Born in Guildford, UK, Anita moved to Australia with her family as a child. Enraptured by movie musicals on TV, she soaked up the Rodgers and Hammerstein and Cole Porter classics. She also explored her father's collection of big band albums by Duke Ellington, Count Basie and many more. During her teens, she started to get to grips with the complexities of modern Jazz when she discovered Clifford Brown, Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. At the same time she learned her vocal craft from greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Mark Murphy, Carmen McRae, Betty Carter, Jon Hendricks and Eddie Jefferson.
Anita’s recording career began in 1995 with her CD, Why do you Cry? Featuring pianist Liam Noble. Vocal bebop pioneer Mark Murphy proclaimed Anita, "a gift from Australia", adding "what hits me is how expressive her ballad singing is. Then she has the courage to scat a ballad or two, not unlike a young lady disciple of the Ben Webster school." Singer Norma Winstone praised her "unexpected vulnerability, which makes her reading of the ballads both beautiful and touching. Her honesty shines in this well-chosen collection of songs.
In 1998 she released Straight Ahead with international star pianist Jason Rebello. Japan’s most popular jazz publication, Swing Journal, gave its endorsement, writing, "she's the real thing who can fluently scat and vocalese!" Her longstanding musical relationship with pianist Robin Aspland started with the release of “Until the stars fade” in 2001 also featuring the exciting US drummer Gene Calderazzo and Jeremy Brown on bass. At this point Jazzwise Magazine called her "energetic and inventive" while The Guardian proclaimed her "a model of the Jazz singer's art, highlighting her clarity, improvisational skills and emotional resonance. In 2004 she teamed up with Tenor Saxophonist Benn Clatworthy and recorded If You Never Come to Me. The recent signing to Specific Jazz (a division of Proper Records) and the winning of the prestigious BBC Jazz Award for Best of Jazz 2006 are now propelling Anita into the major artist arena. Noted, her first release for the new label (released in July 2006), is a collection of well known material from the Blue Note era to which Anita has penned many of her own lyrics. It received much radio play and 4 and 5 star reviews from UK and European jazz publications". 2008 sees the release of her new album “Kinda Blue” featuring Robin Aspland - Piano, Jeremy Brown - Bass, Steve Brown - Drums, Tristan Mailliot - Drums and special guests. This year Anita will be touring extensively throughout the UK and worldwide.
Online at http://www.anitawardell.com/