Alexis Cole was born in Queens, NY, on January 28, 1976. Her family has a long history of musical endeavors, starting with her grandmother on her mother's side, who was a pianist and singer of jazz standards, and initially taught Alexis "Pennies from Heaven" and other American popular songs. Her father, also a pianist, singer, and composer, gave her initial piano lessons, albeit briefly. Moving with the family to Florida, Cole was a member of the all-county, all-state, and high-school choirs, and attended the New World School of the Arts on a Young Arts Scholarship, graduating in 1994. In addition, she took private voice lessons, theater training, psychology, philosophy, writing, and history classes, all of which formed a basis for her world viewpoint. She did her first professional engagements as a teenager at a hotel in South Beach.
Initially enrolling at the University of Miami in their jazz studies program, Cole returned to the New York area, attaining her B.A. in music in 1996 at William Patterson University in New Jersey, tutored by Nancy Marano and Todd Coolman, and studied classical voice with Nan Guptil-Crain, who was also a big spiritual influence. In 2006, Cole earned her M.A. from Queens College, and then taught privately at the 92nd Street YMCA in N.Y.C. before becoming a resident instructor at the University of San Francisco, the University of North Carolina, back at Queens College, and eventually at the Berklee School of Music satellite program in Quito, Ecuador. She has performed with the likes of Rufus Reid, Slide Hampton, Ron Affif, John Hebert, Norma Winstone, and Harry Pickens; has played many area clubs; and has traveled and taught in locales worldwide. She has been a participant in the Jazz India Vocal Institute and Art of Jazz in Toronto; has lived and worked in Tokyo, Japan; and was the music director of the Jan Hus Presbyterian Church in N.Y.C. from 2004-2006. Alexis Cole is the recipient of the Jazzmobile Vocal Competition top prize, and has received several grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi