"An Australian jazz singer ready to command a world stage.”
Sydney Morning Herald
“I have loved Michelle Nicolle’s singing perpetually and without ceasing since first I heard her. Michelle is a singer born to sing, born to charm, enlighten and seduce through music. I only wish she lived in the States somewhere so I could manage to hear her more often.”
Kurt Elling, April 2012
Australian Jazz Awards (Bells) winner 2017 (Jazz Vocal Album of the Year), Mo Award 2001, 2003 & 2004 (Australian Entertainment Ind), National Jazz Award (1998) winner and A.R.I.A Finalist 2001, 2004 (Australian Recording Industry), Michelle Nicolle is a jazz musician whose chosen instrument is voice.
Michelle curated the jazz components of the Women in Music Festival, presenting unsung women composers in Jazz through a collection of Jazz Standards that you never knew were written by women. Michelle and her band performed live in Storey Hall.
Known for her ability to get right to the heart of a song as well as being an in the moment improviser, Michelle has continually developed and nurtured her art form with the help of her quartet. As well as releasing 8 CDs, the MNQuartet has toured extensively throughout Australia and internationally. Highlights include South Korea, Finland, and Czech Republic, Asia Pacific Festival (Russia), Tokyo Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival (The Netherlands), New Zealand, Turkey, Estonia, Indonesia and Singapore.
Michelle has performed concerts and workshops in London (2016), the JEN Conference, New Orleans, Miami University and JazzVox in Seattle, USA (2017).
Arranger, band leader and award-winning jazz vocalist Michelle Nicolle started her musical career when she began violin lessons at the age of eight, in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. Now based in Melbourne, she is celebrated as Australia’s finest jazz singer. Leading her band with a quiet dignity, Nicolle’s apparent ease with difficult and varied improvisation brings to mind the skills of singers like Betty Carter, Mel Torme or Ella Fitzgerald. But she sounds like none of those singers. Michelle Nicolle is a jazz singer in the true jazz tradition: a creative and masterful improviser with the technique to match any instrumentalist.
As a country girl, Michelle grew up listening to pop music and old movie tunes, playing in the Barossa Valley Schools Orchestra, and teaching herself to play the Angaston Town Hall’s grand piano, all whilst her father polished the Town Hall dance floor. Throughout high school, music continued to dominate. She moved up the ranks of the Orchestra, kept ‘nutting out’ pop tunes on the piano (Prince & Duran Duran!!), blew 3rd cornet in a local marching band and sang in every choir on offer.
In 1985 Michelle was accepted into the Adelaide University as a violinist. Surprisingly, Michelle says she didn’t develop an interest in jazz until 1986 when she started singing with the university Adelaide Connection Jazz Choir. Hearing for the first time about Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Chet Baker, Michelle soon immersed herself in their music, deciding that this was the music that her heart wanted to follow. In 1987 she swapped her major to “Jazz Voice”.
She began transcribing the music of great horn players Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie: learning the language of improvisation through chord changes. When she completed her teaching degree, Michelle went on to study for her Associate Diploma of Jazz, where she “got into be-bop in a big way!” These two years, Michelle says, were the most important of her musical life as they laid the foundations for her wanting to make a career in playing jazz.
Several musical ventures, including the 5-piece vocal group Vo-Cool and her own quintet, followed. In 1995 Michelle moved to Melbourne.
At the 1998 Wangaratta International Jazz Festival Michelle won the prestigious National Jazz Award. Judges included the legendary be-bop singer Sheila Jordon (USA), Laurence Hopgood and Kurt Elling (USA).
Apart from her long-standing quartet, Michelle has held an 11 year residency at Melbourne’s The Brunswick Green, where she and various musical friends play audience requests. Her other projects include What Reason Trio (with guitarist Stephen Magnusson) and MN Fretet (featuring four guitarists), as well as working as a free-lance vocalist for recording session work.
Michelle Nicolle holds a Bachelor of Education, an Associate Diploma of Jazz (University of Adelaide) and currently teaches at University of Melbourne (VCA), VCASS (Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School), and Monash University.
from Michelle's website