© Audrey Shimkas 2004
The song is Audrey. Anyone who has ever watched Audrey perform responds to her openness and confidence as a vocal artist. Audiences respond not only to the exquisite beauty of her voice (clear, resonant, warm, strong, blended), but to its range of emotion and authenticity in delivery as well. When you listen to Audrey interpret a song—whether she paints a ballad story or kicks an uptempo variation; laments the blues or grooves a Bossa Nova; lays down a swing standard or embraces a soul oldie —the experience is always unique and satisfying.
Audrey is a singer’s singer. She takes risks and leaves you satisfied. She surprises and thrills with notes that push a melody to new heights. She turns and coaxes a lyric until it becomes a reflection of your own experience. She shapes and colors phrasing and rhythm until the music she hears reappears like a Picasso interpretation of a familiar tune.
Long before Audrey thought about being a vocal artist, she recalls being mesmerized by June Christy in a live concert performance. That experience remained like a cameo, locked in her imagination, until music began to play a more serious part of her life. Although she grew up playing classical piano, Audrey embraced the folk-rock generation of Dylan and the Beatles. She also studied dance (ballet and jazz) and acting (ACT, Actor’s Workshop, etc.) and spent several years on stage in New York and in San Francisco.
Bay Area vocal training taught Audrey how to blend her clear, strong, voice with her higher register, thus providing her with the chops to express a full range of musical ideas—and ultimately, the freedom for jazz interpretation.
Audrey embraces many different styles, singers and songwriters, but the vocal artists that have had a lasting influence on her are Mark Murphy and Madeline Eastman.
Though she is a late bloomer, in this writer’s opinion, Audrey will grow into one of the Bay Areas most celebrated vocalists.