Artist Spotlight: Pamela Hart

Black History Month

Artist Spotlight: Pamela Hart

Posted by on Feb 24, 2020

Pamela Hart was born and raised in Los Angeles, California in a household filled with jazz music.  With her mother’s encouragement to sing in front of family and friends her interest in music quickly evolved into a life long passion.

After graduating from UCLA with an economics degree in 1982 Pamela moved to Austin.  She began using the Austin Public Library to learn more about jazz legends such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and many others.  In order to perfect and study her craft, Pamela began to make appearances with Boyd Vance and others, but her first regular accompanist was Sandy Allen until his death.   She joined the Black Arts Alliance in 1991 and introduced to them the Black Women in Jazz Project.  In 1993 Pamela and her husband Kevin Hart formed HartBeat Productions and one year later they founded the Women in Jazz Association, Inc. with a mission to keep jazz alive. They went on to produce the semi-annual Women in Jazz Concert Series in 1994 which has been a staple for over 25 years.  The concert series also includes a Vocal Performance Workshop where Pamela and other professional vocalists and musicians share their knowledge and techniques.

Pamela has studied and learned from many along the way but she credits Dr. James Polk as being one of her greatest teachers and has worked with him since 1992. Throughout her career, Polk has provided her with many performance opportunities such as the European jazz festival tours including the Montreux, Vienne, and Juan des Pins Jazz festivals, with the Texas State University Jazz Band he directed. They have also worked together on several occasions including her Women in Jazz concert series and in she even enlisted his help for her first album  May I Come In,  released in 1998  by her own production HartBeat Productions company.

Pamela Hart has received many awards for her involvement in the community and as an accomplished performer including Austin Jazz Players and Critic’s Poll for Best Female Jazz Singer, the Connie Yerwood Conner National Woman of Achievement Award, Texas State University Outstanding Alumni Award and the list goes on. She has been named, “Austin’s First Lady of Jazz,” by the Austin Women’s Magazine and was inducted into the Austin Jazz Society Hall of Fame in 2018. Pamela spends a lot of time teaching and coaching young singers and has provided jazz vocal workshops at the Carver Museum, Children’s Museum, Doss Elementary, Davis Elementary, Sims Elementary, Crockett High School, and in private residences. Hart continues to build her legacy by performing, teaching, mentoring and inspiring and making a difference in the Austin Jazz music scene and in her community.

– Miles Bloxson, KUTX Host