With legions of fans, Henry has been called a “pop-soul superwoman” by The New York Times
For singer Nicole Henry, the desire to perform is one of her earliest memories. “I remember, after watching episodes of Fame, looking in the mirror and just saying, ‘I want to be onstage,’” she relates with a laugh. Luckily for the stunning chanteuse, the stage clamors for her with equal vigor. Her impressive voice, between contralto and mezzo-soprano, is startling in its power and range; Henry deploys her considerable talent with such finesse, however, that she is capable of both core-rattling belts and the sweetest of melodies. This chimeric quality has earned her legions of fans and even accolades from The New York Times, which called her a “pop-soul superwoman.” Since 2004, Henry has released five albums; her latest, An Evening with Nicole Henry: Music of the 70s, is due out in January. “With this album, the idea was really to open up my repertoire,” Henry says. “I thought the ’70s was perfect because I was raised on music from [then]; my parents played that for me as I was growing up.” This month, December 15, Miami audiences can hear her perform live at a holiday concert at Pinecrest Gardens.
Although Henry was raised in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, it was only when she arrived at the University of Miami that she began to seriously consider singing as her calling. As a member of the university’s gospel choir, she was asked to be a background singer for musician Billy Mann at a show in Miami Beach. “To see that this is his job; this is his career! That was the first time I thought that this was something that I could do.”
Since then, Henry’s career has taken her everywhere from Japan (where she was crowned Best New Jazz Artist of 2004) to Russia (from where she returned just days before our interview). But Miami continues to be home. “I started making a really good living in South Florida, and here I am [more than] 10 years later.” For Henry, nothing beats playing to a hometown crowd either: “People here have seen me grow. To have that kind of support, friendship, and love coming to you onstage is irreplaceable,” she says.
And it’s not just the professional life that she enjoys: “I really love living in Miami Beach. It’s peaceful to come home, breathe in the humidity, and jog on the sand. I just have sun in my veins.”
But Henry has never forgotten her childhood ambitions: “I see myself hopefully becoming more of a household name and expanding my reach into mainstream audiences,” she muses when asked about her future career. “What I love about singing is giving people the opportunity to celebrate feeling. Any time I can encourage somebody to [do that]—whether it’s feeling good or feeling bad—to celebrate feeling is to celebrate being a human, and life.” Nicole Henry Holiday Concert, December 15, at Pinecrest Gardens/Banyan Bowl, 11000 Red Road, Pinecrest, 877-496-8499