As a kid growing up in Kansas City, Brenna Whitaker fell in love with the music of jazz and blues singers from a long-ago era. "Ruth Brown, Peggy Lee, Cab Calloway, Etta James - those are my people," says the L.A.-based vocalist. "I don't even know how I ended up knowing so many of their songs and standards from back then. It's almost like they found their way to me, like I'm from another time." 

After landing her first professional theater gig at age 11, moving to New York City on her own to study with Broadway veterans at age 17, and spending her early 20s leading jazz bands back home in Missouri, Whitaker headed to L.A. and started setting up a series of residencies that eventually attracted fans like Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, and Michael Bublé and caught the attention of Verve Music Group chairman and 16-time Grammy Award-winner David Foster. The first new artist Foster has agreed to develop and produce since discovering Bublé, Whitaker is now set to release a debut album for Verve that finds her reviving a vast American jukebox of classic songs and revealing the full force of her stunning, soulful voice.