Cat Shell

If genre-jumping was considered a test of athletic dexterity, Cat Shell would be an Olympic contender. That's evident in the way the Boca-based chanteuse nimbly treads the divide that intersects jazz, blues, pop, and country, excelling in all without compromising any. Though a 20-something might be a bit hazy when it comes to life's lessons and hardships, Shell sings with a soulfulness and passion that belies any lack of worldly wisdom. She might find a comfortable fit in a smoky cabaret; her sultry, sensuous vocals combine a come-hither allure with vulnerability.

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Shell's aptly titled album, Cat's Outta the Bag, reflects her remarkable versatility, but it's her live appearances that best demonstrate her dexterity. And just as she's become a familiar fixture on the South Florida club circuit, she's also made inroads into the national spotlight; in 2006, she became a top-five finalist in the VH1 Songwriting Contest after submitting "Night at Noon."

"I just want to make people feel good," Shell told New Times in an interview last year. "If I can provoke a smile, some finger snapping, a hand tapping on the steering wheel, then I've done my job." Give her credit for a job well done.

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