Artists for the Amazon

Sofija Knezevic

“Our life is where we can breathe. We create through breathing. We love because we breathe.

We are often afraid to care, and be aware of the things that directly affect our existence. Unaware that the air is the one that enables us to be happy and chase our dreams and live long enough to make them come true, taking our own lives for granted. Unaware of the fact that that priceless transcript of a simple yet wondrous Amazon orchestration is fading, disappearing and being destroyed. Let’s raise awareness, make it live, fight for our existence.

Nature and life are such great inspirations for invention and creation. I grew up in a family of artists, both parents well known European painters and sculptors, and throughout my childhood I was surrounded by paintings of forests, which are both my mother’s and father’s eternal inspiration, and my dad’s wooden sculptures of rain. And as a child I was fascinated by its beauty and the life which breathes through it. We were taught to learn how to enjoy, smell and love the nature as it is a part of us.

We think because we are able to breathe, and that makes us free. Let’s not let anyone take away our freedom.”

Recognized as one of jazz’s pre-eminent vocalists, young Sofija Knezevic is one of the most significant singers in jazz today. While her singing is steeped in tradition, her improvisational virtuosity and creativity are breathtaking.

Sofija graduated from University for Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria, in the class of Dena De Rose. She has won many awards and scholarships including the Marianne Mendt Jazz Award, Unesco Scholarship for young talents, Golden Siren award, and was recently chosen in 2013 for the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program which identifies outstanding, emerging jazz artists and composers.

She’s been based in New York since 2011, and teaching voice at the Music School of New York City since 2012. Sofija is also an ambassador of CYE and NFCA – Celiac Youth of Europe, and one of the ambassadors for the Estee Lauder and their Breast Awareness Camapign. Sofija is included in newly published Jazz Encyclopedia `Serbian jazz, Bre`, and is writing two books of her own at the moment, one about vocal technique and the other one that includes her jazz arrangements of Balkan folk music. Sofija held and performed at many humanitarian events, including her own organization of a concert to help the Sandy Hook victims in 2013. She has also done the music for a couple of movies, including the documentary about her life, and the movie `Love Comes After` that just won an award in LA for the best foreign drama of the year. She also wrote music as a musical director for the `Theater 13`, and was an artistic director of `Island Dreams Entertainment` for a short period of time. Sofija is also a Vogue IT girl since 2011. Sofija worked with many great jazz artists such as David Murray, Jason Moran, Sheila Jordan, Jay Clayton, Terence Blanchard, James Moody, Elliot Mason, Christian McBride, and Frank Wess.