Daniella Pruitt (MM ’23) is a first year master’s student from Chicago studying jazz voice in the MSM Jazz Arts program. She tells us about performing at Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center earlier this month, what she values about being at MSM, and more!
“I feel that MSM, through bringing together different people to learn and grow as jazz musicians, is helping me to fulfill the mission of creating a better world through music,” she says.
Tell us about yourself!
Daniella: I’m from the south side of Chicago, born and raised, and I’m the oldest of six. I am a singer, songwriter, poet, educator, and writer. I did my undergrad at the Oberlin Conservatory and was the first person to graduate there with a degree in Jazz Voice.
What are some performances this semester you’re looking forward to?
Daniella: One show I was excited for this semester just took place, performing at Dizzy’s with the MSM Jazz Orchestra. I had really been looking forward to it because it’s such a well-known jazz club. I got the chance to see a performance there a few years ago when I first visited New York, so it was really a full circle moment to be back in New York after working further on my craft, and getting the chance to sing on that stage.
For this semester, I’m looking forward to the Jazz Department’s ComboFest. I had the opportunity to be a part of it last semester, and it’s a great way of showcasing all the different kinds of ensembles and types of music in the department. It’s a chance to see your colleagues shine in different ways that you don’t necessarily get to see in the classroom, and to see how everyone is learning and growing at MSM.
“I appreciate the fact that we’re all in New York because it provides a great platform for us to grow and excel as artists.”
What are some side projects that you’re working on?
Daniella: In 2020 I had the chance to work on an opera that has been in the works for the last 3 years. It’s interesting because I studied classical voice before switching to jazz voice during undergrad. This show, called Force! An opera in three acts, explores the journey of black women and femmes as they sit in a waiting room to visit loved ones in prison.
Throughout the process, what I loved about the show was how it encouraged the performers to express the feelings of our characters without adhering to a particular style. Due to the pandemic, the timetable has constantly shifted but I am proud to announce that a short film entitled Cadenza is accessible to watch now. The film showcases moments of the creation of this show from rehearsals to thoughts that influenced the piece. You can find it on OTV, a nonprofit platform for intersectional TV.
What do you like best about being a part of the MSM Community?
Daniella: I appreciate that there are people from all around the world here. It’s really cool to have classmates for whom English isn’t their first language, and we can all come together through the language of music. This ties into something that was instilled in me from a young age, when I was a part of the Chicago Children’s Choir. Their mission is to bring people from diverse backgrounds together and to create a better world through the power of music. I feel that MSM, through bringing together different people to learn and grow as jazz musicians, is helping me to fulfill that mission of creating a better world through music. I appreciate the fact that we’re all in New York because it provides a great platform for us to grow and excel as artists.