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.

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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