She performed at the Olympics in Vancouver. She is a member of Quincy Jones’s Global Gumbo All-Stars. At only 18, with two albums under her belt, Montreal-born jazz-pop ingenue Nikki Yanofsky has performed on many famous stages. In Toronto to perform at Yorkdale’s Swarovski Crystal Wonderland, she shares her five favourite places to hear – and sing – live music.
Blue Note, New York
The Blue Note is probably my favourite place. Because of the history and also because the sound is really cool. It’s really small and you can talk to the audience. I’ve been lucky enough to go back a lot. One of my favourite shows there is probably when Pierce Brosnan came. I picked up water and I was drinking it and I said, “Shaken, not stirred.” I thought I was really clever. [She laughs]. bluenote.net
Place des Arts, Montreal
Even the biggest room there feels very intimate. I’ve seen a lot of people. Aretha Franklin was probably my favourite. Also Crosby, Stills and Nash. That was a great concert. Especially for those artists. They’re both vocal artists. Crosby, Stills – you hear all the harmonies. It was just really beautiful. Aretha was amazing: piano and the background singers and the horns, everything was super-clear. pda.qc.ca
Carnegie Hall, New York
When I was 14 I got to perform with Marvin Hamlisch at Carnegie Hall. He got the whole New York Philharmonic orchestra to play me Happy Birthday. I just kept thinking: Wow, the Beatles have been on the stage, Ella Fitzgerald has been on the stage. Louis Armstrong has been on the stage – all my favourites. carnegiehall.org
Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles
I was part of Quincy Jones’s concert at the Hollywood Bowl. It was a beautiful night. Quincy had it set up so there were also couches and rugs on the stage. So once you were done performing, instead of walking off the stage, the artist got to watch the show. You’re listening just like how an audience member would. One of my favourites was probably Alfredo Rodriguez. He was like this crazy unbelievable piano player, like you’ve never heard anything like it. hollywoodbowl.com
Massey Hall, Toronto
The sound was great onstage. You really do feel the history. You just feel like there’s been a lot of stuff that’s happened on that stage before. You almost feel that energy. masseyhall.com
This interview has been edited and condensed.