Sarah Marie Young
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Sarah Marie Young

Morton, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | INDIE

Morton, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2010
Band R&B Soul


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Expressive- Review"

“Possessor of one of the loveliest voices around, vocalist Sarah Marie Young brings us Expressive - a six-song CD showcasing her abilities across several styles. Sarah Young shows great talent for being "expressive" with a sensitive sense of dynamics. The crowd-pleasing Brazilian number "O Pato" (The Duck) gives Sarah a chance to "quack" melodiously, and Matt to take a chewy solo turn, while she also takes on "Born to Be Blue" with pleasing results. The highlights for me, however are her wonderful version of "Autumn Nocturne" and her original "Winter Song." The former truly highlights Young's incredible range, accompanied only by Block's Joe Pass-flavored guitar.

The latter is an incredible gospel-drenched pop composition centered by Vaitsas's churchy piano and organ and Young's killer vocal delivery. This satisfying song is a hit waiting to be discovered. This too-short recording ends continuing the gospel trend with an enjoyable version of "Amazing Grace" that leaves the listener craving more from this talented singer. “
- Brad Walseth-

"Expressive- Review"

“What is remarkable about Chicago-based vocalist Sarah Marie Young is that it is hard to compare her to any other singer except for very vague hints of early Sheila Jordan. The fact is that she does not sound like anyone but herself.

On this regrettably short yet intimate record she is backed by a drumless trio, and on some tracks by only piano or guitar. This sparse presence of instruments helps frame her vocals and put them in the forefront. Her crisp and clear voice complemented by her musicianship does not require heavy background orchestration to deliver a rewarding performance.

Two of the songs, “Goodby to You and Me” and “Winter Song,” also showcase her songwriting and compositional abilities, and fit well within the overall program of couple of standards, a samba and the classic “Amazing Grace,” that she turns into a jazzy hymn.

She adds an emotional depth to the Brazilian standard “O Pato” that lacked, even in Gilberto’s own interpretation. The “Born to be Blue” enhanced by Rob Block’s bluesy guitar solo seems to have been written expressly for her and the atmospheric and intimate “Autumn Nocturne” backed only by a strumming guitar has the feel of a late night rendezvous.

She is a refreshing change from the multitude of jazz-pop female vocalists whose records are so heavily arranged and so market oriented that they lose all spontaneity. Expressive certainly rewards multiple listens and whets the appetite for what might come next from Sarah Marie Young.”
- Hyayr Attarian, Chicago Jazz Magazine

"Sarah Marie Young wins in D.C., despite missing Monk Competition finals"

Two weeks ago, we reported on the selection of Chicago vocalist Sarah Marie Young as a semi-finalist in the annual Thelonious Monk Competition, which took place October 3-4 in Washington D.C. While she was not one of the three top prize winners, she didn’t let that deter her from waling away from the experience with plenty of kudos, an armload of positive memories, and probably most important, her confidence intact.

Your Chicago Jazz Examiner caught up with Sarah Marie Young a few days after her return to Chicago, where she continues her regular schedule, leading Tuesday night sessions at the Jazz Showcase and also appearing weekly at Stetson’s in the Hyatt Regency Hotel (312-239-4491).

Young was mentioned in at least one review of the proceedings as having connected mightily with the audience, leading to some puzzlement at her failing to make the cut for Monday’s finals. Young herself realized that the competition entailed impressing the judges with musicianship, as opposed to entertaining the audience with personality; it’s just that while achieving the former imperative, she simply couldn’t ignore the latter.

“I really decided I was going to engage with the audience and just have a good time,” she told me last week. “It calms my nerves. I always do that anyway; it’s my thing to connect with the audience, and I guess that made me a little different from the other contestants. I mean, I knew I had the songs down – I had practiced for a month –so I didn’t have to worry about singing the right notes; I just went out there to have fun.

“And later, when I got to talk to Dianne and Kurt, they both told me I’d done a really great job, and how important it is to connect to the audience.”

