Anna Laura Quinn feels the sudden urge to sing


Photo by Milena Martinovic

Anna Laura Quinn performs with her band on Feb. 26 at the “She Comes In Peace” store and performance space.

Milena Martinovic and Dylan Mininger, Reporter and Entertainment Editor

Brazilian Bossa Nova. French Jazz. Dixieland. Anna Laura Quinn is a first year MFA student in jazz vocal performance at UNO who not only uses a range of vocals but sings fluently in three languages and multiple styles. Driftwood sat with her at the “Return of the Goddesses” event where she performed on Feb. 26 at a uniquely neon warehouse space in the back of the “She Comes In Peace” salon and storefront in the Bywater.

Quinn’s motto is to sing joyfully, even when struck with deep emotion. Her thorough, internationally diverse curiosity greatly influences her love for music where she blends cultural styles. For example, on her debut EP “I Feel the Sudden Urge to Sing!” she writes her own lyrics for a cover of her favorite Disney song from the “Beauty and the Beast,” reinterpreting it in a bossa nova style in Portuguese.

Quinn still does not have a stable band, preferring to experiment with classmates and local musicians of different musical backgrounds that support variable styles of her musical sensibility. She likes to keep the band minimal, playing with just the bass and the guitar, but for this album she chose to have a violinist and an accordion as well. “The search for what we’re all longing for” is the driving message of her EP.

Quinn grew up in San Francisco, obtaining an all-French education before studying fine arts at NYU. She moved to New Orleans eight years ago, which opened up her artistic palette. She became drawn to the culture of Brazil after moving here, and as a result, lived on the farm in the mountains, becoming fluent in Portuguese. The music of Brazil became her lifeline with the country and its culture. Interestingly, Kurt Vile is one of her influence on one of the tracks on EP. She always loved singing, but never thought she would pursue it seriously until she decided to commit to an MFA program here. She finds the discipline and the workload necessary not only in order to conquer the swing of jazz performance but also the exposure to working with other musicians she otherwise would not have. “I really believe it would take me a lot longer to develop the skills than if I was trying to acquire them on my own,” said Quinn.

Her latest project, “She Comes In Peace,” contains a large mixture of cultural stylings, but keeps a consistent sound that is reminiscent of the Tin Pan Alley era of music as well as the crooner style. In a timeless sound, her harmonies and bare-bones instrumental backing build a fullbodied layer of sound while keeping the simplistic stylings used to elevate the vocals. The album stands out from many modern female vocalist projects because of the natural layers within her voice that radiate above the instruments and provide an often sweet melody that listeners can feel dancing on their eardrums.

Quinn and her band are opening the season of Jazz at the Sandbar under the direction of Prof. Brian Seeger and the great New Orleans drummer Shannon Powell at the Cove on this Wednesday March 13 at 7 p.m. She is also having her EP release show at the Mudlark Public Theater on Saturday March 16 at 8 p.m.