Branice McKenzie at Latham Square
Branice McKenzie’s career includes everything from jazz to theater to prolific songwriting. Some of her credits include critically acclaimed performances at the Newport Jazz Festival, The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival and The Umbria Jazz . Festival. On the theatrical stage she has created roles in “Shades Of Harlem”, “Sing Sister Sing” and “Jazz Alley”. She is a recipient of the Meet The Composer grant from New York State and also made her directorial debut with the World Premier of the family musical “Celebrate Kwanzaa” at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Ms. McKenzie is just returning from the Shanghai International Experimental Theatre Arts Festivalas Associate Director with the Tracy Performing Arts Foundation for the play, “At The Playground”, which won a coveted place in the festival.
Her incredible four-octave voice and magnificent song stylings have been hailed throughout the world. She has toured and worked with luminaries such as Harry Belafonte, Gregory Hines, Roberta Flack, Hugh Masekela, Ledisi, Carly Simon, BeBe Winans, Dianne Reeves, Peggy Lee, Miriam Makeba and Iyanla Vanzant performing all over the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia. Ms. McKenzie was invited to perform at Moscow’s premier Jazz club, Le Club and with
Jazz Symphonic Strings at the historic Tchaikovsky Hall. And to that list add a Royal Command performance in Morocco as well as completing a second successful run as an original cast member of the critically acclaimed “I Can’t Stop Loving You – the Music of Ray Charles” in Lyons, France. Branice was the director for the Youth Chorale in the West Coast premier of INDABA written by and performed with Sweet Honey In The Rock.
Recently Branice was invited to co-host the premier event, Oprah Celebrates Susan Taylor – 37 Years at Essence magazine.
Also she was a guest artist as comedienne, actor, storyteller, vocalist and composer at the Smithsonian’s 43rd Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. Her numerous recordings include Hugh Masekela’s “Uptownship” singing the heralded single, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”, Grammy- nominated “Loves Drum Passion”. As a composer, Branice McKenzie’s recordings represent her magnificent artistic vista and are consistently sought after by artists. Branice McKenzie recordings include self-titled Jazz CD, Branice McKenzie, that includes Sing Sister Sing which has become an anthem for women everywhere. Music Is CD is inspirational compositions. And Ms. McKenzie’s CD, I Am Me : Melodies, Lyrics & Lessons for Children, was released to rave reviews from children of all ages! And most recently, Branice has released her brand new CD, I Fly, which is “flying” into the hearts of all who partake. The reviews are coming in that it is transformative,
inspiring and life-changing. Branice is a featured teacher in the just released book, Organic Creativity In The Classroom: Teaching to Intuition in Academics and the Arts (Jane Piirto, 2014)..
Branice McKenzie is Founding Minister of Music at Heart And Soul Center of Light in Oakland, CA and is also an Artist-In-Residence at Oakland School For The Arts which carries the honor of California Distinguished School. Ms. McKenzie holds a B.A. in Psychology, Brown University and an M.A. in Music Education, New York University.