Nicky Schrire is a multitalented and inventive British-South African vocalist and composer based in Toronto, Canada. Her work has seen her likened to vocalists Joni Mitchell, Norma Winstone, and Esperanza Spalding with The Boston Globe’s Jon Garelick noting that “though her approach has earned her comparisons to Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens, the similarities are superficial…she’s got her own thing, and it’s very much worth listening to.”
A graduate of the South African College of Music and New York’s Manhattan School of Music, she studied with Anthea Haupt, Peter Eldridge, Theo Bleckmann, and Dave Liebman. Schrire has performed in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, London, Dublin and South Africa, with musicians including Ben Wendel, Gerald Clayton, Fabian Almazan, Nir Felder, and Taylor Eigsti. She released three critically acclaimed jazz albums-2012's "Freedom Flight", 2013's "Space and Time", and the 2014 EP "To The Spring"-which earned her comparisons to songwriters like Joan Baez and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Her duo album “Space & Time” featured Grammy-nominated pianists Gerald Clayton, Gil Goldstein and Fabian Almazan. The Ottawa Citizen’s Peter Hum described the recording as “fifty minutes of emotionally eventful, richly crafted music”.
Performance highlights include the 2023 Toronto International Jazz Festival and the 2018 Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Schrire has also performed at Jazz at Lincoln Centre for Carnegie Hall’s Ubuntu Festival, London venues including the Royal Festival Hall and Pizza Express Soho, and her original suite arranged for string quartet and voice, ESCAPE: The Ingrid Jonker Suite, was to have its European premiere at the 2022 String Quartet Biennale in Amsterdam (sadly cancelled due to COVID).
Schrire's newest album "Nowhere Girl", was released on 9 June 2023 on Anzic Records. Downbeat called the record "Razor sharp...[hitting] every mark" while All About Jazz noted, "Schrire earns status as a master storyteller...Nowhere Girl is a statement from a singer and writer who has clearly found her place.” Produced by Grammy-nominated producer Oded Lev-Ari, the album features a rhythm section comprising Canadian trio Myriad3 (Ernesto Cervini, Dan Fortin, Chris Donnelly), saxophonist Tara Davidson, guest vocalist Laila Biali, and Mozambican guitarist Julio Sigauque (Freshlyground). The recording was reviewed internationally (Germany's Concerto Magazine, London Jazz News, South Africa's Mail & Guardian, and more), with airplay on CBC Music, NPR, Radio France, ABC Jazz and JazzFM (UK and Toronto).
As a journalist and broadcaster, Schrire was a contributing host and producer for Toronto’s JazzFM.91 station, creating and presenting the weekly segment "This Bright North" from 2021 to 2022. She has been a contributing journalist for LondonJazz News for over a decade, covering the 2014 Berlin Jazz Festival and starting the "Mothers In Jazz" series. Her work as a broadcaster includes presenting "This Bright North" on Toronto's Jazz.FM91 station, hosting "The Jazz Session" podcast from 2021 to 2022, and a contract as Associate Producer at CBC Music/CBC Radio.
Schrire is currently on faculty at the University of Toronto where she teaches Applied Voice in the Jazz Studies Department. She previously lectured in Jazz Studies at the University of Cape Town and spent a year as Acting Head of the Jazz Voice Department. She has taught master classes and clinics in Dublin, New York and South Africa.