“What if we had a culture of support, rather than a culture of competition? I believe in creating alliances in the music and artistic community.”

Amy Dabalos is coming into her own. Sassy and sultry, deeply serious, playful. Confident and elegant, yet earthy and approachable. On stage, she cooly switches personas, her classical training in jazz and opera bringing depth and range to her work. Her covers of artists like Aaliyah, Madonna, The Beatles, and Stevie Wonder have the crowds up and dancing in the aisles. And now she’s introducing audiences to original pieces, as well.

Affirmations, an EP released this summer with her newly formed band, The Vibrant Things, adds two new recordings to her catalogue: “Believe in Love” and “Forgive You, Release You.” The mood is introspective: the jazz rhythms are cool, her voice liquid honey.

Dabalos’ music is rich with complexity. Of her lyrical “Paint The Scenes,” a previously released original single, she says, “It’s about the choices we have and do not, what we can control and what we cannot, the need to tell one’s own story. My style is more message driven, rather than first person.” The song is a multilayered exploration of what it means to build a life in a world of chance and uncertainty.

In the midst of building her own career, Dabalos is also in the business of nurturing other artists. She hosts Musicians Meet: San Jose, which aims to foster deeper connections between musicians and other artists in the creative community. “Friendships with musicians go beyond the hustle,” she explains. “What if we had a culture of support, rather than a culture of competition?” She has also become curator of the weekly live jazz night Rhythm + Wine in downtown San Jose’s Continental Bar.

With her dual commitment to her own artistry and that of the music community, the scene that Amy is painting is sure to be a satisfying one.

instagram: amyd_music

Article originally appeared in Issue 7.3 Style.