Carmen Lundy began her professional career in Miami, FL as a jazz vocalist and composer when there were very few young, gifted and aspiring jazz vocalists on the horizon. Over four decades later, Ms. Lundy is celebrated throughout the world for her vocal artistry and is highly regarded for her jazz innovation.
Currently on the Afrasia Productions label, Carmen has just completed work on her 15th album Code Noir, due in February 2017. Written entirely by Lundy, the album traverses musical genres and is a song cycle for these turbulent times. Her previous album “Soul To Soul” was released in 2014 to huge critical and popular acclaim. Almost two years in the making, “Soul To Soul” consists of new original songs by Lundy and a few special collaborations, among them Patrice Rushen, Geri Allen, Randy Brecker and Simphiwe Dana, a stunning South African vocalist and composer. “Soul To Soul” is on several major Top Ten Albums lists, including Downbeat and JazzTimes, as are the highly regarded releases “Changes”, “Jazz and the New Songbook-Live at The Madrid”, and “Come Home”. “Good Morning Kiss”, Ms. Lundy’s debut album, held a #3 spot on Billboard’s Jazz Chart for 23 weeks… Read more
Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project – Grammy Winner for Best Jazz Vocal Album of 2011 – features the Carmen Lundy composition “Show Me A Sign”, with Ms. Lundy’s original performance from the album “Solamente” reinvented on the arrangement.
In April 2016, Carmen Lundy was honored with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Award by Black Women In Jazz and The Arts, based in Atlanta, GA. Among her other awards and recognitions, especially rewarding was Miami-Dade’s County Office of the Mayor and Board of County Commissioners proclaiming January 25th “Carmen Lundy Day”, along with handing Ms. Lundy the keys to the City of Miami.
Having recorded more than fourteen albums as a leader, Carmen’s far-reaching discography also includes performances and recordings with such musicians as brother and bassist Curtis Lundy, Ray Barretto, Kenny Barron, Bruce Hornsby, Mulgrew Miller, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kip Hanrahan, Courtney Pine, Roy Hargrove, Jimmy Cobb, Ron Carter, Marian McPartland, Regina Carter, Steve Turre, Geri Allen, Robert Glasper, Jamison Ross, Kenny Davis, Darryl Hall, Patrice Rushen and the late Kenny Kirkland. Ms. Lundy’s 2005 release, the hugely successful “Jazz and The New Songbook-Live at The Madrid”, features some of the jazz world’s best known musicians paying tribute to Ms. Lundy.
Carmen Lundy’s work as a vocalist and composer has been critically acclaimed by The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, Variety, The Washington Post, Jazz Times, Jazziz, Downbeat and Vanity Fair among many others, as well as numerous foreign publications. Christopher Loudon of Jazz Times writes “Carmen Lundy, as beautiful inside as out, has accomplished the near impossible for a jazz singer by maintaining a solid, successful, three-decade career while focusing largely on original, self-penned material.” And Don Heckman of The Los Angeles Times – “Lundy’s performance was the product of talent that has ripened fully. Her far-ranging, fluidly mobile voice roved through and around the melodies, and her innate sense of theatricality illuminated every layer of drama in her story-driven songs.”
As a composer, Ms. Lundy’s catalogue numbers over 100 published songs, one of the few jazz vocalists in history to accomplish such a distinction, and has led to the first publication of the Carmen Lundy Songbook (2007). Her songs have been recorded by such artists as Kenny Barron (“Quiet Times”), Ernie Watts (“At The End Of My Rope”), and Straight Ahead (“Never Gonna Let You Go”). Officially endorsed by Neumann microphones, Carmen Lundy continues to compose and expand her vast catalogue.
Her discography consists of “Good Morning Kiss” (CLR/Afrasia Productions), “Moment To Moment” (Arabesque/Afrasia Productions), “Night And Day” (CBS/SONY and re-issued by Afrasia in 2011), “Old Devil Moon” (JVC), “Self Portrait” (JVC), “Something To Believe In” and “This Is Carmen Lundy” (both for Justin Time), “Jazz and The New Songbook – Live at The Madrid” (2-disc set and DVD, Afrasia Productions), “Come Home” (Afrasia), “Solamente” and the 2012 release “Changes” (Afrasia Productions). Her newest recording “Soul To Soul” was almost 2 years in the making, and will be released in the Fall of 2014 on Afrasia Productions.
