DALLAS, Dec. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — As a girl, Dallas-based singer Laura Ainsworth watched starry-eyed as her dad, big band sax/clarinet master Billy Ainsworth, accompanied such lounge/jazz idols as Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett and Mel Torme. She dreamed of following in their footsteps, not realizing she was witnessing the end of an era. She never imagined she would one day help bring it back to life, earning worldwide airplay, acclaim from critics and Grammy®-nominated artists, and a concert tour of India and Dubai. Or that it would all start thanks to the 2008 recession.
Ms. Ainsworth explains, “I was performing live and building a local following. Then, suddenly, the bottom dropped out. Many venues that hosted my kind of music closed. I was forced to try something different.”
She decided to shift her focus to recording. She started her own tiny label, Eclectus, and offered her debut album, “Keep It To Yourself”, and her newest, Necessary Evil, on her website, www.lauraainsworth.com, CDBaby.com and iTunes. Both projects drew some of the top jazz musicians in Texas, including her longtime pianist/producer Brian Piper. She also made sure they belie their indie roots with sound quality and packaging comparable to classic Capitol and Verve LPs of the ’50s.
With little promotion, her albums — which she considered “messages in a bottle” – were gradually discovered. First by critics, who swooned over her pitch-perfect, three-octave voice, calling it “sublime,” “satiny” and “impossibly old fashioned.” New York’s prestigious Jazz Inside magazine raved, “You can keep all those pop divas. The only one for me is Laura Ainsworth.” Broadcast and Internet radio also took note of the statuesque redhead whose music is as elegant as her long, satin gloves. She calls her style “nu-vintage” because it recalls the lounge/jazz greats of the 1950s, updated with a cocktail mix of sounds from big band to be-bop to world music.
Fellow artists also fell under her musical spell. Renowned classical pianist Michael Lewin declared her version of “Love For Sale” the “best EVER – and I grew up on Ella!” (Ms. Ainsworth laughs, “That’s sacrilege, but I’ll take it.”) Grammy®-nominated South African flutist Wouter Kellerman hailed Necessary Evil as “timeless” and “a must-have.” Even bestselling crime novelist Paul Bishop tweeted that he was playing that film noir-themed CD while writing his latest murder mystery. Ms. Ainsworth scored three nominations for Artists Music Guild Awards, including two consecutive Best Female Vocalist nods, and performed her new Johnny Mercer tribute, “Last Train to Mercerville,” for a national AMG TV special featuring Billy Gilman, Gloria Gaynor and other stars.
Now, the surprise acclaim for her CDs has landed the torchy Texan her first tour of India and Dubai, starting in January. MTV Europe Music Awards® nominee Oliver Sean said he “fell in love with her rendition of ‘Out Of This World'” (she gives the 1940s standard a sensuous, exotica twist) and signed her to his company, W.O.A. Entertainment Group, for its annual tour of international indie artists and to shoot a music video and concert DVD. While she’s in India, Grammy®-nominated New Age composer/producer Ricky Kej also invited her to record with him and let him remix her songs for clubs.
Ms. Ainsworth is amazed this all started because a recession forced her to try a risky new creative avenue. She says, “It shows that if you really believe in what you’re doing, find any way to keep doing it. Eventually, the world might catch on!”
SOURCE Laura Ainsworth