Kudisan Kai, the artist formerly known as Natalie Jackson, has made an incredible journey from opera to alternative metal.
Kudisan was a member of the Pastiche Opera company in Memphis, TN at age 12 yrs. She later graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C. with a degree in Voice. She received additional training at the Tanglewood Summer Music Program then entered graduate school at The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York and New York University in NewYork City.
This classically trained singer got her commercial music start in jazz on recordings with the Howard University Jazz Ensemble. As a result of this exposure, she received Downbeat Magazine’s “Best New Jazz Vocalist” Award. She later toured with Anita Baker and Natalie Cole. Then, she did an about face and toured for six years with Elton John. Kudisan also worked and continues to do so, with Chaka Khan. Kudisan has also appeared with Beck at the Cochella Festival and on MTV’s “Total Request Live”; as well as with Sting on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno. The range of artists with whom Kudisan has recorded reflects the depth of her experience, and includes Bette Midler, Fishbone, Roger Waters, Joe Cocker, Ofra Haza, Mary J. Blige, and Salif Keita. This versatile artist can be heard in a host of television and radio commercials, as well as movies including Dreamworks El Dorado, music producer Patrick Leonard, Disney’s Dinosaurs, music producer James Newton Howard, Just Visiting, music producer John Powell, and recently, the John Powell/Sergio Mendez collaboration Rio II which will be released this summer 2014.
In 2008, Kudisan authored, hosted, and performed in a 3-day Artist-In-Residency at Berklee College of Music entitled, “Women In Rock”, which included recording artists Nona Hendryx, Joyce
Kennedy, Me’shell Ndegeocello, Siedah Garrett, Cindy Blackman, and Felicia Collins. ”Singing with these women proved to be one of the most magical experiences of my life.”
Kudisan Kai kicked off the new 2014 year promoting her new EP entitled Transcend, at Vernon Reid’s Stark Raving Sane Series at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem, NY. On the west coast, she graced the stage of L.A’s Indie Lounge, showcasing her talent as a powerhouse performer and songwriter. Currently, Kudisan is scheduled to do some tour dates with Chaka Khan this spring as well as perform with her band beginning in San Francisco and other parts of the US and Europe. Be sure to look out for concert dates coming your way.