Jazz singer and emerging songwriter Alissa Sanders has been traversing the globe and blending cultures, spirituality, and musical traditions for two decades. Born in Hollywood, California, Alissa has made Brazil one of her home bases since 1996. Her connection to the land was immediate and profound. Alissa continues to immerse herself in the music, culture, and daily experiences of life in Brazil resulting in music that is an intimate, colorful, soft, and enchanting fusion of Brazilian rhythms with jazz stylings.
In 2018, inspired by Israeli musician Idan Raichel and his groundbreaking collaborations with Vieux Farka Touré (Mali) and Ethiopian musicians, Alissa created “Finding My Voice,” a new project that is her search for sound and artistic identity as well as a soul search for her voice as an artist. For “Finding My Voice”, Alissa left Brazil and spent a year traveling and performing with musicians in Israel, Ethiopia and her hometown of Los Angeles. Upon returning to Brazil, she invited an Ethiopian musician to visit and learn about Brazilian music, while sharing his own musical traditions. This experiment began a cross-cultural musical exchange that evolved into her current show, “Playlist”. Working together with São Paulo pianist, arranger and musical director Marcos Romera, “Playlist” transforms contemporary songs into the language and structure of jazz then paints them in the colors and textures of the music Alissa explores in her travels. Inviting musicians from different countries to collaborate on performing the songs in the repertoire creates a dynamic show with unique interpretations of modern and classic pop, alternative, international and jazz songs.
Alissa has performed in jazz festivals in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte in Brazil, with Maximum Hedrum (with Derrick Green of Sepultura and Sam Spiegel of N.A.S.A) at South x Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas and at Agape Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, CA. She appeared on NBC’s Carson Daly Show in the U.S. Most recently, Alissa has performed several shows in Tel Aviv and sung with some of Addis Ababa’s top Ethio-Jazz musicians.
Her first album, “Beginning,” was released in 2012. In addition to her solo work, Alissa sings with the group DNA Urbano, which released its debut album in 2018. Alissa’s work with Finding My Voice continues with the upcoming release of a web series, a collaborative music project in Ethiopia, and writing songs inspired by her year on the road.