By Peter Cronin
Lindsay George Finds Her Place
For all of the different styles of music that emanate from Nashville, the Tennessee capital has never been known as a jazz center. Thankfully, nobody thought to alert Lindsay George to that fact. For this 20-year-old newcomer singing jazz has always seemed like the most natural thing in the world. That's one of the many reasons Living Inside Out, her arresting debut album, is one of the most refreshing releases - jazz or otherwise - to emerge from Music City in quite some time.
"I always loved singing, and I got serious about learning how to sing the right way when I was ten," George says. "I got into this play where there was singing involved. We were doing several shows a week, and I realized I wanted to do this right because I didn't ever want to have to stop singing."
As with every other aspect of her fledgling career, George had to figure it out for herself. The child of two medical professionals, she grew up in a non-musical household, pulling songs from the radio and out of the air and "performing" to the accompaniment of a portable keyboard in her bedroom. Her first voice teacher started the precocious 10-year-old on classical technique, but by her freshman year in high school George was studying at the Nashville Jazz Workshop.
"Jazz was way more interesting to me than anything else I was doing," she says. "So I scheduled my first jazz gig, just me and a guitar player. After that show my mom came up to me and said, 'What just happened?'"
Like everyone who first encounters George's buoyant, playful vocals and experiences the beyond-her-years poise and confidence she naturally displays onstage, the singer's mom knew she was witnessing something very special. She immediately reached out to a friend in the music business, who introduced George to acclaimed guitarist Denny Jiosa, a four-time Grammy nominee and fellow SESAC affiliate.
The youngster and the seasoned pro embarked on a year-long collaboration that yielded half of her debut album's 10 songs. Jiosa also co-produced and played on Living Inside Out.
"I'm extremely pleased with the album," George says. "Jazz is so open to individualism and creativity. That's what makes it jazz. You just have to find your own spot."