It was an all-female shortlist of supreme jazz vocal talent this year, but BIMM London alumna Zara McFarlane went home victorious as the winner in the ‘Best Vocalist’ category at the 2015 Jazz FM Awards.
The annual award ceremony organised by the highly influential radio station gives out prizes in eleven different categories to recognise those musicians, bands and performers who have made ‘an exceptional contribution within the worlds of jazz, blues and soul’, both in the last year and as lifetime achievers.
A formidable standard of vocalists was whittled down to a list of just three – Lauren Kinsella, Alice Zawadzki and of course Zara herself – before Zara was announced as this year’s winner.
It’s another landmark award for the Dagenham-born singer – last year she took home a coveted MOBO Award for ‘Best Jazz Act’, as well as winning the influential Arts Desk’s ‘Album of the Year’ prize for her second album If You Knew Her, released on DJ Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings label. Jazz FM described Zara’s album as, ‘a sublime blend of neo-soul infused with her jazz heritage, allowing her to show her skill for fantastic songwriting and her flair for jazz improv.’
Zara’s commitment to the art of live jazz has not only helped her to win a growing list of prestigious prizes but has seen her take to the stage at music festivals across Europe and jazz celebrations worldwide, as well as extensive tour dates across the US, all helping to finesse her incredible voice and to expose her talents to an ever-growing and appreciative audience.
BIMM is very proud of all its alumni and Zara has demonstrated how talent, hard work and innovation can bring out the very best in our graduates. More awards and more beautiful music are sure to follow.