For those watching the Presidential Inauguration yesterday it was hard not to notice the soaring and powerful solo delivered by a member of the incredible Brooklyn Tabernacle Chorus. It turns out that the young woman belting out her stunning section of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” was Marine Park’s Alicia Olatuja, according to a report in the New York Daily News.
The 30-year-old from Marine Park soared above the escalating refrains of the expert choir, mixing elements of classical, jazz, gospel and pop into her fluid lilts.
“It was just so surreal,” Olatuja said. “It was such a privilege to be a part of that event, with all the members of the choir. At many moments I had to ask myself, ‘Is this really happening?’ ”
… Olatuja’s solo turn hardly ranks as her first. After graduating from music school at the University of Missouri in 2005, the St. Louis-born singer came straight to New York to plow a career.
After getting her master’s degree, she began playing city clubs from Joe’s Pub to the 92nd Street Y. Along the way, she has performed at venues as prestigious as Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Olatuja also plays in an Afro-jazz band called The Olatuja Project with her husband, Michael.