My Story

Vocalist, composer, and arranger, Emma Hedrick, 21, is a Senior at University of Miami’s Frost School of Music where she is a member of the award-winning Extensions vocal jazz ensemble under the direction of Dr. Kate Reid. A native to Indianapolis, Emma has performed at The Benedict Music Tent (Aspen) as the vocalist for the Aspen Summer JAS Academy, The Telluride Jazz Festival, The Jazz Kitchen (Indianapolis), Indy Jazzfest, The Cabaret (Indianapolis), The New World Center (Miami), Open Stage Club (Miami) and The Baryshnikov Center (NYC). Emma aspires to take her audiences through the story of each song she sings and strives to use the voice in traditional and nontraditional ways. She is inspired by the jazz greats including Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Josephine Baker and Betty Carter. 

Emma’s formal musical journey began at the age of nine performing in the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. With this choir, she had the opportunity to perform at various prestigious venues around Indianapolis and to travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall. During a unit on jazz music, she was first introduced to the music of Duke Ellington and immediately knew that she needed to investigate this music further. 

Shortly after, Emma formed her first trio and began gigging around Indianapolis and her hometown of Carmel. Performing with this trio was her crash course in arranging, composition and bandleading. At this time, her interest in French music and culture was solidified and has continued to be an important creative influence on her music. She also began studying with Erin Benedict (Butler University, Jazz Voice), Dr. Gary Walters (Butler University professor, Jazz Piano), and Maggie Arcoleo (Classical Voice).  

Additionally in high school, in 2017 and 2018 Emma was a National YoungArts winner in Jazz Voice and a 2017 GRAMMY jazz camp finalist for voice. She attended the New York Regional YoungArts program in April 2018. In the summer of 2018, Emma performed at the Telluride Jazz Festival as the vocalist for the Telluride Jazz All Stars. 

Emma has a passion for multi-disciplinary collaborations. In 2018, Emma composed an original score and song, "You've Been On My Mind", for a short film, directed by Justin Park.  She is the vocalist and pianist for the recording as well.  This won the “Best Original Score" award at the All American High School Film Festival. 

Emma is a four-time DownBeat Student Music Award Winner.  In 2017 and 2018, DownBeat Magazine named Emma the national winner for their annual Student Music Awards in the high school vocal jazz soloist category.  In 2020, she was a member of the Frost Woman's Vocal Jazz Ensemble, a small vocal jazz ensemble, who won Outstanding Performance in the undergraduate college category. In 2021 Emma was recognized with an Outstanding Performance in the Undergraduate Vocal Jazz Soloist Category.

Most recently, in 2021, Emma was honored with the title of Presser Scholar, a prestigious academic and music based scholarship funded by the Presser Foundation. In 2019, Emma was named a top-five finalist in the International Ella Fitzgerald Vocal Competition held in Washington, DC.  She placed 3rd in the competition.

Respecting the history of jazz in Indianapolis and learning the stories as well as engaging with this history is something that is important to Emma. She has had the privilege to share the stage with many esteemed Indianapolis-based musicians including Rob Dixon, Everett Greene, Nick Tucker, Kenny Phelps, and Steve Allee. Emma is grateful for the support of these musicians in her journey and that they continue to share and pass along the responsibility of keeping the Indy scene vibrant. Emma was a member of the Indianapolis Jazz Futures and continues to engage with the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation. Additionally, Emma was a docent at The Great American Songbook Foundation for the Songbook Exhibit Gallery at The Palladium in Carmel, IN for their exhibits on the Andrews Sisters and Ella Fitzgerald. 

Emma gives back to the community by performing on a regular basis at community events, local nursing homes, and homeless shelters.  She was a member of Perfect Harmony, a part of Michael Feinstein's The Great American Songbook Foundation. With Perfect Harmony, a music program that collaborates with Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers, Emma performed jazz standards weekly for residents of local nursing homes. 

Emma also enjoys teaching and sharing the music she loves with younger students. She is currently a TA for the Miami Children's Chorus’s contemporary choirs. She teaches at the Miami Community Arts Program (voice, piano, and songwriting) and the Barrett School of Music as well. Emma was a vocal jazz TA for the Butler Summer Jazz Camp. 

Currently, Emma is attending the University of Miami Frost School of Music studying studio music and vocal jazz on a Presidential Music scholarship. At this University, she has studied in the studios of Dr. Charlie Christenson (Jazz Voice),  Alison Wedding (Jazz Voice), Dr. Kate Reid (Jazz Voice). 

Emma enjoys being outside in nature hiking, running, and practicing yoga. While growing up in Indiana, she spent her free time outside playing and exploring. She thinks it is important to connect with this curiosity and awe of the natural world and tries to incorporate the fearlessness of exploration in her music.

Awards/Festivals

2021

Presser Foundation Presser Scholar 2021

Downbeat Student Music Award - Outstanding Performance Vocal Jazz Soloist (Undergraduate College)  

2020

Riga Jazz Stage 2020 International Jazz Artist Contest - Semi-Finalist Voice 

Downbeat Student Music Award - Outstanding Performance Small Vocal Jazz Group (Undergraduate College) 

Aspen Summer JAS Academy 2020 selected Vocalist

2019

Awards 

Top Five Finalist and 3rd place winner in the International Ella Fitzgerald Vocal Competition 

Festivals 

Indy Jazzfest (NextGen headliner)

2018

Awards 

DownBeat Magazine 41th Annual Student Music Award, Winner, Vocal Jazz Soloist, High School 

National YoungArts Competition Winner in Jazz Voice 

Winner, Best Original Score, All American High School Film Festival 

William H Duke Memorial Scholarship for the Performing Arts Award Recipient 

Telluride Jazz All Star 

Festivals 

Telluride Jazz Festival

2017

Awards 

DownBeat Magazine 40th Annual Student Music Award, Winner, Vocal Jazz Soloist, High School 

National YoungArts Competition Winner in Jazz Voice 

Grammy Camp Jazz Sessions Finalist 

New York Voices Summer Camp Scholarship Recipient 

Festivals 

Indy Jazz Fest