Changamiré was introduced to jazz when listening to her aunt’s albums at age 13 in Washington, D.C. She was attracted to the singing of Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington, Dakota Staton, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone.
At 18, Changamiré began singing at jam sessions and receiving vocal instruction around the D.C. area. Her brother introduced her to Glenn “HarrMonika Musik” Turner, pianist for Gil Scott Heron. He became her first vocal coach, and their sessions increased her love for music and introduced her to recording. Together they recorded jazz standards and HarrMonika Musik originals. She later studied with the late vocalist Ronnie Wells, founder of the East Coast Jazz Festival (now the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival), and celebrated saxophonist Charlie Hampton of the historic Howard Theatre. Changamiré receives vocal training from mezzo-soprano Kehembe Eichelberger.
In 2001, she released her critically acclaimed debut album, Only Human. She self-funded the project including hiring a 14-piece string section to record at the legendary Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia. The Washington Post named Only Human “…[one of] the most satisfying releases by area artists….” From its success came sold-out performances on notable local and international stages including Blues Alley, Apple, the U.S. Botanic Garden, Harman Center for the Arts, Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, Bohemian Caverns, the Mansion at Strathmore, Arts Club of Washington, WPFW FM, Paul Stuart and the GIFT Festival in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.
"…[one of] the most satisfying releases by area artists…."
Changamiré was a recipient of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ Artist Fellowship in 2005 and received the award again in 2022 and 2023. Her writings and recordings have been picked up by NBC, AllAboutJazz.com and included in independent films. In September 2008, she was selected into a vocal workshop conducted by Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist, Nneena Freelon.
Also overwhelmingly positive are critiques of the artist’s vocals. From fans to fellow musicians and industry publications, reviews often call out her “pristine, untainted, and angelic” voice (Afro News). AllAboutJazz.com, who compares Changamiré to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, writes, “It’s difficult to nail down just what makes her voice so darn compelling. Maybe it’s the comfort and familiarity, maybe the confiding honesty. Whatever the case, it works exceptionally well.”
In 2007, Changamiré hosted the juried International CD Art Competition to find the perfect cover for her sophomore album, Love, that released in 2014. The album contains an eclectic mix of songs on the subject, sung with the artist’s signature sweet, sultry and honeyed sound. Her forthcoming studio album will return to where her journey began, when she records a tribute to Billie Holiday.
Also in 2007, Changamiré formed her world class quintet, culminating the extraordinary group that performs with her today: Count Basie alum, Lincoln Ross, is on trombone and leads as Music Director; the brilliant Clifton Brockington on piano; bluesy BT Richardson on bass; drummer to the stars, Steve Walker; and the incomparable Donvonte McCoy on trumpet.
While Only Human rose to critical acclaim, the vocalist founded Sonnig Records, a label that promotes talented musicians through recordings, music licensing and creative collaborations. She authored and instructed Recording Project 101®, a proprietary, innovative program that taught aspiring recording artists and parents how to navigate the recording process, meeting great success at music schools, high schools, Northern Virginia Community College and U.S. News-ranked Howard University.
"A true professional who understands
it’s called the music
‘BUSINESS’ for a reason."
Kris Ross, Manager, Blues Alley
Changamiré is co-founder of The New Jazz Listener, a weekly show on the Clubhouse app with over 11K members and a mission to convert curious listeners into new jazz fans. Special guests have included T.S. Monk, Ron Carter, Katea Stitt, Aida Brandes-Hargrove, Isaiah Collier, Todd Barkan, Katja von Schuttenbach and Tulani Bridgewater.
Impressed by her moderating style, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts hired Changamiré in 2022 to conduct a live interview with saxophonist Jimmy Greene. Later in 2022, she was selected by the Embassy of Germany to represent the United States in a jazz delegation that toured Berlin, Frankfurt and Darmstadt.
Changamiré is a member of the Rotary Club of Washington, DC, 8x Grammy winner Malik Yusef’s Bad Kids Klass songwriting camp and Washington Performing Arts’ Women’s Committee. In 2020, she was given a United States Artists award, and in 2019, Rotary District 7620 presented her with a Service Above Self award for developing and managing a two-day youth conference for the renown World Press Photo exhibition.
Changamiré is an art, film and fashion enthusiast. She relishes the art of gift giving and entertaining, hosting some of Washington’s most talked-about soirées and offering a refined lifestyle collection.
SONNIG RECORDS ADVISORY BOARD
Mozella Ademiluyi, Mountain Peak Strategies; Michael Akin, LINK Strategic Partners; Myrtis Bedolla, Galerie Myrtis; Jacques Burvick, music producer; Lisa McCurdy, The Wealth Counselor; and HarrMonika Musik, music producer.