Toronto-born jazz vocalist and songwriter Denielle Bassels' career in music began when a dream sent her overseas to Lausanne, Switzerland, where she sought respite from a tumultuous era in her life. She arrived as an au pair (nanny) and left two years later as a professional jazz singer, singing in some of the country's top Jazz Clubs.
"The little boy I looked after, Osvaldo, took lessons at a prestigious jazz school called "Ejma" and it was there that I met teachers and students who showed me the jazz caverns and music scene. They got me up to sing one night at a jam, and I was suddenly a jazz singer with my own combo doing shows. I never had any training, so it was a strange and exhilarating adventure."
Denielle yearned for something more, a deeper foundation to create. So after two years of working and performing in Europe, she returned to Canada and auditioned for Humber College's contemporary music program. There, she found her new band and was holding residencies at some of Toronto's finest jazz clubs before long. Her country may have changed, but the captivated audiences remained; Denielle quickly made a name for herself as a vocalist and performer. Still, she was looking for more and soon fell in love with songwriting. Her first original song, "Cool Cool Water," went on to win Grand Prize in the International John Lennon Song Competition, while later, five more originals went on to place in the finals. With these accolades, she was awarded grants from the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council of The Arts to fund her first full-length album, "What About Wool Wishbags," released in early 2017. The album hit #1 on iTunes and was voted the top 5 albums of 2017 by Jazz FM 91.1. Full of whimsy and charm, it is a story-laden volume of original music set in scenes of swing, indie, folk, and blues.
In 2018 Denielle was a featured vocalist on the studio album "Muse" by Jaymz Bee's The Tiki Collective, which debuted her original song "Wanderer" alongside performances by Lily Frost, Joanna Mojoko, and The Willows. She has since been touring across Ontario and Quebec and beyond, performing at renowned jazz clubs and headlining major jazz festivals with her unique brand of indie-swing backed by some of the country's finest musicians from Drew Jurecka (Jill Barber, Dua Lipa), Jacob Gorzhaltsan (Soulpepper, The Jellyfish) and Andrew Scott (The Intentions, Soulpepper). Denielle is building a reputation as a pleasantly unpredictable jazz singer with a twist.
On June 2nd, her mother's birthday, Denielle will release her long-awaited 3rd Studio album, "Little Bit a' Love," featuring her signature melange of folk, swing and blues chock full of Bassels' power and charisma, this time Denielle takes more of a producer role, diving deeper into songwriting and arranging and pulling the curtain on the secrets that sent her off to Switzerland in the first place. The Canadian CD launch will take place at Toronto's Lula Lounge on June 16th.