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Jazz saxophonist Mindi Abair was the recent guest for an installment of In The Boardroom, an educational series produced by The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter featuring interviews with past and present Academy Board members. Abair discussed her career journey as a solo artist and "sideman" while also offering her top 10 list of tips for aspiring musicians.
"You have to search yourself," said Abair. "You really have to pine over who you are … [and] what you have to offer. And then you can start your journey as an artist."
Born into a musical family in St. Petersburg, Fla., Abair started playing piano at age 5 and subsequently picked up saxophone and began writing songs. She attended Berklee College of Music in Boston where she earned a degree in woodwind performance and developed her musical voice in styles spanning jazz, rock and R&B. As a session musician, Abair has collaborated with artists including the Backstreet Boys, the Gap Band, Teena Marie, and Mandy Moore, among others. Her debut album, 2000's Always And Never The Same, featured nine tracks co-written by Abair and producer/musician Matthew Hager. It Just Happens That Way followed in 2003, peaking at No. 7 on Billboard's Jazz Albums chart.
Abair released several more albums that cracked the Top 10 on the Jazz Albums chart, including 2004's Come As You Are, 2006's Life Less Ordinary, which spawned the Top 5 Jazz Songs track "True Blue," and 2008's Stars. Abair's most recent release, In Hi-Fi Stereo, was released in 2010 and climbed to No. 6 on the Jazz Albums chart. The album spawned the No. 1 Jazz Songs hit "Be Beautiful." Abair is currently on tour throughout the United States with dates scheduled through October.
Abair is a current member of The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter Board. She has supported various GRAMMY Foundation programs, including performing at events such as GRAMMY In The Schools Live!
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