Singer and Portland State University (PSU) Senior Anna Meyer recently sat in on a live, in person performance at Northeast Portland jazz bar and pizza restaurant, The 1905, with Professor George Colligan on the piano.
Before the beginning of the pandemic, Meyer had plans to travel to New York City to perform with a combo, but had to cancel when the lockdown began. Since then, she’s been singing as much as possible at various venues on live streams while cultivating her portfolio online and building her social media.
Since COVID restrictions loosened, Meyer has been performing live in front of audiences again, singing with a vocal trio at the St. Johns Jazz Festival—an outdoor event held at Cathedral Park—where she and other members of the PSU jazz vocal choir got to share what they’d been working on during the past year.
At The 1905, Meyer performed Body and Soul, the song she sang at her PSU audition, for an audience full of people who’d been without live entertainment for over a year. She stunned the entire room with her voice, which was both bold and soulful, leaving this reporter convinced she was a surprise headliner.
Since Meyer’s audition for PSU, Professor George Colligan has helped get her many gigs where she’s put her jazz stylings to the test, incorporating techniques learned from books, practice and albums into her own improvisational style and original music. Colligan frequently invites her to accompany him on vocals during his sets and she even appears on one of his Live album recordings. “If [Colligan] sees something he likes in someone he wants to give them the chance to get better at it.”
Inspired by musicians like Jazzmeia Horn and Esperanza Spalding, Meyer continues to dedicate her time to honing her craft. After graduating from PSU this fall, she plans on joining her friend and PSU alumnus, saxophonist Nicole McCabe, in Los Angeles where she intends to continue exploring jazz and experimenting with other musical styles.
You can hear from Meyer on her Instagram @theswingofthingz
illustration by Alison White