Singer-songwriter, Orice Jenkins' first love was Hip-Hop. His second love was Jazz. He identifies with soul music above all, but studies classical music. When he allows himself to make music without restrictions, the result strikes a chord in the hearts of all kinds of people and enables him to be on stage with musicians such as Stanley Jordan, Jane Monheit, Eddie Henderson, and Doug Wimbish, while earning comparisons to vocalists ranging from Gil Scott-Heron and Curtis Mayfield to Al Jarreau and Johnny Hartman. His debut recording was an EP of his first original songs entitled "Around the Piano" - recorded six years after most of its songs were written. Now in his early 20's, Orice's new album-in-progress, "Soar", branches out to neo-soul interpretations of jazz classics, jazz arrangements of songs written by public figures extending from James Weldon Johnson to Drake and Kanye West, and traditional covers of Stevie Wonder tunes and Great American Songbook masterpieces.
Orice was born into a culturally diverse community in the city of Hartford, Connecticut. He credits growing up in a Black Catholic church as the source of his love for unorthodox arrangements. His vast amount of influences, including Jamie Cullum, Alicia Keys, and Harry Connick, Jr., were inspired by the greats such as Nat "King" Cole, Nina Simone, and Donny Hathaway; all artists that have achieved "pop" music success despite coming from a jazz or classical background. Most of Orice's inspirations are also exceptionally gifted at something other than singing and songwriting such as arranging, playing instruments, producing, and conducting. Orice has studied all of these crafts with educators like David Macbride, Larry Alan Smith, Nat Reeves, Ken Steen, Andy LaVerne and more at the prestigious Hartt School, alma mater to Steve Davis, Dionne Warwick, and Javier Colon. He has also studied voice with Shawnn Monteiro, Kevin Mahogany, Sheila Jordan, and other respected jazz vocalists.
Orice's music has been a hometown favorite in venues such as Bushnell Theater, the Connecticut Convention Center, Bushnell Park, the Mark Twain House, and Black Eyed Sally's. He has also been welcomed to sing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and the legendary Birdland Jazz Club, both in New York. The versatile musician worked for five years as a pianist for Goodspeed Opera House and currently has an ongoing engagement at Foxwoods Casino as the keyboard player and musical director for R&B veteran, Kenny Hamber. In addition to being a student, sideman, recording artist, and bandleader; Orice teaches at Charter Oak Cultural Center, Rawson Elementary School, Covenant Preparatory School and substitutes at Artists Collective. He loves all of his work, but feels most passionate about singing his arrangements from his upcoming album. The project will be released in the Spring of 2015 and will feature Orice's normal band (two trombones, Fender Rhodes, guitar, bass, and drums), along with guest vocalists and rappers that have been close to Orice during his seven years of music making. It will take you through various styles of African-American music including Afro-Cuban, Swing, Soul, Hip-Hop, Cool Jazz, Hard Bop and Go-Go. The world might not be ready for a "jazz singer-songwriter" quite like this, but Orice Jenkins doesn't care, and he's ready to Soar!