Berklee College of Music Advisor
“Forgive me if I don’t have the words. Maybe I can sing it and you’ll understand.” -Ella Fitzgerald
Whether on stage or in the classroom, these are words that vocalist Jamie Shew seeks to achieve – to be able to project personal emotions and experiences through song.
Jamie grew up in the Tri-Cities, a group of towns located in south central Washington State. She began her musical training at the age of four, when she was first introduced to the piano. The desire to sing was very strong for Jamie throughout her childhood; however, she was always needed as an accompanist. It was during her senior year in high school that her choir director gave her the opportunity to sing a Karen Carpenter solo. This was a pivotal moment – she was hooked.
Jamie earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Washington State University and a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance/Jazz Studies at Western Michigan University. As a graduate assistant at WMU, she had the opportunity to study privately with one of her favorite jazz vocalists, Sunny Wilkinson, and perform and record with the renowned vocal jazz ensemble, Gold Company. As a jazz vocalist, Jamie continues to enjoy a dynamic performance career among many internationally recognized jazz musicians such as Larry Koonse, Darek Oles, Royce Campbell, Chuck Manning, Bruce Babad, Joe Jewell, Kendall Kay, Mike Scott, Matt Politano, Michele Weir, Joe Bagg, Steve Cotter, Jason Harnell, Dan Schnelle, and Josh Nelson.
In April 2012, Jamie released her second album, A Place For Me, on the Blujazz label. She is joined by her late husband, bassist Roger Shew, pianist Matt Politano, guitarist Mike Scott, and drummer Kendall Kay. This album highlights Jamie’s arrangements, an original lyric on Royce Campbell’s “This Game,” and the title track original song. Acclaimed jazz journalist, Scott Yanow, wrote the following in his album review, “Jamie Shew has a strong, clear and attractive voice, sounding very comfortable in all registers...In A Place For Me, Jamie Shew shows that she can swing at every tempo, sounds at home interacting with jazz musicians, and is a subtle but creative improviser.” Jamie’s third album was recorded in July 2017 with guitarist Larry Koonse, organist and pianist Joe Bagg, bassist Darek Oles, and drummer Jason Harnell. It is expected to be released in Spring 2018.
In addition to a rich performance career, Jamie is Coordinator of Vocal Jazz Studies at Fullerton College in Fullerton, California, where she teaches two levels of Vocal Jazz Styling and Improvisation courses, Music Theory, History of Rock and Roll, directs two groups in the award-winning vocal jazz ensemble program, and is the vocalist for the Faculty Jazz Cadre high school educational outreach program. She is also an in-demand adjudicator and clinician for jazz festivals throughout the country, has served as the past Vocal Jazz Chair of the Southern California Vocal Association, and has directed the California All-State Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Before coming to Los Angeles in 2003, she was an Assistant Professor of Jazz Voice at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia.