Born on tour into a musical family, Mindi Abair was playing piano by the age of five. Within three years, she was playing saxophone and writing songs.
She made her way through Berklee performing all kinds of music from jazz to rock and R&B. Upon moving back to Los Angeles, Abair started her own band. She also took on session work with artists as diverse as the Gap Band
, Adam Sandler
, Mandy Moore
, John Tesh
, Teena Marie
, and the Backstreet Boys
. During this time, she worked on creating her own sound and released her debut disc in 1999. The Backstreet Boys
connection really paid off for her, and her website and CD (entitled Love) took off. The year 2000 saw the release of the follow-up, Always and Never the Same, and shortly thereafter, Abair signed with GRP Records
. A sophomore effort, It Just Happens That Way, was issued in 2003. "Lucy's," "Save the Last Dance," and the album's title track went on to impact Top Ten radio. A year later, Abair returned with Come as You Are, her second set produced with her writing partner Matthew Hager
. In 2006, Abair released Life Less Ordinary, which featured guest vocals from Lalah Hathaway
and Keb' Mo'
, and also performed at the Governor's Ball, the official Oscars afterparty. The following year, she appeared on guitarist Peter White
's (with whom she had performed frequently) Christmas album, but 2008 saw a return to her solo material (and an introduction to Abair as a singer) with Stars. In 2010, Abair delivered the soul-jazz-inspired In Hi-Fi Stereo, which once again featured a mix of instrumental jazz with a few Abair vocal numbers. Abair returned in 2014 with her seventh studio album, Wild Heart, which featured guest spots from Keb' Mo'
, Joe Perry
, Booker T. Jones
, and Gregg Allman
. It debuted at number one on the jazz album chart, and received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.