Chicago-born New Orleans-based pianist, singer, and songwriter Stephanie Nilles is a pint-sized jazz/punk powerhouse consistently on the move.
Having played musical instruments since the time she could walk, she was a finalist at the Young Concert Artists' International Competition, a gold medalist at the Fischoff Competition, and had performed on NPR on three separate occasions by the age of seventeen. At twenty-two, she had graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music with a degree in classical piano performance and temporarily relocated to New York City, where she began writing songs and performed regularly on the East Village anti-folk scene. After releasing her first LP, reDemo, on Sudden Infant Death Hut Records, a label she made up, she abandoned the City So Nice They Named It Twice in order to tour independently, dragging her Roland from bar to bar, cutting her teeth in empty coffee houses and noisy dives, and sleeping in her hatchback.
She has since released two full-length albums on New Orleans-based Attention Spaniel Records (a "record label" in the purest sense), directed the musical program of a monthly burlesque show, covered a substantial amount of the hip hop canon at European music festivals, and sung with Bobby McFerrin in Carnegie Hall. Equally comfortable belting out traditional jazz numbers with a New Orleans brass band at her back and laying it down solo on a joint bill with hardcore punk/thrash bands, her uniquely-crafted self-produced albums and energetic live performances have earned her such colorful descriptions as "Ella Fitzgerald on speed beating the shit out of Regina Spektor," "Tom Waits on helium," and "the granddaughter of Mose Allison and sister of Ani Difranco."