At its heart, singing is storytelling with structure. It makes sense, then, that Isabel Stover, a vocalist with both a Master's degree in architecture and credits on a national radio storytelling show, would be skilled at choosing stories to tell and at setting them in the right arrangements.
“Elegant.” "An amazing range." "Continually evolving." These are just a few of the ways audiences describe Stover. She uses her richly textured vocals and mastery of phrasing thoughtfully and purposely as a way of delivering an authentic and heartfelt experience, fearlessly deconstructing musical compositions to their emotional core.
A consummate professional, Stover is a skilled entertainer and arranger with an ear for unlocking the full potential of jazz and Brazilian standards and beyond. Her debut album, Her Own Sweet World, went to #1 on the charts in the first week of its release. Stover's forthcoming album, includes standards like "On A Clear Day" and "I Only Have Eyes for You" in fresh new arrangements, alongside original compositions and newer classics like Paul Simon's "American Tune" and Stevie Wonder's "Sweetest Somebody I Know." Her arranging skills are on display throughout her recordings where she draws larger ensembles to widen the scope of her musical adaptation, and in her small-group live shows she's able to use her fellow musicians to their fullest, building a larger sound from a small ensemble.
Stover’s passion for jazz was ignited after landing a spot in the Oakland Jazz Choir, a 30-voice vocal big band in the San Francisco Bay Area, with whom she regularly performed at the venerable Yoshi’s in San Francisco and many West Coast jazz festivals. She began taking classes at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, and from there had the opportunity to study with many acclaimed vocalists and educators such as Laurie Antonioli , Kitty Margolis, Sheila Jordan, and Ledisi. Technique became Stover’s focus and she moved East to Boston where she studied at New England Conservatory and Berklee School of Music.
"We don't always have the tools to express the fullness of our inner selves," Stover says. "Music can bring forth something which is without sound or shape, but is a shared experience; an emotional language which we perceive in melodies, lyrics, rhythms. I hope that my music can transform the human experience through this resonant energy, and bring redeeming beauty to people's lives."
Stover delights in building new structures for songs. As a lover of architecture and history, she recalls one of her favorite performances — in the courtyard at Boston Public Library — where the incredible sonic experience created from the music enveloped in the surrounding buildings elevated their breathtaking beauty. Stover notes that beauty is an essential element of the human experience, leading people toward reflection and refreshment. “It connects people with the truth, with other people and with what is good in the world. It calls out that in us which is most human. It's what our world needs.”
This is what Isabel Stover brings to the world of jazz performance and recording, using skills honed through a lifelong passion for learning and evolving. A wise person once said writing about music is like dancing about architecture. So stop reading this and find Isabel Stover, either live or recorded. Because we all need reflection, reconnection … and beauty.