Rebecca Jade is preparing for a performance at the San Diego Music Awards (she has five nominations) and a new album

How busy will Rebecca Jade be when the 2022 San Diego Music Awards take place on April 19 at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay?

Let’s do a quick count.

For memory :

3:39 p.m. April 8, 2022Rebecca Jade’s upcoming album, “A Shade of Jade”, is a solo album. He does not feature his band, The Cold Fact, as the original version of this article erroneously states.

Jade, whose collaborators range from Elton John and Sheila E. to San Diego jazz guitarist Peter Sprague and smooth-jazz saxophone star Dave Koz, is nominated in five categories. Chances are she’ll give more than one acceptance speech at the awards show, which was founded 31 years ago.

A 2002 UC Berkley drama and performance graduate, Jade is nominated for Song of the Year, Best Video, and Best R&B, Funk, or Soul Song — all for her uplifting and uplifting “What’s It Gonna Be.” inspiring. She is also nominated for Best R&B, Funk or Soul Song for her vocal performances on two other recordings: The Sully Band’s “When the Battle Is Over” and “Toes in the Sand,” her collaboration with Jas Miller and Gianni Vancini.

“I’m truly honored to be a part of these other projects that are nominated, and I’m so grateful that my song has received so much love,” said Jade, who came close to having a professional basketball career before turning to the music. full time.

She’ll perform at the San Diego Music Awards with The Sully Band, whose classic R&B champion new album, “Let’s Straighten It Out,” features Jade on her standout songs.

Immediately after the awards show, she will perform with her band, The Cold Fact, at the after-party at the adjacent nightclub Humphreys Backstage Live.

“I’m going to call a few other local artists to sing with us,” said the versatile singer, who has become a mainstay at the San Diego Music Awards.

“The show is a great way for us to come together as a community and for people to be recognized for their music.”

Eager to expand her musical skills, award-winning singer Rebecca Jade learned to play the bass guitar.

(KC Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Several awards won

Last year, Jade shared Song of the Year honors for “Bad Wolves,” a moving anti-racism ode that paired her with Jason Mraz, Veronica May and rapper Miki Vale.

In 2020, Jade was voted Artist of the Year. She won Best Jazz Album in 2018 for ‘Planet Cole Porter’, her joint album with guitarist Sprague, and Best Live Performer (2017) and Best Blues (2015) – both with The Cold Fact.

“I always say to Rebecca, ‘I’m so lucky to be able to play with you because I know you’re going to hit hard!’ said Sprague, whose former collaborators include Al Jarreau, Sonny Rollins and Chick Corea.

“She’s so good, so hardworking and super humble. She reminds me of (famous bassist) Nathan East. He played his cue when we worked together here, and it was such a joy to be with him. Rebecca has those same qualities.

Grammy Award-winning album producer Kamau Kenyatta, a key mentor to Jade and former San Diego singer Gregory Porter, is equally enthusiastic.

“Rebecca is this rare intersection of intellect, talent, consistency and a very good nature,” said saxophonist and keyboardist Kenyatta, professor of music at the University of California, San Diego.

“She and Gregory are both deep thinkers. They are both very attentive to the world around them and very aware of contemporary events. They both have the desire and drive to continually learn new things. And guess what? They were both top college athletes.

The parallels go even further.

Porter attended SDSU on a full football scholarship, but an on-field injury caused him to turn to music.

Jade attended UC Berkeley on a full basketball scholarship and twice tried out for the Los Angeles Sparks team of the National Women’s Basketball Association. An injury related to a car accident led her to turn to music.

Rebecca Jade

Rebecca Jade cites jazz and blues singing legend Billie Holiday as one of her key early inspirations.

(KC Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

“The Next Whitney Houston”

It was almost as if fate had determined that Jade’s future was to sing in clubs and on concert stages, not to compete in gymnasiums and sports arenas.

“In hindsight, I believe so,” she said. “And it’s funny because I’ve always fought to make music a career.”

Jade burst out laughing.

“Well, not always,” clarified the New York native, who moved to San Diego with her parents when she was 8.

“When I was little, I wanted to be the next Whitney Houston. I was a little girl with big dreams. As I got older, it didn’t seem realistic. I was in a girl group, Brown Sugar, when I I was 15, trying to make it, and it didn’t seem to be happening.

“I thought you could only be a big star – or nothing. I didn’t know there was a middle ground where you could live from it. This is where my family and Kamau helped enlighten me. They said to me: ‘You can do it.’ I really ran away from music. I was going to focus on basketball. Then this accident happened and I thought, “Maybe I’ll try music.”

The fact that Jade comes from a singing family surely helped.

Her mother grew up playing in The Green Family Trio, a gospel music group that also included Jade’s uncle and grandfather. Her father often sang at home, where jazz, classical, pop and R&B albums were constantly churning out. Jade, like a musical sponge, greedily absorbed them all.

“When I was 10 or 11, I started really listening to Billie Holiday’s music,” she recalls. “I was young, but old enough to start analyzing his singing. There is something in his voice that attracted me so much.

Growing up, Jade sang in her church choir and in a Christian youth theater group. She was on her school’s basketball, track and field, and swim teams.

“Rebecca doesn’t just try things, she does them with the intention of mastering them,” Kenyatta said. “She has the talent and curiosity that will make her a viable performer for years and years to come.”

In May, Jade will be a special guest artist for saxophonist Koz’s two-week musical cruises in the Netherlands and the British Isles.

In June, she will perform with saxophonist Eric Darius at the San Diego Smooth Jazz Festival at Rady Shell in Jacobs Park. His new solo album, “A Shade of Jade”, will be released in July, followed by a CD release concert.

“I wrote all the lyrics and co-produced them,” said the eclectic singer, who lives in North County with Rico, her husband of 17 years.

In September, Jade will perform at the 35th Annual Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival. In October, she will team up with saxophonist Ilan Trotman for the Barbados Jazz Excursion. Also, this fall, guitarist Sprague hopes to record a new album with Jade that will feature jazzy renditions of songs popularized by Whitney Houston.

“I strongly believe in evolving and improving in every way possible,” said Jade, who in recent years has learned to play electric bass. She now sings and plays in unison at many of her concerts.

“I like to think I’m wearing different hats”, Jade. When I sing with Peter (Sprague), it’s totally different from when I sing with The Sully Band. And those are both different from when I sing with Dave Koz or Eric Darius.

“Then when I do my own thing, I explore who I am. I’m still evolving.

31st Annual San Diego Music Awards

When: 7 p.m. on April 19

Or: Humphreys Concerts by The Bay, 2241 Shelter Island Drive, Shelter Island

Tickets: $40 (general admission); $100 (VIP)

In line: sandiegomusicawards.com

The San Diego Music Awards Present Concerts

What: The San Diego Music Awards will hold a record 10 showcase concerts between tonight and April 16. Each will spotlight different 2022 nominees, and each will benefit from the nonprofit San Diego Music Foundation’s Guitars for Schools program.

Or: Various places in the region

Tickets: Prices vary per show

In line: sandiegomusicawards.com