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Author and composer Toni Jannotta

Toni Jannotta started as a dancer, became an actress, performed in children's theater, sang in musical theater, and ended up in jazz clubs. She has written jazz tunes and performed in the U.S. and abroad.

Her current project turned her into an author and composer. "My Little Heart, Ruthie" is an illustrated story rhyme with a narrated, jazz-inspired CD to go with it. Toni lives with her piano and violin in Southern California.

"For many years I simply made vocal jazz CD's. I just wanted to make my music and get paid. It was all very simple. And then in 2010, I was awarded an arts grant called an "Artist in the Community Partnership Grant." I was supposed to take this grant and use it to help with some community problem. Frankly, I didn't think I had much to offer but I submitted a proposal anyway. My idea was to create a live performance where jazz improvisers helped the homeless tell their stories. And I got the grant. And I started serving the homeless. The entire experience touched me so deeply that I was hooked. I knew then that my future in writing and music would be to help and heal." - read our interview with Toni Jannotta in The Crazy Mind magazine.

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