Those would be GRAMMY®-winning vocalists Dianne Reeves and Kurt Elling, two of the Monk Competition’s prestigious panel of judges (who also included vocalists Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Al Jarreau, and pianist Herbie Hancock, all of them GRAMMY winners as well). For Young, some of the event’s most valuable moments came far from the concert stage itself.

“Everyone stays in the same hotel, the judges and the singers and the instrumentalists we worked with. Sunday night, after the three finalists were announced, I went down to the bar to get some food, and everyone was there unwinding. Patti Austin was saying it was really difficult to choose the finalists – she wanted to expand it to six or seven, and she said the judges had to avoid fighting with each other when they went to deliberate.

“I’m just really grateful that I got the opportunity. I felt like I made my mark as ‘that singer from Chicago,’ and that it was memorable to some people in the audience. I was definitely trying to represent Chicago,” Young said in reference to her adopted home town (she grew up in Indianapolis). And she hasn’t developed any false illusions about what such contests really mean in the long haul of a professional career.

“Competitions are funny,” said the admirably well-grounded singer. “They can be really hard for some people who start to value themselves based on them – which is why I usually stay away from them. They kind of open your eyes about jazz and jazz singing. When you’re first learning jazz, you get scared by the rules, and the pretentiousness of people you meet, and that was there, somewhat.

“But I just feel there’s never a need to be pretentious or get down on yourself if something’s not perfect. A lot of times in jazz you can overthink it, overthink what it’s supposed to be – what you’re supposed to be as a performer. But mistakes happen, even among the all-star musicians [who performed at the Kennedy Center gala that closed the competition]. So for me, this was a really great motivator.”

Before the end of our conversation, Young promised to “dish all the juicy details” at her blog. And she has done just that, as you can read here.

Sarah Marie Young appears this and every Tuesday at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct., at 8 and 10; and this Wednesday at M Lounge, 1520 S. Wabash, from 7 to 10. - Neil Tesser- The Examiner

"Chicago singer Sarah Marie Young named finalist in international competition"

Watch out, Washington, D.C. -- here she comes.

Chicago singer Sarah Marie Young has just been named one of the 12 semifinalists in this year’s Thelonious Monk Competition, which takes place this weekend and Monday in the nation’s capital.

Young – who appears every Tuesday, including tonight, at the Jazz Showcase (806 S. Plymouth) – moved to Chicago from her native Indianapolis in the mid-2000s, and has steadily built her reputation as a technically sound and inventively gifted singer. She’ll head for D.C. this weekend for the semifinals Sunday afternoon at the Smithsonian Institution.

That program will select three entrants for the finals Monday night (October 4), held as part of a gala program at the Kennedy Center, where the finalists perform with professional jazz artists; the first-prize winner receives a $20,000 scholarship and a guaranteed recording contract with Concord Records.

The program this year also features a Tribute to the Great American Songbook and presentation of the organization’s Founder’s Award to Aretha Franklin, who will serve as a judge for the contest. Her fellow judges include Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Al Jarreau, Diane Reeves, and Kurt Elling (who lives now in New York but still counts Chicago as his musical home town).

The competition is sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, named for the peerless iconoclast of jazz piano. Each year it focuses on a different jazz instrument (including the human voice), and it has become a reliable predictor of future jazz stardom – not only for the first-place winners but often for runners-up as well. A case in point is the 1991 competition for tenor saxists, when Joshua Redman took the main prize, followed by Eric Alexander, Tim Warfield, and Chris Potter (who opens Thursday at the Showcase). All four have achieved considerable fame and influence in the since then.

(In case you might have wondered how much excitement an announcement like this can generate for a young musician, you can read all about it in this blog post at Young’s web site.)

