Artist Biography

Lisa Donna was born and raised in Malaysia. “My Mom was my first Diva. She always sings with such joy and abandon. She got me singing on stage when I was six. I’ve always sung whenever I could”. Due to her parents’ eclectic music collection; she became well acquainted not only with Jazz but Country, R&B and traditional Malaysian music. Lisa Donna started singing professionally in Malaysia and was offered a record deal at 17 but chose to move to the United States to pursue the American Dream.
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While living in Boston, Lisa Donna earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications, from Emerson College, graduating Summa Cum Laude. During her college years, she worked at WERS 88.9FM as a Host for JazzOasis and the Producer for Gyroscope World Music. She began to immerse herself in Jazz during this period.
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Lisa Donna moved to Los Angeles, graduating from the Los Angeles Music Academy. She met the great Sheila Jordan who became her mentor and inspiration. “Drummer Bob Moses had told me about her when I was working at the radio station, giving me her CD. I went to see her show in LA, was really touched by her performance of The Crossing and requested a lesson with her. The lesson went very well and she arranged for me to study with her at the Vermont Jazz Center Summer Workshop”. Jordan gave her the song Like Someone In Love at their first lesson so Lisa Donna brought that song along with a version of It Never Entered My Mind that was inspired by Miles Davis’ recording. When Lisa Donna started to scat on the later song, Sheila Jordan at first stopped her, saying that one of her pet peeves was that she did not like to hear scatting on ballads. “But then she changed her mind and said that she wanted to hear what I had. I sang my heart out and was so happy she liked it. She gave me a great deal of confidence”.
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Always enthusiastic about furthering her musical education, Lisa Donna has also studied with such teachers as Rhiannon, Mark Winkler, Kevyn Lettau, Cathy Segal-Garcia, Anita Wardell, Jay Clayton, Lesa Terry, Bill Augustine, Jon Mayer, Darlene Koldenhoven, Marty Panzer and Phil Swann. She’s also had the opportunity to sing with Keith Fiddmont’s Big Band during the past couple of years. “I’ve always loved hearing Ella Fitzgerald with a big band, so it was a thrill for me when I started singing with the big band at Santa Monica College”. Lisa Donna has performed as a soloist in Los Angeles at The Broad Stage, the Santa Monica Yacht Club, the World Stage, Saffro Hall, Wilshire Boulevard Temple, hotels, restaurants and private events. In addition, she is a Stringer for The New Straits Times newspaper, an avid traveler and certified Yoga Instructor.
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The biggest recent news in Lisa Donna’s musical life is the release of her debut album Someone In Love. Teamed with some of Los Angeles’ finest musicians, she performs six of her original songs and two Jazz Standards. “I have been writing songs since I was 16 and knew that it was finally time to record. With a big leap of faith and a lot of work, I was able to produce the CD myself. Each song comes from a certain place and time, sharing the love stories of my life, and it all has an improvisational quality; it is all me”. She is joined by such musicians as; pianist/keyboardist Peter Smith, bassist Jonathan Flaugher and drummer, Robert Perkins, plus such guests as Keith Fiddmont on alto and tenor saxophone, trumpeter Nolan Shaheed; guitarist John Storie, violinist Lesa Terry, pianist Louis Durra and keyboardist Ann Ng.

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