"Stephanie Nilles, hailing from New Orleans, is possibly the most compelling jazz piano/lounge punk singer since Tom Waits started chain smoking and singing about sailors. With a voice that manically switches from sultry soul to wild yelping, not to mention mad piano skills and a wild performance energy, Nilles has the talent to shuffle past the mediocre label props grinding their teeth on Top 40 radio today. Her sound is refreshing and irreverent, and those willing to give her a chance will find that they can easily latch on to her style without being forced to leave their boxed-in tastes; no matter what you prefer to listen to, you can at least appreciate the sweetly unusual nature of her music. Rolling Stone literally said that she's like 'Ella Fitzgerald on speed beating the shit out of Regina Spektor.' Put that on a poster, you bet I'll buy your record." -AudioSuede
Chicago-born jazz/punk/barrelhouse musician Stephanie Nilles has been doin' Kesey proud one bar at a time since 2008, hustling around the United States, Europe, and Canada (except from 2009-2010 for legal reasons), averaging 150 gigs a year, and captivating unsuspecting listeners with a voice that would make Jelly Roll Morton look orthodox and Ma Rainey look sober.
Having studied piano and cello since the age of six, 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.
She has since sung with Bobby McFerrin in Carnegie Hall, directed the musical program of a Brooklyn burlesque series, covered Busta Rhymes's "Break Ya Neck" in the skeletal remains of a bombed-out cathedral in Nuremberg, been invited to perform official showcases at SXSW and International Folk Alliance, and self-released 4 full-length albums, the most recent of which was picked up by German roots/blues label Tradition und Moderne (Taj Mahal, John Fahey).
When Stephanie's not sleeping in her car, she lives in New Orleans, which might not be the best idea.