Inga Swearingen

Inga Swearingen

 San Luis Obispo, California, USA
BandFolkJazz

Groovin’ sister harmonies, guitar and stand up bass rooted in jazz/folk. A regular guest on "A Prairie Home Companion," Inga consistently earns high praise from audiences worldwide for her infectious positive spirit and vocal gifts that allow her to juxtapose husky textures with silky lightness.

Biography

Groovin’ sister harmonies with guitar and stand up bass rooted in jazz/folk. A regular guest on "A Prairie Home Companion," Inga has earned consistently high praise from audiences around the world for her effortlessly natural phrasing, infectious positive spirit and vocal gifts that allow her to juxtapose husky textures with silky lightness.

“Inga has a gorgeous voice, very fresh and evocative and note perfect.”
- Garrison Keillor, A Prairie Home Companion

Inga uses her voice like an instrument often switching roles and accompanying other members of the band. “I’m very inspired by Bobby McFerrin’s music and outlook. His sense of play and joy in the music resonate with me.” Growing up in a family that loves music and loves singing together (you should hear their Happy Birthday) has encouraged Inga to follow her heart and make music her livelihood. Her latest album celebrates the beauty of sisterly harmonies with the musical contribution of her sister, Britta.

Inga began playing out in high school with guitarist Evan Ball, and in college, began playing guitar and writing tunes. She hooked up with Trio 14 and Linda Vanasupa, a jazz outfit that originally got together just to play through standards in each other’s living rooms, but instead wound up playing a steady gig at a local inn. Inga's first time in a studio resulted in the well-received album, Learning How To Fly with Trio 14.

After studying classical voice technique with Mezzo-Soprano Jacalyn Kreitzer in 2002, Inga honed her talent as a jazz singer, transferring many of the vocal skills she learned from classical technique. She says, "I had not taken private voice lessons until college, so I was ready to absorb everything Jackie shared with me. She started right from the beginning by showing me a picture of vocal folds and explaining how my voice worked."

In 2003, Inga began to study with the acclaimed jazz singer Susanne Abbuehl (ECM Records), which was a transformative experience. As she recounts, "It was more than a teacher/student relationship; she was a life mentor. We cooked together, we listened to music together. I saw how she ran her life as a businesswoman, teacher and singer and found her balance of all of them to be incredibly healthy, sustainable and inspiring. Her intention was to pull me out of the music – to get it so that there was nothing between me and my fullest expression as a singer." In her first competition after her six-month experience with Susanne, Inga won first place at the Montreux Jazz Festival Shure Vocal Competition. Inga appreciated sharing music with competitors from all over the world. She says, "It was great to listen to the interpretation of jazz music from people from Finland, Romania, Iceland, Australia and the United States."

Inga returned to Florida State University to finish her masters in choral conducting in 2005. During that time, she received her first invitation to appear on Garrison Keillor's renowned radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, an opportunity that has led to thirteen appearances on the show, major exposure and the expansion of her fan base. Inga relates, "Garrison improvises a story just like I improvise with scat singing. It's been an incredible way to share my music with a larger audience. I get many emails after my appearances on the show and I try to write them all back. I really value this connection with my fans. Everywhere I go, I'm happy to see Prairie Home listeners in the audience."

Discography

First Rain (2009)
Reverie (2005)
Learning How To Fly (2003)

Set List

Inga Swearingen’s band repertoire covers original compositions, jazz classics, folk song interpretations, bossa nova, and spontaneous sound improvisation.

More details provided upon request.