Australian singer Natalie Dietz expands jazz horizons in Boston

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Katja Liebing

Hometown: Boston by way of Sydney, Australia. "I'm here completing a Master of Jazz Voice Performance at New England Conservatory, which is a fantastic school," Dietz said, via phone "It's known worldwide being a leading school for jazz music study. That was what drew me here, to come and study and to experience jazz music in the country that it was created in."

Age: 29

Think of: "You could think of me as jazz music meets contemporary. I have a great respect for the jazz music idiom, but choose to combine it with contemporary influences to experiment with the possibilities as a singer and as a modern jazz composer in today's world."


What caught our eye: On Feb. 4, Dietz was the only Boston-area musician to take home a 2016 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award, presented by the ASCAP Foundation.

Light-bulb moment: "My love for the artform, it continues to grow throughout my life, but probably my light-bulb moment would be seeing great live music, such as seeing Wayne Shorter at Sydney Opera House in 2012. That was definitely a light-bulb moment and inspired me to continue on this journey, which is so unpredictable."

Biggest thrill: Dietz can't pinpoint just one, but acknowledges that winning the ASCAP award, recording an EP, performing in New York City alongside local musicians, and getting out to see her favorite artists live are all thrills for her.

Inspired by: "I may be listening to modern jazz music such as Eric Harland, Donny McCaslin, or Jason Moran one minute, and R&B or hip-hop the next," Dietz said of her influences. "I enjoy classical music and I often go to Boston's wonderful BSO concerts. Also, as I get older, I'm going back and listening to more traditional jazz recordings to make sure I'm always learning the history of the music, because I think that's really important as a jazz musician."


Aspires to: "I aspire to keep creating music and to experiment with the possibilities of what a jazz singer is capable of in today's music world. My main goal is to create music that has no ego and comes from the heart."

For good luck: I try to be as prepared as possible for shows. There's no such thing as really winging it when it comes to giving a great performance and you're the band leader. But otherwise, I have a routine of drinking mint tea to relax before you start a performance.

What people should know: Dietz's self-titled debut EP is available on CD Baby and iTunes.

Coming soon: Dietz will both finish her master's program and release a full-length EP later this year. "My next step is to get this record out and to perform around Boston and New York. In terms of where I'll be, I'll either be in Boston or New York," Dietz said. "It's not confirmed yet, but I love Boston though, so I've just got to decide."

Links: www.nataliedietz.com

Emily Wright

Emily Wright can be reached at emily.rose.sophia@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @missemilywright