A native of Miami, Florida, Carmen Lundy’s path to being one of today’s most talented, respected and sophisticated jazz singers began at age six, with her first piano lessons. She was deeply inspired by her mother who was then lead singer in the gospel group, The Apostolic Singers. Ms. Lundy attended The University of Miami as an Opera major, but soon discovered that jazz was where her talent really shone. While working steadily in the Miami Jazz scene, she graduated with a degree in Studio Music and Jazz – one of the first singers to do so. Lundy then moved to New York City in the spring of ’78 and immediately began working in jazz circles throughout the Tri-State area, and from Harlem to Greenwich Village, quickly impressing the notoriously critical jazz cognoscenti and audiences alike. Esteemed critic Gary Giddins stated (in 1983), “Jazz singing stopped regenerating itself about 20 years ago, and it’s not hard to see why, so it’s with some trepidation that I call your attention to an authentic young jazz singer named Carmen Lundy – she’s got it all.” Armed with a devoted following and critical kudos, the uncompromising Ms. Lundy continued to make waves, not just in North America, but in Asia and throughout the UK and Europe.
Teaching, too, is an important activity for Ms Lundy; she’s given Master Classes in Australia, Denmark, Russia, Japan, Switzerland, New York, Washington, D.C., Northern California, Los Angeles and other cities around the world. Since its inception in 1998, Lundy has and continues to participate in Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Program at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as Resident Clinician and guest artist. She has also worked with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz as guest artist and clinician.
Ms. Lundy is also a gifted actress active in theatre. “Acting,” as she told Dr. Billy Taylor in 2006, “helps me to get more comfortable and acquainted with the art of performance.” She performed the lead role as Billie Holiday in the Off-Off Broadway play “They Were All Gardenias” by Lawrence Holder, as well as the lead role in the Broadway show, Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Ladies,” and she made her television debut as the star of the CBS Pilot-Special “Shangri-La Plaza” in the role of Geneva, after which she relocated to Los Angeles, where she currently resides.
In addition to her recordings, Carmen Lundy has also composed and arranged for the Sonoton Music Library, the largest independent production music library in the world. Her music has been featured on such TV shows as “Mad Men”, “The L Word”, “Boardwalk Empire”, “So You Think You Can Dance”, “Baby Story”, and many others; as well as Feature Films and Documentaries including “9/11 – A Remembrance”.
Carmen Lundy is also a celebrated mixed media artist and painter, and her works have been exhibited in New York at The Jazz Gallery in Soho, at The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, and at a month-long exhibition at the Madrid Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.
Lundy resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Biography courtesy of The Official Website of Carmen Lundy
00 – Ahmed Sirour – New York Nocturnal: DJ Soulswede’s Theme
01 – Carmen Lundy – Good Morning Kiss (Good Morning Kiss, 1986)
02 – Carmen Lundy – Night and Day (Night and Day, 1987)
03 – Carmen Lundy – Sleeping Alone (Changes, 2012)
04 – Carmen Lundy – Kindred Spirits (Soul To Soul, 2014)
05 – Carmen Lundy – I Keep Falling (Feat. P. Rushen, B. Williams, K. Scott & J. Parker) (Code Noir, 2017)
06 – Carmen Lundy – Afterglow (Feat. P. Rushen, B. Williams, K. Scott & J. Parker) (Code Noir, 2017)
Background music during the interview:
James Cleveland & The Angelic Choir – Peace Be Still, Carmen Lundy – The Lamp Is Low, Carmen Lundy – Lullaby of Birdland, Carmen Lundy – So Beautiful, Carmen Lundy – When Will They Learn, Carmen Lundy – Live Out Loud (Feat. Patrice Rushen, Ben Williams, Kendrick Scott & Jeff Parker)