By Aram Arkun
NEW YORK — Romance is on Gracie Terzian’s mind, or at least in her songs. Her sinuously sensuous singing takes listeners through poetry and music to a world of love and heartbreak. The young, talented songstress and performer has made her mark in the world of jazz with her first EP (extended play recording), “Saints and Poets.” It quickly became the number 3 jazz album on iTunes and the number 23 jazz album on the Billboard jazz charts, and has garnered excellent reviews. Terzian wrote or co-wrote all six songs.
She lives in the Astoria section of New York City, and says that it feels like home now, perhaps due to a retro feel, and with all the modern jazz music being created there. A product of a northern Virginian childhood, her father, journalist and writer Philip Terzian, provided her with a first exposure to jazz. She danced and acted from a young age, and at the end of high school learned acrobatics, which was useful for theater.
She studied at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, where she acted, sang with a jazz group and began writing jazz lyrics. She started a collaboration with Wells Hanley, her jazz piano teacher, and soon became a master of the harp ukulele. She said, “I think it was when I started having a desire to write music that I got more serious about practicing instruments.”
Terzian often accompanies herself while singing. She related that “it can be a little difficult. It depends on how comfortable I am with the song and how much I’ve sung it and played it. I do have to practice when I do it.”