Ken Leighton 8 p.m., Feb. 21
RIYL: Sara Bareilles
Influences: Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Carole King
Singer/songwriter (and yoga instructor) Alisha Zalkin grew up in San Diego, performing musical theater at Torrey Pines High School and singing opera at the Jewish Community Center with her Eastern European Jewish grandmother. Her grandmother was the youngest opera singer to be admitted into the Vienna School of music, but she was unable to attend because her family was forced to flee the country during WWII before she could enroll. Zalkin learned about Mariachi music from her Mexican grandmother.
In summer 2012, at the age of 25, Zalkin released her EP March To a Different Beat. The title track is dedicated to her father, who struggled as the son of two Holocaust survivors and as the first-generation American of his family. The track "Say It To My Face" was inspired by the national Hey U.G.L.Y. anti-bullying campaign.