Cumberland teen's voice takes him to Grammys

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CUMBERLAND — You might say Myles Nuzzi made a wise choice a few years ago when he decided to focus on his vocal skills.

The 17-year-old Greely High School senior is among 30 students from around the U.S. selected to participate in the Grammy Camp-Jazz Session program in Los Angeles next week. As part of that program, the Cumberland resident will attend the Grammy awards ceremony and perform at several events during Grammy Week.

Both a jazz singer and jazz trumpeter, Nuzzi is one of only eight students to participate in the vocal ensemble. While he tends to sing baritone, he had to choose between tenor and bass for the ensemble and will sing the latter.

“It’s easier to try to sing lower notes than to try to sing higher notes, so I felt safer going with bass,” he said.

Nuzzi, who recently performed in the Maine Jazz All-State Festival in Scarborough, submitted an audition DVD for the Grammy event last October, not expecting to get in. He was elated to learn the next month that he had earned a highly coveted spot at Grammy Week.

“It was opening night of our fall musical,” he said. “It was ‘Grease,’ and I played Danny, so it was like, I had that to focus on … it was the most overwhelming day of my entire life.”

Nuzzi, who is president of the Student Council and a class officer, reported Tuesday that he will attend the University of Southern California this fall to major in vocal jazz performance.

USC is closely affiliated with the Grammy program, he said.

Grammy Week events at which he will perform include an appearance at “Grammy in the Schools Live! A Celebration of Music & Education” at USC on Feb. 8. They will also attend the 54th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 12, perform at its after-party, and record at Capitol Studios & Mastering in Hollywood.

Although he has been singing all his life, Nuzzi said he began to focus more on it during his sophomore year. The trumpet player had braces that year, and “when you play trumpet, it makes it a lot more difficult to play, so I kind of turned to singing as my musical outlet instead, and then I realized I liked it more,” he said.

Nuzzi, who counts Chet Baker, Frank Sinatra and Jason Mraz among his musical heroes, noted that there are many improvisational ideas on the trumpet that he could not play; he found, though, that he could sing the parts.

Now, just a short time later, his vocal abilities are taking him places. One special performance he and the other Grammy students will give will be a “person of the year” dinner and concert on Feb. 10. Paul McCartney is the celebrated person this time around, so maybe Nuzzi will find himself brushing shoulders with a Beatle.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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Myles Nuzzi of Cumberland, a senior at Greely High School, is among 30 students from around the U.S. selected to participate in the Grammy Camp-Jazz Session program in Los Angeles next week.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.