Rafael Hovanesian is a jazz singer and songwriter. He was born on September 6, 1991 in Yerevan, Armenia. Rafael has been inspired by Jazz since early childhood being impressed by the music of the legendary Louis Armstrong. The very first time he appeared on stage was in a children music show on Armenian Public Television 'Do-Re-Mi' in 1999, when he was only eight years old. He took private vocal lessons at Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory (YSC) and graduated the College of State Song Theatre of Armenia in 2011. At that time he also got a bachelor's degree of the 'Faculty of International Relations' from Yerevan State University (YSU) and then left the master's degree course to pursue a career as a jazz vocalist. In Armenia, Rafael has studied under one of the most popular and renowned Armenian contemporary jazz musicians Vahagn Hayrapetyan (piano player, composer, singer). Rafael has cooperated with the Armenian State Jazz Big Band. He has performed with some other leading Armenian jazz bands at famous jazz clubs and concert venues of Yerevan. Rafael Hovanesian has performed in the USA and Europe, he has shared the stage with well-known jazz musicians such as Brian Charette, Vinzenz Kummer, Matt Fishwick, Vahagn Hayrapetyan, Zaid Nasser, Tomáš Vrtek, Ari Roland, Oliver Kent etc. Rafael Hovanesian has also studied with the legendary vocal jazz master Marion Cowings in New York City. Rafael lists his influences as Johnny Hartman, Mark Murphy, Joe Williams, Chet Baker, Mel Torme, Bobby McFerrin and Kurt Elling. The minimalism and emotion of Charles Aznavour was also very influential. He is deeply inspired by the music of the legendary Armenian jazz diva Elvina Makarian, whom he calls as his 'musical mother', and renowned Armenian jazz singer Datevik Hovanesian. Rafael has received the praises of jazz masters such as Brian Charette, Barry Harris, Marion Cowings, Paul Bollenback, Vinzenz Kummer, Bill Warfield, Gavin Skeggs etc. Rafael Hovanesian currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
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