Lucia's Bio

Lucia HeadshotLucia Newell was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on March 13, 1952 (a double Pisces and double Dragon). She lived and attended school there until 1968, when she moved to New York City. After graduating from high school, where she was continuously involved in plays and musicals, choirs, garage bands and choral groups throughout her youth, Lucia joined a political theatre group called At the Foot of the Mountain, conceived of and directed by Paul and Martha Boesing and the American Friends Service Committee. During these years she met John Franzen, and they created a contemporary classical group consisting of guitar, flute, violin and voice, called the Albatross Quartet, which played concerts around the Twin Cities. She studied voice with Janis Hardy, a mezzo soprano then singing with the Minnesota Opera, and sang in the chorus of the Opera in their production of Candide. She sang background vocals on albums, radio jingles, and began a career of voice-over work.

During this time, Lucia began singing jazz with the Kevin Hoidale Sextet, and in a group called Four. She then made her first jazz recording demo at Creation Audio, the studio of Steve Wiese, who would later become Newell’s husband. She spent time singing in clubs and concerts, and in the studio, traveling between Minneapolis and Los Angeles. She also sang R&B and pop music in This Masquerade, but found her true love in bebop and the jazz standard repertoire. Her gypsy nature took her to Europe, and in 1978 to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she sang for two years with Osmar Milito, Nilson Matta, Everaldo Ferreira and Marcio Lotts at Clube 21, and with Celia Vaz and the Rio Jazz Orchestra, her first big band experience. There she met and performed with many wonderful Brazilian and international jazz artists, and studied Brazilian percussion with Café. After a period in Buenos Aires, Argentina she moved to Mexico City with Luiz Eça, José Alves and Claudio Caribé in early 1981 to perform for six months at El Señorial.

Lucia’s next move was back to Los Angeles to study jazz at the Dick Grove School of music, where she stayed until returning to Minneapolis in the summer of 1982, where she has lived ever since. She sang backgrounds on several projects for ‘Jimmy Jam’ Harris, Terry Lewis and Monte Moir of Flyte Time, and on many other projects. She has remained busy with both voice-over work as well as live performance and studio singing, teaching, and continues with her life long study of music. Lucia is married to her friend and partner of twenty-three years, Steven Wiese, and is the proud mother of high schooler Collin Wiese.

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