“Live music is not unlike flying trapeze; one must be confident, fully engaged, and ideally, joyful”, says vocalist and former co-owner of Emerald City Trapeze Arts, Kari Kirkland. After eight years in Seattle working as a professional circus artist, she left the dazzle of the Big Top and the death-defying practice behind to take center stage as a full-time musician in Southern California.
Kari’s debut album, Wild is the Wind, arranged and produced by four-time Grammy nominee, Shelly Berg, is a collection of contemporary songs and jazz standards that have more in common than one might notice at first glance. She explains, “The majority of tracks are about unrequited or forbidden love. To me, this kind of love is rooted in pain. It’s easy to access the idea of pain, but more difficult to authentically express it. Shelly encouraged me to really get inside the lyrics of each song, and bring the stories to life”. Kari’s deep admiration of Nancy Wilson, Eva Cassidy, and Julie London are reflected both in her tone and phrasing on the album. Berg’s feelings about his decision to work with Kari speak to the talents of this newcomer to the jazz scene. “Kari’s voice and style are uniquely ‘her,’” he says. “There is a depth of truth and heart in her singing that is very, very compelling. I’m proud and blessed to have done this project with her.”