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Jaden Carlson performing at the Fox Theatre. Image Courtesy of John Underwood Schum/Grateful Web

Three Young Colorado Musicians Making Headlines

They can rock as hard as (or harder than) the grown-ups.

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Many Colorado kids spend their summer breaks hiking, swimming, and s’mores-ing at camp. Not Jaden Carlson, Jessica Shand, and Emelise Muñoz. These local wunderkinds give “band camp” a whole new meaning: Over the next three months, they’ll perform at venues across the country—and the world. Meet the impressively young local musicians responsible for producing your summer soundtrack.


Jaden Carlson
Age: 16
Hometown: Lafayette
Genre: Electro-funk
Summer Shows: A series of concerts in North Carolina
What Carlson is listening to: Hiatus Kaiyote’s “Breathing Underwater”

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This prodigy has already reached a milestone many musicians work their entire careers to achieve: playing Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Twice. That’s probably because she started taking guitar lessons at age five, after seeing reggae-fusion group Michael Franti & Spearhead perform at Copper Mountain’s annual Sunsation concert. More than a decade later, Carlson has made four albums soaked in a kind of blues-rock sound that’s drawn comparisons to Grammy Award–winning group the Derek Trucks Band. This summer, Carlson is working on yet another album.

jessica-shand
17 year old Jessica Shand will be touring with the National Youth Orchestra this summer. Image courtesy of Lydia Lynn Photography

Jessica Shand
Age: 17
Hometown: Colorado Springs
Genre: Classical
Summer Shows: Touring Latin America with the National Youth Orchestra
What Shand is listening to: Ned McGowan’s “Cleveland Times”

An early love of Johann Sebastian Bach’s flute sonatas drove this young musician to her woodwind instrument. So far, she’s racked up plenty of national and international accolades, winning the National Flute Association’s 2016 award for best performance of a newly commissioned work and garnering a scholarship from the National YoungArts Foundation. On July 21, though, she’ll reach the pinnacle of her career thus far: playing at New York City’s Carnegie Hall.

Emelise-Muñoz
Emelise Muñoz will be recording her first EP in the next few months. Image courtesy of Brian Muñoz.

Emelise Muñoz
Age: 11
Hometown: Broomfield
Genre: Americana
Summer Shows: Solo performances at Swallow Hill Music (July 21) and the Muddy Buck in Evergreen (August 11)
What Muñoz is listening to: EmiSunshine’s “Folsom Prison Blues” cover

Emelise Muñoz’s soulful pipes have captivated audiences since she started performing at open mics when she was four. She gained even more clout this past February after winning Amateur Night at NYC’s Apollo Theater with a rafter-rattling rendition of the Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun.” Yet Muñoz’s biggest move will come in the next few months, when she heads to Nashville to record an EP of original material written with her father, Brian. That’s almost as monumental as getting ready to start sixth grade.

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