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Biography

​Songwriter, contemporary jazz vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist Kiersten Conway provides her listeners with an eccentric and compelling take on jazz through reinvented standards and captivating originals. She graduated from The School for Music Vocations in May, where she received her associates degree in Professional Music. Kiersten has had a large amount of experience performing, appearing in places such as Noce Jazz Club and Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines, Iowa. She just recently won the "Vocal Jazz Soloist" category, as well as recognized for her original "Black-Eyed Susan" as an outstanding composition in the DownBeat Student Music Awards, 2024. In July of 2024, Kiersten is releasing her first single, which will begin the trend of more releases to come, and in the fall of 2024, she is headed to Rochester, New York to study under Sara Gazarek at Eastman School of Music. Kiersten continues to expand her experience and accomplishments, and cannot wait for the future endeavors to come.

After studying under Joel Foreman at Solon High School, Kiersten found her passion for music and decided to continue her education at Central College, in Pella, Iowa. She studied under Gabriel Espinosa and Mark Babcock, and took part in ALMA (a group led by Espinosa), A Capella Choir, Chamber Choir, Opera, and performed/gigged plenty. In the fall of 2021, she made her debut at Noce Jazz Club in Des Moines, Iowa. 

The following school year, Kiersten made the decision to transfer to The School For Music Vocations at Southwestern Community College, studying under Dr. Jeremy Fox, Tobi Crawford,  and Dr. Tyler Thomas. She began studying classical piano, jazz piano, classical voice, jazz voice, bass, drums, guitar, songwriting, and production. She was also submerged in vocal jazz arranging, a jazz keys course, music theory, ear training, studio production, and received so many performance opportunities. She auditioned and made it into "Audio Radiance", a jazz choir led by Tobi Crawford, as well as the school's Pop Ensemble as a drummer and vocalist. Another area she submerged herself in was the recording studio. She became a studio engineer, working in the studio for many hours a week, and even produced, engineered, and recorded her own song.

Her sophomore year at SMV, Kiersten participated in the vocal jazz group "First Take", the singer/songwriter ensemble "Multiplicity" as a multi-instrumentalist, the instrumental jazz ensemble "Townline Septet" as the drummer, and again studied many applied instruments. She also took on the role as a conductor in the school's Concert Choir. 

 

Throughout the past couple of years, Kiersten has performed at Noce Jazz Club in Des Moines, at Hoyt Sherman Place for The Manhattan Transfer, and toured throughout the midwest. She was also the live sound engineer for "First Take" during their performance at ACDA in Cincinnati, 2023, and performed with the group at the 2024 Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference in New Orleans. At the 2024 SMV Vocal Jazz Festival, Kiersten performed her own vocal jazz arrangement with "First Take", as well as guest artist Liala Biali. In 2023 and 2024, Kiersten won a DownBeat Student Music Award in the "Vocal Jazz Soloist" Category, and was also recognized by DownBeat for her original composition "Black-Eyed Susan" in the 2024 edition.

 

Most recently, Kiersten has performed with Gabriel Espinosa and his group "Ashanti" on their album release show, as well as several shows at Noce Jazz Club. She also performed in the 2023 Iowa City Jazz Festival, and will perform there again in 2024.

Kiersten graduated from SMV with her associates degree in Professional Music in May, and will continue her education in Rochester, New York this fall, studying under Sara Gazarek at Eastman School of Music. With her first single being released in July, Kiersten is very excited to continue recording and releasing her music, as well as take on many teaching and performance opportunities that come her way.

Photo taken at Jazz on 2nd in Cedar Rapids 06/22

Photo by Gabriel Cort

Photo by Kaylyn Hoskins

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