||: The journey of a Soulbird:||
Berklee alumna. composer. songstress
At the very beginning of her American Saga in '99,
Ivana auditioned for Berklee College Of Music among
1000 vocal candidates ~ Winning the highest international
talent scholarship award with honorary acceptance to Berklee.
Enrolling in the summer of 2000, Ivana's soulful heart became
The intro of life, when Berklee said "Yes" and the struggle to actually get there,
started with selling family"s piano in exchange for a single, cross-Atlantic
ticket to Boston.
two decades of a music life, intertwined with
the journey of a soulbird, is a unique story about a girl from a war-torn Serbia, who dreamed about studying at Berklee and later became a globally recognized vocalist and lecturer. A girl who played piano and sang since age of 4, and who auditioned for Berklee with her singing heart,
winning the highest international scholarship
awarded in Europe in 1999.
The intro of life, when Berklee said “Yes”, and the struggle to actually get there, started with selling her family’s only priced possession, a piano-
in exchange for a single
cross-Atlantic plane ticket to Boston.
That’s how Ivana came to study at Berklee,
unwrapping the musical dream,
as voice performance major, in the summer of 2000.
Somewhere in the arms of Berklee, teachers of Jazz, R&B and Gospel marched in and brainstormed Ivana's potential into a reality. As the first Serbian vocalist of that Era with profound deliverance of the Contemporary American Music Styles, Ivana's musicianship opened up
multi-gates to music collaborations at Berklee.
Through ensemble ratings that peaked among fellow singers, Ivana became a member and soloist of the Berklee Gospel Choir, participated in multiple high-ranked recitals and showcased her original compositions through a chain of recording projects and several artistic showcases such as
Jazz Vocal Series, presented by Prof. Maggie Scott.
Representing Berklee at Boston Jazz Society ,
has been a stellar accomplishment of Ivana's last attended semester at Berklee, where her vocals,
along with fellow Alumni Esperanza Spalding
on the double bass, shared the stage as Berklee jazz starlights.
Due to financial difficulties, Ivana had no choice but to leave her beloved Berklee family in 2004.
Upon returning home, Ivana was greeted with open arms
and perceived as a new ray of hope for
teaching contemporary American
vocal styles to a new generation of students.
Performance wise, her live debut appearances at native soil sky-rocketed her vocals into a solo performing career in Jazz, where she gained public recognition and media support as well as a noble acceptance in the Serbian circle of Elite Jazz.
In over a decade of teaching and guiding the young talents to enrich their vision of Berklee,
Ivana helped organize seminars and workshops, where she continued to build bridges with Berklee community by Having Alumni visiting artists and teachers coming to Serbia to inspire the new generation of Berklee candidates, (Gospel ensemble “Overjoyed” and Prof. Dennis Montgomery, just to name a few).
During the Berklee Scholarship Auditions in Serbia, Ivana was honored to accept the “Berklee Jury Seat”
along with Casey Driessen, Lupa Santiago, Jason Camelio and Gojko Damjanic.
In the upcoming years, Ivana became a U.S. citizen.
The honorary naturalization ceremony was held at the New York historical society,
where Ivana was invited to open the event
by performing the national anthem.
New York became ivana's permanent home and she had visions of completing her self-written and produced album, but unfortunately a blinding stroke of grief hit Ivana's reality on multiple levels.
The sudden loss of her father, followed a series of Severe Asthma onsets.
Surviving the airless challenge, Ivana came out stronger, as she slowly learned how to re-breathe and re-walk but unfortunately,
her voice hasn't.
Strong asthma therapies have completely taken over
Ivana's vocal folds, leaving her 4 octave instrument - a raspy silence.
It took years before Ivana would learn how to partially turn back to producing her own sound of speaking and (silent) singing.
# The Brand new heavies
In 2012 Ivana accepted the honor of becoming a background vocalist for the London based, Funksters and Acid Jazz genre pioneers, the famous "MTV award" winning artists
“The Brand New Heavies” and songstress “N’Dea Davenport".
Ivana literally “lived the dream” by becoming apart of their musical family.
Performing at the most eminent jazz and R&B venues and festivals in the World, including the "Essence Music Festival", "Blue Note Jazz Festival" and "Capital Jazz Festival”- to name a few,
it was a wish coming true for Ivana's musically-ached heart.
During these eminently surreal vocal journeys, Ivana performed side by side
and opened stages for names such as
George Duke and Stanley Clarke, Will Downing, Tamia, Oleta Adams and Toni Braxton.
In 2016, Ivana had her first U.S. National TV appearance with "The Brand New Heavies",
performing live on Fox5NY "Good Day New York".