"Now that the trend of aging rockers cutting albums of show tunes and standards seems thankfully to have run its course, we're back to vocalists with a real feel for and understanding of the jazz tradition doing them justice. Nashville's Monica Ramey is a shining example. Her excellent release Make Someone Happy offers resourceful, soaring and engaging interpretations of material from The Great American Songbook." -Ron Wynn, Nashville Scene
This kind of reaction is a reoccurring theme in the case of Midwest native Monica Ramey and artists like Michael Feinstein, Beegie Adair, Anthony Wilson, Jeff Coffin, Donna McElroy, Jim Ferguson, Denis Solee, Jeff Steinberg, Lori Mechem, Roger Spencer, George Tidwell and Sandra Dudley are just a few who are singing her praise.
Monica is a native of Francesville, one of Indiana’s smallest towns. The youngest of three children, her father is a retired farmer and her mother a retired music teacher. As a child, Monica would sing and dance on stage with her mother’s high school show choir, and at the age of 3, she stood on the grand piano at the school’s cabaret and performed Tomorrow from the musical, Annie. By the age of 11, she had become well known in Indiana after starring in several local and professional Broadway musical productions. As a teenager, she studied at the Los Angeles County High School of the Arts, and in 1995, Monica was selected to become a member of the GRAMMY National All American High School Jazz Band and Choir.
This break would become one of the most important opportunities in Monica's life. Being one of 12 selected nationally for the choir, Monica had little jazz experience, but while performing with some of the music industry's finest, she discovered the impact of jazz music in her own life and in our society. The responsibility all performers have to its preservation and authenticity left a profound and lasting impact on her.
Monica studied Music Performance at Indiana State University and was a member of the ISU Jazz Singers. She became a favorite singer among many faculty members and even the President of the university. This led to many performances at university functions and sporting events. She interned for the NARAS Foundation in Los Angeles, where the preservation of jazz music became a focal point of her responsibilities.
In 2000, she moved to Nashville to pursue her singing career, where she discovered the Nashville Jazz Workshop. NJW has given Monica the opportunity to study under some of Nashville finest musicians including Lori Mechem, Roger Spencer, Sandra Dudley, Beegie Adair, Jeff Steinberg, Rod McGaha, Jim Ferguson, Roy Agee, Annie Sellick as well as create a family away from home.
On her debut album, Make Someone Happy, Monica is joined by the Lori Mechem Trio and special guest, Beegie Adair. This special project hosts many standard tunes with horn arrangements by Denis Solee and two original tunes by Lori Mechem, Beegie Adair and Hal Stephens. Produced by Lori Mechem, Roger Spencer and Sandra Dudley, the album captures the finest example of Monica's musical capabilities at this point in her career. Make Someone Happy is receiving international airplay on jazz radio, Pandora, Music Choice and DMX to name a few.
Her second album, Monica Ramey and the Beegie Adair Trio, accentuates the undeniable chemistry of one of the world’s most successful jazz trios (Beegie Adair, piano; Roger Spencer, bass; Chris Brown, drums) with a vocalist (Ramey) who elegantly interweaves lush, lyrical sophistication to an already immaculate musical conversation. Produced by Adair and Spencer, the album also features on two of the trio and Ramey’s most endeared musical mates, jazz masters George Tidwell and Denis Sole, on several tracks. The result is the introduction and re-introduction of some of jazz’s most beloved and forgotten songs and the introduction of an original tune, co-written by Adair.
Her third album, Some Enchanted Evening, is her “dream project”; a piano/vocal duo album with Beegie Adair. The album, released in April 2016, features some of the greatest Broadway tunes ever written like “Someone To Watch Over Me”, “My Funny Valentine” and “Some Enchanted Evening”. This album was produced by Ms. Adair’s long-time producer, Jack Jezzro, and released by Green Hill Music and Burton Avenue Music. In 2019, the duo created a Christmas album, Some Enchanted Christmas, featuring holiday classics with Adair/Ramey's signature sound and includes an original tune, co-written by Adair, "(Wouldn't You Like) An Old Fashioned Christmas".
2020, Ramey was featured on the Clifton Davis project, CLIFTON DAVIS AND THE BEEGIE ADAIR TRIO: NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE, singing the Henry Mancini classic "Two For the Road" with Davis. The project featured the Beegie Adair Trio and Take 6. During the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, Ramey began producing a YouTube series called "HAPPY HOUR with BEEGIE", a bi-weekly broadcast featuring the jazz legend in virtual, casual conversations with musicians, friends, actors, writers and others. Some of the guests include Roy Blount Jr, the Beegie Adair Trio, Bill Crow, Billy Stritch, Dirk Blocker, Delbert McClinton, Clifton Davis, George Tidwell, Jeff Steinberg and Marvin Stamm. Ramey plans to produce the show until they are back on the road, post-pandemic or until it feels like work.
