This year marks a decade of Nicole Henry performing her Winter Concert in Miami Beach, and she is celebrating with a show entitled “Decade of the Divas.”
She'll celebrate the songs Diana Ross, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Donna Summer, Chaka Kahn, Doris Day, Whitney Houston, Dame Shirley Bassey, Tina Turner, and more. And, of course, “I’ll also be including some of my favorite holiday songs to celebrate the season,” she adds.
She says performing with pianist Michael Feinstein and the Pasadena Pops in a show Feinstein called "The Divas Through the Decades" gave her the idea.
“I was inspired by that, especially since I’m marking a decade doing my Winter Concert,” she says.
Henry performs her 2023 Winter Concert on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the Colony Theatre, as a fundraising event for the Miami Music Project and SAVE.
A graduate of the University of Miami, Henry began performing live on Miami Beach even before her graduation.
With the release of her first CD in 2004, her career took off. Now, Henry is a much in demand jazz vocalist, performing throughout the U.S., and as a headliner in 20 countries.
She also earned a Soul Train Award for “Best Traditional Jazz Performance” and garnered four Top 10 albums on Billboard, JazzWeek and HMV Japan charts.
Henry usually spends time pursuing both her passions of jazz singing and performing.
In past years, she has performed in the musical version of “The Bodyguard,” as well as starring in a new musical “A Wonderful World,” based on the life of Louis Armstrong; and in 2022, she portrayed "Brenda" in a production of “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.”
“This year, I got to sing in some new venues throughout the country, like in San Francisco, and it was a blessing to return to some of the old ones,” she says.
“Another huge accomplishment for me, which was so memorable, was performing the role Shug Avery, in the North Carolina Theatre’s production of “The Color Purple.” It was a beautiful role, and a beautiful production,” she says.
Through it all, she also continues to put out music, and her latest album, “Time to Love Again,” reached No. 4 on the U.S. JazzWeek Radio Chart and remained in the “Top 40” for 20 weeks.
“We’ve released singles from that CD over the year,” she says.
The video of one of those releases, “Is it a Crime?” garnered special attention here, as the video was filmed at the Betsy Hotel, and directed by another local favorite jazz singer, Leesa Richards.
But it is coming home to Miami Beach that makes every holiday season special, says Henry, and she is especially proud that she is marking ten years of presenting her holiday concerts, even though it has been challenging, especially through the pandemic.
“In no way do I feel that I’m getting old, but it’s nice to have this way to mark the passage of time. I can look back at it and say, “I may not have done ‘x, y, or z’, but I can look back and find that I did follow through with something important in my life.”
Henry began performing her concerts at the Colony several years ago because, at that time, she couldn’t find a venue that was large enough, and this theater size “was perfect,” she recalls.
Since then, Henry’s many fans have made it their business to, like her, return to Miami Beach at least once a year for her concerts.
“I heard a great quote—something like, ‘stories make friends family,’ and I do that with my winter concerts, I talk to the audience because I feel like they are my family,” says Henry.
For the past six years, Henry has been performing her winter concerts with the proceeds going to the Miami Music Project, and, for the last two years, also to SAVE, both of which are nonprofit organizations.
The Miami Music Project has become a national model by offering music lessons to schoolchildren in Miami-Dade County, but also teaching music skills that can help them transform their lives as a form of social action.
The SAVE Foundation is South Florida’s longest-serving organization dedicated to protecting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) against discrimination.
“As a performer it is important to me to give back to the community. These two non-profits truly align with issues that work on behalf of causes to which I’m deeply connected. It is a privilege to be associated with them as we celebrate our tenth anniversary and begin the holiday season.”
Nicole Henry’s 10th Annual Winter Concert will be performed Tuesday, Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m. at the Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach. Tickets are $35, $60, and $125 for the concert and VIP reception, which starts at 6 p.m. For tickets: (305) 674-1040 or www.tinyurl.com/NH2023WinterConcert