By the time she blew out the candles for her recent 25th birthday, Lucy Wijnands had toured the Netherlands, Japan, and Israel, completed a 16-week residency singing with the world-famous Birdland Big Band, became a regular at Manhattan’s Mezzrow and other jazz clubs, won the prestigious Ella Fitzgerald competition, and picked up a degree in jazz studies from SUNY Purchase’s Conservatory of Music, graduating as an Ella Fitzgerald Scholar and President’s Award recipient.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Lucy was surrounded by all kinds of music. Her mother, Lisa Smith, is an art historian and self-proclaimed “defender of the groove,” who brought the funk, soul, and rock. Stereo blasting, hard dancing and loud singing was big in their house. Lucy grew up in an environment where love, liberation, and celebration of the individual was the norm.
Her father, Bram Wijnands, is one the few living masters of stride piano. He took Lucy to gigs even as a toddler where she learned to swing seated on his knee while his hands moved up and down the keyboard. Soon enough she was not just the cute kid, but the precocious young singer, soaking up wisdom from Kansas City’s countless resident and visiting jazz masters. While she was bonding with her dad, she was also nurturing a maturity of voice and poise that defied her age.
As a “COVID Grad,” Lucy stepped out of the constant motion of college life and into the absolute stillness of the pandemic. What could have been a debilitating hurdle for anyone trying to build a career as an artist became a crucible of creativity, ultimately resulting in Lucy’s first release under her own name: Something Awaits. The title is not only apropos of the intense incubation of ideas wrought by the lockdown, but it also speaks to the convergence of lifelong influences that paved the way before the destination itself was known.
"Lucy has it — something not easy to define in words, but the innate ability to marry notes and words to convey emotion with a down-to-earth authenticity."