Nanette's musical career began in 1962 as a classical singer with the Helen Hayes Young People's Theater Guild, performing at Judson and Cami Halls in New York City.
She then went on to work the Bitter End Coffee House Circuit, performing her own material in a rhythmic blues/rock style. She sang and played her guitar at universities and concert halls throughout the country. In the 70s, she recorded for Vanguard and later for Evolution Records. During this period, she worked with several notable contemporary artists including Mahalia Jackson, Odetta, Bonnie Raitt and Rick Nelson and made numerous TV appearances, including an interview with Barbara Walters on The Today Show.
An active presence on the East Coast club circuit, Nanette played such venues as the Gaslight, the Bitter End, The Orpheum Theater, and Café Au Go Go, among others.
In the late 1970s, during a pop recording session of Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady" at Columbia Recording Studios, Nanette changed the phrasing of the song dramatically and was told by the engineer (who had worked with many Columbia jazz artists) that she "had the soul of a jazz singer." That moment was a turning point in her musical life.
Those words were an inspiration. Feeling creatively stifled by the big record companies, Nanette dissolved her contracts, formed her own record label and focused on developing her unique personal musical expression. Since then, her commitment to her music and sound has been absolute. Her record label Benyo Music Productions has released eight albums; see Discography.
Nanette became a strong influence on the downtown jazz scene from 1977 – mid 80s, with long stints at the Tin Palace and Seventh Avenue South in New York City. Her musical sophistication, dynamic vocal style and personal connection to live audiences make her performances unforgettable.
She is a composer of merit and a dedicated, true jazz singer who sees the voice as an instrument and has complete mastery of scatting, phrasing and improvising through complex chord changes. The measure of success to Nanette has always been the integrity of the art. Her live performances have a strong element of pure, spontaneous improvisation that dips fluidly into soul and blues.
Her growing reputation in the field of jazz is reflected in Bruce Crowther's and Mike Pinfold's "Singing Jazz: The Singers and Their Styles," where she is praised for her style and teaching practices. She teaches with the same dedication and vigor that she brings to her live performances.
"A New York City sound that is marinated in jazz." Nanette's music has always defied categories. A socially conscious songwriter, there is always a message in her music: reflecting the political movements sweeping through college campuses in the 70s as well as the growing activist movements of today. Currently she is co-producing and composing the music for a documentary film about activism, "Dancin' In the Streets: A Celebration of Resistance in the New Millennium."