Born in Guildford, UK, Anita moved to Australia with her family as a child. Anita's formative years were spent soaking up the Rodgers and Hammerstein and Cole Porter classics. She also explored her father's collection of big band albums by Duke Ellington, Count Basie and many more.
During her teens, she started to get to grips with the complexities of modern Jazz when she discovered Clifford Brown, Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. At the same time she learned her vocal craft from greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Mark Murphy, Carmen McRae, Betty Carter, Jon Hendricks and Eddie Jefferson and many more.
After attending secondary School she completed her degree in Music at the Adelaide University. In 1990, Anita relocated back to the UK where she studied at the Guildhall school of music and drama.
Anita's recording career began in 1995 with her CD, Why do you Cry? featuring pianist Liam Noble.
In 1998 she released Straight Ahead with international star pianist Jason Rebello. Japan's most popular jazz publication, Swing Journal, gave its endorsement, writing, "she's the real thing who can fluently scat and
Her longstanding musical relationship with pianist Robin Aspland started with the release of Until The Stars Fade in 2001 also featuring the exciting US drummer Gene Calderazzo and Jeremy Brown on bass. Jazzwise Magazine called her “energetic and inventive” while The Guardian proclaimed her “a model of the Jazz singer’s art”, highlighting her clarity, improvisational skills and emotional resonance.
In 2004 she teamed up with tenor saxophonist, Benn Clatworthy, and recorded If You Never Come to Me. Anita was signed to Proper Records in 2006 and recorded Noted (2006) and Kinda Blue (2008). Her latest album.
Anita received the prestigious BBC Jazz Award for Best of Jazz category in 2006 and a British Jazz award for Best Vocalist in 2013. This, coupled with the release of The Road has propelled Anita into the major artist arena. She has performed with many wonderful artists including Richie Cole, Ulf Wakenius, Bill Carruthers, Jim Mullen, Norma Winstone, John Di Martino, Martin Wind, Matt Wilson and Art Hirahara. She has also been a guest on many local and international recordings.
Anita Wardell, is noted for her mesmerizing and captivating vocal improvisations and vocalese lyrics to instrumental solos. Anita is a musician who uses the voice as her instrument, displaying precision and agility, mixed with heartfelt emotion.
Her newest release "The Road" 2013 showcases Anita's agility and precision through a voice that soars like a finely tuned instrument. Pianist and long time collaborator Robin Aspland's inventive re-workings of standards such as "You're My Thrill," "Surrey With The Fringe On Top" and "Without A Song" leave room for some exciting and swinging improvisations - whilst Stevie Wonder's "Superwoman," Bobby Hutcherson's "Mirrors" and Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays' "Travels" show a more contemporary side of Wardell"
Besides an extensive tour of Australia early 2017 and the US in October 2017 Anita has a new CD due for release on Dario Di Lecce’s “Out Front Records” label in late Autumn 2017. “A Strange New Street”
Recorded in Bari, Italy, featuring Bruno Montrone (p), Guido di Leone (g), Dario Di Lecce (b) and Pasquale Fiore (d) and guest vocalist Stefania Arcieri.
It’s an album of reworked standards, all jointly arranged by the band and Anita. Anita is really looking forward to touring this in the UK, Germany, Italy and the United States.”