Best Vocalist (Female)
Channy Moon Casselle
In the five years since she formed Roma di Luna with her husband, Alexei (a formidable singer, writer, and rapper in his own right), Channy Moon Casselle has grown from a shell-shocked chanteuse sighing sweetly over an acoustic guitar into a serious soul singer fronting a stomping, swinging live band. Casselle can belt it with the best of 'em, but where she surpasses similar modern singers like Florence and the Machine and Sharon Jones is in her ability to scale her voice down to barely a whisper and crank it back up to 11 again, harnessing her vocal dynamic with incredible control and timing each note to give it maximum emotional heft. That some of her best vocal performances of the year were one-off appearances aimed squarely at the heart—a cameo at the memorial for Micheal Larsen, where she delivered a wrenching cover of the Flaming Lips' "Do You Realize?"; a guest spot during the encore of Gayngs' gig at First Avenue, where she brought down the house singing Sade's "By Your Side"—speaks to her versatility and incomparable vocal abilities. Something tells us Casselle's upswing is only just beginning.