An award-winning jazz vocalist, Ella Fitzgerald is known as the “First Lady of Song.” She recorded about 70 CDs during her career, and though she died in 1996, Fitzgerald’s voice still resonates with today’s listeners.
One person who has been affected by her music is USC Aiken teacher Lauren Meccia.
“Meccia has spent much time listening to and studying the vocal styles of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Bobby McFerrin, Kurt Elling and Eva Cassidy,” according to a release.
Meccia’s voice has been compared to Cassidy and Fitzgerald.
“I try to capture my favorite qualities about each of their singing styles,” Meccia said in a release.
On Sept. 25, this singer will release her debut vocal CD “Inside Your Eyes.”
“This is a project I’d had in mind for a while,” Meccia said.
Featured on the 12-track disc are pianist Donald Vega, percussionist Brian Czach and bassist Mike Frost.
“The musicians on the recording were a source of support and inspiration to me leading up to and during our recording session in Aiken earlier this year,” Meccia said.
Vega was classically taught in his home of Nicaragua and has studied at institutions like The World Stage and the Manhattan School of Music.
He co-wrote some of the songs on Meccia’s CD, including Meccia’s favorite number – the title song “Inside Your Eyes.”
“Donald composed most of the music very quickly one evening and sent it to me,” Meccia said. “I loved it immediately and started working on the lyrics. The melody is beautiful, and the groove is cool yet infectious.”
Based out of Las Vegas, Czach is a “drummer, percussionist, music director, educator, clinician, arranger and composer,” according to his website.
“Throughout (the CD), Frost provides the backbone on his custom Clifford Roi basses with Czach on percussion,” according to a release.
Frost is originally from New York, and teaches with Meccia at USCA and plays with her in the Mike Frost Band.
Frost’s Spirit Studio company recorded Meccia’s CD.
“Meccia’s voice remained a well-kept secret for some time after she joined the Mike Frost Band. Once Frost heard her sing, however, her vocal talent became an integral part of their performances,” according to a release.
“Lauren was playing saxophone in my band. Someone made a request for the song ‘Bye Bye Blackbird,’ and Lauren said she could sing it. As soon as I heard her, I knew we had something special. I was blown away,” Frost said in a release. “I started to change all the band’s instrumental arrangements to feature her voice at that point.”
Frost put together “Atlantis,” the only instrumental number on Meccia’s CD.
“(The track) features a sampling of Mecca’s brilliance on saxophone and highlights Vega’s piano mastery,” according to a release.
Also playing on the CD are percussionists John Micheli and Edwin Hamilton, drummer Jeremy Roberson, violinist Sarah Land and cellist Ryan Knott.
Meccia has performed with acts like the Temptations, Jesse Colin Young, Minot Symphony Orchestra and the World Saxophone Congress XVII. She holds a master’s degree in music in saxophone performance from USC, and teaches saxophone at USCA. She also directs the USCA Jazz Band, the CSRA New Horizons Band at USCA and the Congaree New Horizons Band at USC.
Her skills have been exhibited on several other CDs like “Frosty Christmas” and “Putting It All Together.”
Stephanie Turner graduated from Valdosta State University in 2012. She then signed on with the Aiken Standard, where she is now the arts and entertainment reporter.
Submitted Photo Lauren Meccia, a USC Aiken music instructor, is releasing her first vocal CD "Inside Your Eyes."×
Submitted Photo by Heather Sargent Lauren Meccia is a music educator and local performer who will soon release her first vocal CD.×
Submitted Photo by Plus Me Photography/Justin and Katie Long Mike Frost is a musician whose Aiken-located Spirit Studio produced Lauren Meccia’s new CD “Inside Your Eyes.”×
Submitted Photo by Beti Niemeyer Donald Vega, a pianist based out of New York, collaborated with local musicians Lauren Meccia and Mike Frost on Meccia’s upcoming CD “Inside Your Eyes.”×