In addition to recording and performing, Monica manages and books pianist Beegie Adair while running her company, Adair Music Group, LLC. She is an executive producer on GROVER'S HAT PROJECT and TOO MARVELOUS FOR WORDS, both AMG music releases. She oversees daily operations and is currently working on several music and business projects/partnerships for the company.
Monica performs regularly in various venues, festivals and private events throughout the U.S. including annual appearances at the legendary Birdland, Feinstein’s/54 Below, Nashville Jazz Workshop and many others. When not working with Beegie or performing, Monica enjoys spending time with her friends, her family, traveling and gardening. Monica supports various animal and human rights organizations.
““The pairing of Beegie and Monica is a master class on how to interpret timeless songs with style, taste and a swinging contemporary sensibility.””
— Michael Feinstein
“05/28/13 Monica Ramey & the Beegie Adair Trio Adair Music Group By Christopher Loudon There was a brief period in the late 1950s and very early ’60s when Capitol sagely paired George Shearing with a succession of the label’s top vocalists, including Peggy Lee, Dakota Staton, Nancy Wilson and Nat King Cole. The results were uniformly wonderful, setting a standard for sophistication that has, until now, never quite been equaled. But in Monica Ramey and Beegie Adair, Shearing and company have finally met their match. Ramey and Adair have united before. The pianist joined the then-neophyte singer for two tracks on her 2009 debut album, Make Someone Happy. But they provided merely a subtle hint of the rich banquet to come. Perhaps it’s the urbane playlist, peppered with the well-aged likes of “You Fascinate Me So,” “Will You Still Be Mine?,” “Lullaby of the Leaves” and “Whisper Not.” Or maybe it’s Ramey’s ability to blend the suavity of Bobby Short with the sangfroid of Lee Wiley. Or it could be Adair’s refined agility, reminiscent of the young Barbara Carroll. Actually, it’s the combination of all three that evokes a sense of those bespoke Shearing days. Most impressive, the overall feeling here is more respectful than retro, as if some tony East Side boîte had, like Brigadoon, magically re-emerged. Along for the stylish ride are Adair’s triomates, bassist Roger Spencer and drummer Chris Brown, here and there augmented by George Tidwell on trumpet and flugelhorn and Denis Solee on saxophones and flute. ”
“"I think that Monica Ramey and the Beegie Adair Trio sound awesome together! It's obvious, when you listen, that they have a simpatico personal and professional relationship. These are some of Nashville's very finest and the addition of saxophonist Denis Solee and trumpeter George Tidwell are icing on an already tasty cake. Great singing + great playing + great tunes = great music! This is a recording that people anywhere will enjoy anytime."”
— Jeff Coffin (saxophonist, bandleader, composer, educator, photographer and all-around bad-ass)
“Your album is "Sparkling and Refreshing" and I am a FAN!”
— Snookie Jones, Owner-Philly Syndication/Vice President-Gravity Entertainment
“Monica Ramey gives me the feeling that I can make it through any obstacle in life. Her music encompasses love, joy, sadness, hope, and humor. These are qualities that most artists strive for in their music, but few achieve. Monica presents the human experience, in such a beautiful way. Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to Monica Ramey.”
— Rod McGaha, Trumpeter/Composer
““Elegant, sinewy recountings of classic ‘tales’ from the 20th century songbook, passionately sung by Miss Ramey as if each was a personal confession. Accompanied by trio and quartet arrangements that are a miracle – at times controlled and concise, at others, fervent and daring, all the while abundant with wisdom. This record provides new reasons to adore these songs!””
— Chris Walters (pianist, singer, songwriter, producer, arranger, and owner of the hippest eyeglasses ever)
“"Monica is truly an "Artist." Her interpretation and phrasing of these works are moving and beautiful."”
“"Make Someone Happy is like a meal that someone cooked for you with lots of love. You can taste the love."”
— Heather Brand, Photographer
“Make Someone Happy, Monica Ramey, vocals. "On her debut CD, Nashville singer Monica Ramey displays a velvety voice on a handful of choice tunes including infrequently heard ones like “Dream Dancing,” “You Hit the Spot,” “Passion Flower” and “Give Him the Ooh-la-la.” But the award winner was the opener, a Blossom Dearie tune called “Hey, John.” Carmen McRae’s version of it was a wake up call from the past, but Ramey comes darn close. Some sparkling arrangements for horns add some luster to the performance. Ramey has learned the lesson of never over-decorating a tune, something some singers seemingly never understand. I liked her a lot!" Cognito, 2010; 46:20. 3/10/10”