Other notable past winners include pianists Marcus Roberts and Jacky Terrasson, saxophonist Seamus Blake, and trumpeter Ambrose Arkenmusire. Among the finalists in the three previous vocal competitions are such now well-known jazz singers as Gretchen Parlato, Jane Monheit, and Roberta Gambarini. - Neil Tesser- The Examiner

"Diggin In'- Review"

"Vocalist Sarah Young's voice supercedes anything instrumental on this album. On the few tracks in which she appears, her smooth and sultry voice swings and sways to its own rhythm. Natural talent in jazz is rare, and rarer still is somebody so young who possesses it." - Brent Steven White DEMO Magazine

"Diggin In'- Review"

"Jobim/Gilbert’s bossa classic “If You Never Come to Me” comes up next and features the delightful vocals of Sarah Young (nee Ferguson)...her singing is an absolute treat and I look forward to catching more from her as she continues her career."

“The One to Break My Heart” is another original, this time by Young and Ferguson, and it is an instant classic. This is a beautiful ballad, heightened again by Sarah’s impressive lilting delivery..." - Brad Walseth at

"Diggin In'- Review"

"A highlight of the CD [Diggin' In] is vocalist Sarah Young(Ferguson) on Young and Ferguson's composition, "The One To Break My Heart." A beautiful ballad that Ferguson delivers with passion and the group performs perfectly."


- Sarah Marie Young, Is It A Color. Victorian Recording Studios, Barrington, IL. 2010.
- Sarah Marie Young, Expressive. Victorian Recording Studios, Barrington, IL 2009.

- Milton Suggs, Things To Come. Duet vocals “Cuz I’m In Love With You”. Soundmine Studios, Chicago IL. 2010.
- Quazi Exotix, Quazi Exotix. Lead/backing vocals. Studio Chicago, Chicago, IL. 2010.
- Natalie Oliveri, Eclectic Soul. Backing vocals. Rax Trax, Chicago, IL. 2009.
- Bodhi Spiritual Center, Something For Everybody. Compilation CD. Chicago, IL. 2009
- The Matt Young Group, Chicago Motown. Lead/backing vocals. Fullerton Recording Studios, Chicago, IL. 2008.
- Live, Live at the Paradiso. Backing vocals. Gravity Studios, Chicago, IL. 2008.
- The Matt Young Group, Diggin’ In. Lead vocals. Columbia College Studios, Chicago, IL. 2007.
- Columbia College R&B Ensemble Demo. Chuck Webb Home Studio, Chicago, IL. 2005.
- Dick Prall, Fizzlebuzzie. Backing vocals, keys, moog. RaxTrax Studios, Chicago, IL. 2004.
- Secret Girl, Secret Girl. Lead/backing vocals, rhodes, moog. IU Studios, Bloomington, IL. 2003.
- The Nods, Amazons in Cellophane. Back-up vocals, moog, glockenspiel, melodica. Echo Park Studios, Bloomington, IN. 2002.



After winning the 2011 Shure Montreux Vocal Competition, judged by the one and only Quincy Jones, Sarah Marie Young decided to use the prize, a week in the Swiss mountains at Balik Farm Studios, to record a full length album of originals. The songs, a narrative of the cold Chicago winters, mixed into relationships with family, friends and lovers, bore “Too Many Februaries”. Drawing from jazz, r&b, folk and funk roots, Sarah Marie Young’s songwriting debut has proven to be promising.

With her July 2013 release at Schubas in Chicago, and packed shows at the 2012 Montreux Jazz Festival and Chicago Jazz Festival, Sarah Marie Young’s live show led by her intoxicating voice is not to be missed.

Vocally, Sarah Marie Young’s range and agility is stunning, with lush, intimate harmonies on “Too Late To Say Goodbye” accompanied by her trusty baritone ukulele. Title track “Too Many Februaries” and r&b jams like “Pretty Baby” and “Good Morning To You” showcase the entire band’s abilities, as well as Sarah’s dynamic voice, which carries you right into the heart of her emotions.

Dutch hi-res label SnipRecords signed Sarah early 2014 and recorded her second full length album Little Candy Heart. Her new soulful album will also consist of originals, with an R&B influence. It will be released as a high resolution (96kHz/24bit) download, but will also be made available as lower resolution downloads, including iTunes.