@ the Rich Mix
15 November 2014
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Vasandani was born in Chicago and grew up in a household where
all kinds of music was appreciated, from western and Indian classical
to the pop of the day including Michael Jackson and the Beatles.
His parents also listened to jazz ‘from Ellington to Keith
Jarrett’ which piqued Vasandani's curiosity about the music.
At the University of Michigan, in addition to majoring in economics,
he earned degrees in jazz and classical music. He was named Collegiate
Jazz Vocalist of the year by DownBeat in 1999, after which he moved
to New York to pursue a career as a singer.
While he first took a job as an investment banker on Wall Street,
essentially subsidising his passion, Vasandani later quit to devote
himself to music full time, hustling gigs at such venues as Cleopatra's
Needle and later the Zinc Bar. One of his big breaks came when he
had the opportunity to display his talent at the Monk Competition;
another break was being enlisted by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
in 2005 to perform trombonist Ron Westray's ‘Chivalrous Misdemeanors,’
which was jazz inspired by the fictional character Don Quixote,
at Rose Theater.
“There wasn't any one turning point,” says Vasandani,
who was signed to Mack Avenue Records in 2006. “It was a process
with a lot more refining than defining moments.”
As for his home base in New York, Vasandani says it’s the
perfect place for him to be. “I’m connected to a bit
of the jazz scene, but there's also such a cross-pollination of
different kinds of music here. I'm looking forward to expanding
my reach to establish myself and my voice as well as explore all
the different scenes here. There are so many fantastic elements
of New York that I want to put through my own filter.