutally honest,” address issues ranging from drug busts in her Harlem neighborhood and feminism to the recent election and life on the road. “She is a poet without being pretentious about it; she is bluesy, jazzy, soulful (in her way), and lets her music pour out in such an organic way. Her songs can be analyzed word for word, or they can be taken impressionistically, fixating instead on the overall mood. Whenever she plays, the room falls dead silent. Whether everyone will be able to absorb all of the complexity and nuances of her music is unimportant. What is important is that everyone will try.” (exterminating angel press) In August 2008, Stephanie released a full-length album, ReDemo, on her own label, Sudden Infant Death Hut Records.

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