Elly Hoyt is a truly gifted jazz vocalist who has an intoxicating love for music and life – even saying, “music means so much that it slightly rules my existence”. The Tasmanian-born, 25-year-old has just released her debut self-titled album, which is sure to be the first of many that shows-off her smooth, seductive and versatile voice.
From the time she stood on stage as a five-year-old and overwhelmed parents and staff – even bringing some to tears – at a primary school performance with a solo rendition of Silent Night, Elly Hoyt has been on stage wowing audiences ever since.
She grew up in the bush in north-western Tasmania where she often listened to her father’s collection of jazz greats, including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae.
At 13, she decided jazz was the road she would travel after auditioning for the Tattersall’s Youth Big Band. Subsequently she joined them and for three years enjoyed valuable experience and learning including performances with the band’s patron, Don Burrows and support act for James Morrison.
Born to be a soloist, it was clear at a young age that Elly’s sultry tones and natural ability to learn quickly would take her to the world stage in no time. By 14, she was singing the national anthem at the Australia v New Zealand cricket match, making her the youngest vocalist in Australian history to sing before the cricket board. Returning the following year for the Australian v England match, the slender teen continued to amaze audiences with her impressive voice.
Throughout school-life, Elly was well-known by other students for her big voice and the humble confidence she’d exude when performing. School assemblies became more enjoyable when she’d appear on stage to sing.
In 2006, Elly moved to Brisbane to attain a Bachelor of Music, majoring in jazz voice, at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. A year later, Elly was making waves when she became a finalist in the ABC 612 Jazz Singers competition, judged by Vince Jones.
Winning the renowned Generation in Jazz vocal scholarship, judged by James Morrison in 2008, projected Elly into the Australian jazz scene where she has sung alongside a long list of top Australian and international jazz musicians and vocalists such as, James Morrison, Tim Firth, Phil Stack, Matt McMahon, John Morrison, Steve Newcomb, Mat Jodrell, Chris McNulty, Jim Pugh, John Hoffman, James Muller, Sam Anning, Tony Gould, David Jones, Mark Fitzgibbon to name a few.
James Morrison: “From the moment I first heard Elly sing, I knew she had that classic, indefinable thing that makes one a jazz singer. It’s not just a sound, or a choice of notes but a way of approaching a song that lets the listener know – this is the real thing”.
Elly has sung her way around the country performing at the Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival (VIC), Magnetic Island Jazz Festival (QLD), Broadbeach Blends of Jazz Festival (QLD), Generations in Jazz (S.A), Rockhampton Big River Jazz Festival (QLD), Thredbo Jazz Festival (NSW), Clarence Jazz Festival (TAS), Noosa Jazz Festival (QLD) and the Devonport Jazz Festival (TAS). Most notably, Elly made a trip to China in 2010 where she performed at the Shanghai World Expo, Australian Pavilion.
In late 2010, Elly launched her debut self-titled album featuring sensational original works and sophisticated arrangements of standard jazz tunes, backed by a Stella cast of seasoned professionals, including: Phil Stack, Tim Firth, Matt McMahon, James Sherlock and John Hoffman. The album won an Australian Jazz Bell Award in 2011 in the category of Best Australian Jazz Vocal Album.
Shortly after winning the Bell award in 2011, Elly was accepted into Stanford Workshop where she studied songwriting with Gretchen Parlato, Rebecca Martin and Becca Stevens and performed in Stanford, California and New York.
John Hoffman: “She is a brilliant young musician who is already singing like someone beyond her years… I feel that Elly has a very sensitive spirit-an artistic sensitivity that not everyone has. It’s rare.”
The album, Elly Hoyt, is a heavily anticipated sample of the smooth and freshly inspiring tones of a new and important vocalist of the Australian jazz scene.
“She sounds as if she belongs in a jazz bar in Manhattan”
- Stephen Matchett (The Australian)