Barbra Lica is a fast-rising star in the Canadian Jazz scene and has been receiving accolades for a unique vocal ability that stresses subtlety and grace. Based in Toronto, Canada, Barbra’s live show captivates audiences all over North America with her genuine warmth and confident stage presence.
A deep passion for jazz and the music of classic American vocalists like Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, and Betty Hutton led Barbra to pursue a Bachelor of Music specializing in Jazz Voice Performance at the University of Toronto, where she simultaneously studied Human Biology. She laughingly recalls, “I’d be doing my jazz combo rehearsals in my lab coat then running down to the sciences building!” She honed her performance chops on
historic Toronto stages such as The Rex Hotel and The Old Mill with the likes of the John MacLeod Big Band and the Dave Young Sextet. In 2013, Barbra was runner-up in the prestigious Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition in New York City.
Now a seasoned live act on the Canadian club and festival circuit, Barbra consistently performs at venues from intimate spaces to prestigious auditoriums, such as Toronto’s Jazz Bistro and Koerner Hall. Most recently, she has been billed as an opening act for such acts as Christian McBride, Pat Metheny, and Terence Blanchard.
As a songwriter, she remains resolutely upbeat and optimistic, concentrating on the minutiae of day-to-day life: “I keep my personal life drama-free,” she explains. “I read my sci-fi novels and manga, build puzzles, and get up at 6 a.m. to train for my next marathon.” Her personality comes through in her singing, delivering jazz pop songs and heart-wrenching ballads with an equal measure of positivity and genuine emotion. “I know life can be hard and stressful,” she explains, “but I feel art exists so beauty can exist.” These are songs from the perspective of the 21st Century woman, addressing themes of love and the complicated realities of modern relationships in a way that is uplifting and authentic.
Her debut album That’s What I Do (Triplet / Universal Jazz Japan) was released to widespread acclaim in 2012, ranking her in Canada’s Top 5 Jazz singers on the CBC, as well Top 5 up-and-coming Toronto jazz artists on blogTO. Her newest album, Love Songs (Do Right! Music Japan), a collaborative effort with noted producer/guitarist/songwriter James Bryan (Prozzak, Nelly Furtado, Olly Murs) made its Japanese debut live at Tokyo International Jazz Festival on September 5th in front of over 1000 audience members at the Tokyo International Forum. It’s easy to hear that Barbra smiles when she sings. Her versatility as a performer continues to grow
along with her fanbase. “Lica smiles when she sings. You can hear it. When you see her in concert you’ll see it too”, says Tim Tamashiro (CBC).