…an 11 track work which boasts 10 original compositions complemented by Papillion-Posey’s own, thought-provoking, introspective lyrics. With each record she continues to evolve, not just as a vocalist but as a noted lyricist, emerging arranger and composer. The three part title track, Better Angels, opens the record with a stand-alone prelude and main theme while the postlude book-ends the whole of the record. The prelude is inspired, in part, by French composer, pianist and conductor, Maurice Ravel’s most famous orchestral work, the “Bolero” which celebrated its 90 year premiere in 2018. The composition marries beautifully to Papillion-Posey’s gift for lyric writing as she asks the question(s), “Where are you? What kind of life is living you? What level of consciousness is doing you? Are you high with your Angels in the Utmost? DO you catch vibes doin’ the Most? Do you skate by in the Almost? Or, do you dwell in the abyss of the Guttermost?” giving way to the overarching theme and title choice of the entire record. Graduating from the Ravel-influenced main theme in the prelude, Papillion-Posey turns what was into what becomes a stellar, new creation of her own theme, still begging the questions, but now accompanied by new lyrical content which gives insight into the psychological platform from which she writes. The momentum of the main theme thrusts us into the almost random intro of the postlude as it morphs into a completely unrecognizable, sometimes cacophonous, fun, rockish, densely textured, free-for-all of sonic melodrama.
Supported by Papillion-Posey is her co-writer, music director, pianist; the humble but harmonically rich, incredibly talented, Solomon Chapman. She’s, again, joined by Brooklyn’s own, Eric Wheeler, a veritable beast on bass to the likes of Curtis Fuller, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cyrus Chestnut and Theo Crocker. Wheeler is featured on Papillion-Posey’s 2017, From the DEEP release in an intimate duo arrangement of Gershwin’s Summertime, hitting the UKVibe.org’s Top 20 Favorite Vocal Jazz Tracks of 2017. Completing her core group is the spry, exciting percussion of Matt Campbell on drums. Papillion-Posey couldn’t have been more honored than to have had special guest appearances from her long respected mentors and former music professors on this project | Grammy nominated, enigmatic composer, cornetist/ trumpeter, Ron Miles joins her on Pour Mon Âme (For My Soul), a heart-wrenching, musing ballad, sure to become a featured favorite while bassist, Ron Bland offers an appropriately fitting solo in La Bohème, a newly arranged tribute to the November, 2018 passing of French composer, lyricist and activist, Charles Aznavour, known as The Frank Sinatra of France. Also making guest appearances are marvelous, thoughtful, Anisha Rush on alto sax and the background, soprano sounds of the sublime, Christiana McMullen. *Special note of gratitude to Kari Clifton, cello and Talia Vlieger, violin for your wailin’, weepin’ woe on La Bohème.
Her 2017, sophomore recording, From the DEEP — was well received with her arrangement of Gershwin’s Summertime hitting the UKVibe.org’s Top 20 Favorite Vocal Jazz Tracks of 2017. The recording features 5 original compositions like the first single, The War of Art and Tell Me (Tell Me It’s Over) or the unforgettable, titillating, never-done-before, bossa nova arrangement of Bizet’s opera aria classic, the Habanera (L’amour est un oiseau rebelle). Her 2015, debut recording, The Standard Reimagined, when jazz, is a nostalgic, 12 track torch tribute to the era of the elegant, timeless, jazz siren and was co-produced by bassist and educator, Ken Walker. Both recordings were submitted and accepted for 2016 and 17 Grammy consideration-respectively. “Erica Papillion-Posey is best known as a very talented opera singer. However...on “The Standard Reimagined” she is also quite the skilled jazz vocalist. ...she does not sound like an opera singer taking the day off. While the power and perfect control of her voice is not surprising, since those are essential qualities for an opera singer, her subtlety, understanding of the lyrics and natural swing mark her THE fine jazz performer. ...she caresses the themes while infusing the songs with melodic improvising and appealing personality... with “The Standard Reimagined” the evidence...”— Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/ historian and author of 11 books including: The Jazz Singer, Jazz on Film and Jazz on Record 1917-76
In addition to her regular calendar of jazz performances and touring, Papillion-Posey maintains a classical schedule with memorable performances of her 2016 break-out role as Clara (Summertime) in the award winning, Aurora Fox Theatre production of Gershwin’s "Porgy and Bess" while just prior, dazzling audiences in 2015, in her signature role of Bizet’s gypsy vixen, Carmen in her Boulder Symphony Orchestra debut under the baton of maestro Devin Patrick Hughes. While making her 2013, professional North American debut with Miami Lyric Opera in what has become her signature role she, “… captured Carmen’s slinky sexiness, radiating allure and trouble... She had the vocal power to sing a soft, seductive "Habanera" in a hall-filling, rounded voice, lingering over the phrases as the men in the square watched. She snapped off the Spanish-style ornaments of the "Seguidilla", and was especially compelling in the lower register, where Carmen’s sultriness comes through…” [South Florida Classical Review]. After being hailed, “… the best Carmen this city has seen in decades” [El Nuovo Herald/Miami Herald]
In 2010, Ms. Papillion-Posey made her international operatic debut as Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica at the Tuscia Opera Festival, under the baton of maestro Stefano Vignati. The demand for her “wonderful voice… full of grace and sensuality and her fierce commitment to the character keeps European audiences wanting more.” [Arte & Musica Magazine] Other European performances include the title role of Carmen, the Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte both with the Tuscia Opera Festival, Annina in La Traviata with Teatro Kizmet Opera, and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with Siena Opera. Stateside, Ms. Papillion-Posey’s notable roles include her portrayal of Princess Akara in the world premiere of The Lady or the Tiger, an adaptation of Frank Stockton’s beloved short story by composers Cherise Leiter and Leanna Kirchoff. Ms. Papillion-Posey’s “purely exciting and rich voice” [Arte & Musica Magazine] was also featured as Baba in The Medium, Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte, and the title role in The Rape of Lucretia. A passionate concert artist and recitalist, her repertoire includes: Handel’s Messiah, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, the Verdi’s Requiem, the Mozart Requiem and Wagner’s Wesendonck Leider and Mahler’s Kindertoten Leider.
2014, Ms. Papillion-Posey was named a semi-Finalist to the Paris Opera Awards. 2013 year, she was named a Continuo Arts, Milton Cross Young Artists Winner after being named the organization’s Rising Star Young Artists Winner in 2012. Other accolades and awards include first and second place winner of the Vocal Arts Competition of Colorado, respectively in 2005 and 2006, International Lyric Academy of Rome e Viterbo Award, AMICI of Denver Scholarship, Dante Alighieri Music Scholarship Competition, Jeff Bradley Music Scholarship Fund, E. Stoddard Young Endowment Scholarship, Stratton Faulhaber Scholarship, Coulter Norbloom Scholarship Grant and Joseph Docksey Career Development Fund Award.
An avid writer and lover of the literary arts, November 2015, Ms. Papillion-Posey penned and released her first book, Musings from the Mind of a Mezzo: poetry & prose of passion, pain and plight, a compilation of deeply personal works which chronicle her experiences as a child of adoption, a woman and performing artist.
Ms. Papillion-Posey has a Master of Music degree and Certificate in Vocal Performance both from the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music, a Bachelor of Music from Metropolitan State University of Denver and an Associate of Business Management from Platt Business and Technical College. She is a member of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammys), Italian Institute of Denver, L’Alliance Française de Denver, Friends of Music at Metro and serves as board advisor on performing arts to Grand Design Inc.