New York, New York
Growing up with a jazz musician father, Brianna Thomas was exposed to the recordings of Ella Fitzgerald singing the Great American Songbook at a young age. Besides hearing the jazz legend’s famous improvised scat singing, Thomas quickly fell in love with the way Fitzgerald’s songs told a story. “I’d write down all the lyrics over and over again—they were on these scraps of paper all over my room,” she remembers. That devotion to getting behind the meaning of lyrics has served Thomas well, making her the toast of today’s New York jazz scene.