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          “Serendipity”, is truly the only way to describe the convergence of the four talented voices that create the newest, Nashville-based jazz vocal group, JALAJERU. But let’s be clear, LaLa Deaton, Jessica Heim, Russell Hospedales, and James Richardson are far from your ordinary, everyday vocalists. 


          Sure, they each bring incredibly rich performance experience from their years of work in the Nashville, New York and Los Angeles music scene, some performing backup with Country and Pop music’s most recognized names, to writing and arranging hit songs or even entertaining thousands at sea for some of the largest cruise lines in the world, but even that really doesn’t come close to describing how these four voices, when blended, create the unique sound you’ll enjoy with JALAJERU. 


          The JALAJERU fusion of talent and technique coupled with their writing and arranging makes their vocal style a rare experience for vocal jazz enthusiasts.

          James Richardson grew up in Milford, MI, a village west of Detroit and began singing three-part harmony and playing acoustic music in a folk and bluegrass trio with his twin brother, Shaun and his cousin, Carmen. As a teenager, James began to fall in love with jazz harmony and vocal improvisation. Obtaining a bachelor’s in Jazz Studies at Western Michigan University, Richardson has immense experience as a multi-talented vocalist, performing with notable artists Deborah Brown, Randy Brecker, Chico Pinheiro, and Ben Folds with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Moreover, his vocal jazz stylings have been recognized by Downbeat Magazine in 2016 and 2017 and the Nashville Industry Music Awards (NIMA) in 2020. Peter Eldridge of the New York Voices describes James as “one of those rare people who has it all going on - talent beyond measure, a uniquely compelling vocal sound, and an openness and creativity weaving through his singing and songwriting.” 

          LaLa Deaton is a Nashville Pop country and big band jazz singer-songwriter, producer and session singer with two studio albums, an array of awards and production, songwriting and arranging credits to her name. LaLa began her solo recording career with her pop/country EP, Dare, followed by her industry-praised, all-original, 1940s-style, self-produced big band Christmas album, “Christmassing: New Classics for the Old Soul.” LaLa made her Grand Ole Opry in 2018, and in 2019, was nominated for Australia’s Golden Guitar Award for “Traditional Country Album of the Year” by artist Angus Gill, on which she had the title track, “Welcome to My Heart.” Her music has been featured in film and TV and her songs have been recorded and performed by more than 30 artists. When she's not making her own music, you can find her doing session work, touring and performing at festivals across the country, as well as writing and arranging for her jazz quartet, JaLaJeRu. 

          Singer, actress, puppeteer, host and model Jessica Heim began her career in the Music City Scene session singing and performing with country music artists and songwriters. In 2008, she accepted her first contract as a featured vocalist on a major cruise line and traded her “land life” for a nomadic one on the sea and beyond. Between cruise ship contracts, she moved to New York City and sang and danced on Sesame Street Live! international tour, at theme parks and in national and statewide tour and industrial productions. Jessica most recently returned to Nashville from the Czech Republic where she was featured as a vocal headliner for the fourth year. When she isn’t world adventuring, Jessica’s sure to be in the Nashville vicinity making music with her JALAJERU vocal quartet family, getting groovy in a 70s show, creating colorful art in all its forms in her youth musical development and entertainment classes, emoting from a theater stage near you and ultimately, fulfilling her desire to share her ardor for the human race’s musical ties with all generations. 

          With pipes as smooth as velvet and a style reminiscent of the greats of old, Jazz crooner Russell Hospedales is often referred to by his musical peers as “Buttah”. His presence, vocal prowess, and ability to mesmerize and captivate audiences everywhere he goes have garnered comparisons to SINATRA in his prime. A strong fascination for radio jingles as well as the harmonies that accompanied them, compelled Russell to start arranging at the young age of 13, and inspired him to incorporate what he was hearing into the material he is currently singing in JALAJERU. Russell studied at The Brooklyn Conservatory Of Music in New York City. He has sung with various vocal groups throughout the years thus making a name for himself both as a solo singer and a vocal arranger in NYC and the Nashville area. His arrangements have become well known for their intricate and chromatic stylings and lush voicings which his fans and colleagues refer to as “one of a kind genius".

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