“Unknown” Soloist With Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir At Presidential Inauguration Is Not So Unknown After All

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Singer Alicia Olatuja wowed everyone at last week's presidential inauguration with her solo during the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir's performance of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." She's already earned raves from the New York Daily News and on The View...even if host Elizabeth Hasselbeck didn't know her name. With the Choir's single just released on iTunes, and a single about to be released on March 5 from Olatuja's own forthcoming CD, that 'unknown' status is about to change.

Alicia Olatuja

"Brooklyn gives birth to new musical star, singer Alicia Olatuja, at inauguration."
- The New York Daily News

Singer Alicia Olatuja’s Mix of Jazz, Classical, Gospel and Pop Brings National Attention to
Critically Acclaimed Rising Star Vocalist

While last week’s Presidential Inauguration ceremonies may have featured such A-list talent as Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys, it’s the voice of a classically trained mezzo-soprano who has drawn the most critical acclaim. On the edition of The View that aired the day after the inauguration, co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck raved about Alicia Olatuja’s “breathtaking” voice...even though she admitted she didn’t know the singer’s name. If the attention that’s been paid to Alicia in the past five days is any indication of things to come, however, it won’t be long before her name has much more of a familiar ring to it.

In fact, the 30-year old Alicia Olatuja’s reputation has been growing since her arrival in New York in 2005. Last year, the New York Times praised her performance with her husband, bassist Michael Olatuja, in their band The Olatuja Project, lauding her “strong, lustrous tone.”

Although Alicia’s solo ran for only one minute of the Choir’s nearly five minute long performance, it has already resulted in an appearance on WNBC New York’s The Debrief with David Ushery, and a feature in the New York Daily News, which began by stating, “Brooklyn gave birth to a new musical star at Monday’s inauguration.”

Originally from St. Louis Missouri, Alicia Olatuja is a Vocal Performance graduate of the Manhattan School of Music Masters program. She made her recital debut at Carnegie Hall and her professional debut as Sacagawea in the World Premiere operetta Corps of Discovery at the Opera Memphis and has also performed selected scenes at Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center. In 2011, Alicia performed as Sophie in the world premier of the dramatic work by Tony-nominated composer Elizabeth Swados, "From the Fire," both in New York and when the play was presented at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh Scotland, and has just been invited to perform the role again in the BAM workshop performance of the piece this spring.

Although musical theater and opera are two of Alicia’s passions, she also performs in a variety of other genres. She has sung with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir since 2007, often performs as a soloist with the Juilliard Jazz ensemble, and sung with various recording artists such as Christian McBride, Chaka Khan and Bebe Winans. Alicia also regularly performs in various venues nationally and internationally with her husband in their African Jazz band, the Olatuja Project, where Alicia sings in various African dialects such as Yoruba and Shona. They recently released their debut album, The Promise.

“The Battle Hymn of the Republic” by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir was released on January 15 as a single on iTunes, in advance of the April release of Love Lead the Way, the Choir’s 27th album. In addition, Alicia has been in the studio working on her upcoming solo album, on which she will be joined by such acclaimed jazz artists 3-time Grammy©-Award winner Christian McBride and husband Michael Olatuja (both on bass), Jon Cowherd and two-time Grammy ©-nominee Christian Sands (both on piano), Grégoire Maret on harmonica, Ulysses Owens, Jr., on drums and David Rosenthal on guitar. The CD, titled Timeless, is slated for release in June of this year, with a single, “Stay Gold”, to be released on iTunes on March 5 .

Alicia Olatuja is also a voice teacher, a vocal producer, and teaching artist for the Brooklyn Arts Council.

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