Eboni Fondren fronts Hallelujah Holidays on Dec. 7

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Eboni Fondren. // Courtesy KCJO

Songstress Eboni Fondren is poised to bring the house down on Tuesday, December 7 when she fronts Hallelujah Holidays. The well-known singer will be performing at Helzberg Hall alongside the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra for a show that pays homage to the 1960s jazz landscape. (Think one part holiday swing, one part soul-jazz.) 

Fondren was born in Chicago “in a fun and musical home,” she says. “I have been singing my whole life, ever since I was a little kid, and I knew that music would be a part of my life.” When she graduated college, Fondren says she was determined to move to Kansas City to become a jazz singer and work her way up the ranks. 

Now she’s an established actress doing local and regional theatre and has also found her calling as an in-demand voiceover artist. (If you think Fondren sounds familiar, you’re not wrong. Her group Eboni & The Ivories was just voted Best Jazz Band and runner-up as Best Jazz Artist this month in The Pitch.) When she’s not busy on stage, Fondren is busy running a new styling business she launched. “Jzzystyle helps clients with rebranding, styled shoots, wedding planning, fashion events, and more,” she says.

“I consider myself a Jill-of-All-Trades—able to do all the things I love to do and make a living at the same time.”

We caught up with Fondren ahead of her upcoming performance to get the scoop on the holiday jazz-travaganza. 

The Pitch: ‘Tis the season! What can concertgoers expect on December 7th?

We have an exciting lineup of classic holiday songs with a twist and some new ones as well. I’m just really happy to be singing with the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra in beautiful Helzberg Hall. It’s always an honor.

Is there a particular song to keep an ear out for? 

The classic Donnie Hathaway ‘This Christmas’ is near and dear to my heart because it was a big holiday song in my family growing up. I’m actually really excited to sing this with the full orchestra.

Question—your scat skills are unparalleled. How do you incorporate those into Christmas music?

Thank you! That means a lot because starting out I was so afraid to scat. (My mentor) Everette DeVan would basically hang me out to dry during gigs and make me scat on the spot! To have grown to the comfort level that I am at now feels really good. It’s still really scary sometimes, but the thrill of the improvisation is more exciting now. I will have fun with the tunes I will be scatting on!

What holiday song do you find yourself singing along to constantly?

Honestly, all of them. I am such a sponge and walking jukebox so there could be several on rotation at all times. From classics to current—literally, all of them.

And, finally, 2020 was a little subdued, yes? Is it good to be back in the swing of things? (Pun intended.)

It’s been a bit overwhelming, but I am so grateful to be working again. I feel really blessed and humbled by the opportunities that have come my way.

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Eboni Fondren. // Courtesy KCJO

Categories: Music