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Nicole & Dan

Nicole & Dan

Grammy® Nominated New York based musician and winner of the 2021 American Traditions Vocal Competition Gold Medal Nicole Zuraitis blends clever songwriting skills, an effervescent presence and dazzling vocals in a consummate package that has thrilled audiences across Manhattan and across the world. If recently you happened upon Greenwich Village’s 55 Bar or Birdland Jazz Club and were enchanted by the seismic versatile talent of inspired vocalist, keyboard player and songwriter Nicole Zuraitis, you’re officially part of the lady-powerhouse burgeoning fan club.

Nicole was nominated dually with her husband Dan Pugach in the 61st annual Grammy® Awards for their version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. Connecticut Magazine listed her in their “40 under 40 Class of 2020” and the WOW Forum hosted her as a guest of honor in the fall of 2019. Forbes Magazine featured her Covid Crisis pivot project Virtual Piano Lounge Plus one in October 2020. She is the vocalist for the world famous Birdland Big Band in New York City and her album Hive Mind won Best Jazz Album in the 2018 International Music and Entertainment Awards. In 2016 she won the New York City Songwriting Competition Coffee Music Project, in 2015 was the second runner-up in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition and in 2014 won the Herb Alpert ASCAP Young Composer Award. Nicole won the Gold Medal, Ben Tucker Jazz Award, People’s Choice and Johnny Mercer Award in the National American Traditions Vocal Competition. Her brand new project, Generations of Her: Women Songwriters and Lyricists of the last 100 years has sold out both the Birdland Theater and the Cell Theater in New York within months of its conception. Nicole has headlined Birdland, the Blue Note (NYC) and maintains residencies at the 55 Bar (every second Thursday of the month), Rockwood Music Hall (with the Dan Pugach Nonet), and Redeye Grill. Audiences love Nicole’s limitless enthusiasm, but that’s only part of her story; only part of her talent.

While pursuing a career that has spanned jazz, pop and classical, Nicole has collaborated with Cyrille Aimee, Thana Alexa, Dave Stryker, Livingston Taylor, Tom Chapin, Omar Hakim, Melanie Safka, Helen Sung and Bernard Purdie. She’s performed at festivals nationwide, and has recorded two albums: 2013’s Pariah Anthem and 2009’s Spread The Word, both releases featuring the cream of New York’s jazz hierarchy. Her newest album ALL WANDERING HEARTS released in May 2020 with Dot Time Records.

Nicole’s album Hive Mind (Dot Time Records), chronicles themes close to her heart, including an unflinching love of family and friends delivered with a sincere spirit. After hearing Hive Mind, you’d expect nothing less from this NYU trained classical vocalist and Connecticut born songwriter who swings hard as she brings listeners under her enveloping musical wings.

She has two self-released albums, including the 2013 release Pariah Anthem and the 2009 release Spread The Word In December 2018, she released a live duo album with guitarist Brandon Scott Coleman called “Live at the Two Headed Calf”.

Nicole is a faculty member of the Litchfield Jazz Camp. She has taught songwriting and jazz vocal workshops worldwide, including the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in India, Israel Embassy, Australian consulate, high school and college workshop residencies and masterclasses at the University of North Texas and the Berklee College of Music in Boston. She was featured in a video interview by Columbia News Tonight as "New Yorker of the week" for her work with music and shelter animals and hopes to continue giving back by raising awareness for the mental health stigma.