Barbra Lica is a fast-rising star in the Canadian Jazz scene and has been receiving accolades for her unique vocal ability that stresses subtlety and grace. Her live shows have captivated audiences all over North America with her genuine warmth and confident stage presence.
A deep passion for jazz and the music of classic American vocalists like Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole and Betty Hutton led Barbra to pursue a Bachelor of Music specializing in Jazz Voice Performance at the University of Toronto, where she simultaneously studied Human Biology. She laughingly recalls, “I’d be doing my jazz combo rehearsals in my lab coat then running down to the sciences building!” She honed her performance chops on historic Toronto stages such as The Rex Hotel and The Old Mill with the likes of the John MacLeod Big Band and the Dave Young Sextet and has opened for such acts as Christian McBride, Pat Metheny and Terence Blanchard. In 2013, Barbra was the first runner-up in the prestigious Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition in New York City.
As a songwriter, she remains resolutely upbeat and optimistic, often concentrating on the particulars of day-to-day life. “I know life can be hard and stressful,” she explains, “but I feel art exists so beauty can exist.” These are songs from the perspective of the 21st century woman, addressing themes of love and the complicated realities of modern relationships in a way that is uplifting and authentic. Barbra’s personality comes through in her singing with an equal measure of positivity and genuine emotion, whether she is delivering jazz pop songs or heart wrenching ballads
Her debut album That’s What I Do (Triplet/Universal Jazz Japan) was released to widespread acclaim in 2012, ranking her in Canada’s Top 5 Jazz singers on the CBC, as well Top5 up-and-coming Toronto jazz artists on blogTO. Barbra’s sophomore album Love Songs (Do Right! Music Japan) a collaborative effort with noted producer/guitarist/songwriter James Bryan (Prozzak, Nelly Furtado, Olly Murs) made its Japanese debut live at the Tokyo International Jazz Festival in front of a huge audience at the Tokyo International Forum.
Barbra’s third release and her most personal to date is the 2017 JUNO Award nominated I’m Still Learning. Her vocals are exquisite; there are no theatrics in her singing style – just pure charm. Thematically the album is very much about mistakes, regrets and trying to move on. It covers bad breakups, horrible first dates, explosive crushes on emotionally unavailable people and a lot of trying different things to see how they fit. These are songs from the perspective of the 21st Century woman. As a songwriter, she remains resolutely upbeat and optimistic and her ability to deliver a song with clarity and wit shines through.