Latanya Farrell Returns to Campus for Jazz Brunch
The annual Jazz Brunch at Hawktober is a fan favorite, featuring delicious food, paired with lively music. Latanya Farrell, M’97, M’98, alumna and recording artist, is excited to be returning to campus to perform for alumni, students, and families. Learn more about her journey to music, her career, and her strong ties to the University of Hartford.
Q+A with Latanya:
How did you discover your passion for singing and songwriting?
My passion for music came at a very young age. I always loved to sing and dance and my parents owned a record player, eight-track player, and AM/FM radio all in one. I would play their records of Chaka Khan, Al Green, Donna Summer, and Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life over and over again.
Whitney Houston‘s first album changed my life. I played that album over and over again, writing out the lyrics to every single song. I was able to really sing them too.
Although I belonged to choirs in school, had solos in church, and entered singing competitions in high school winning many of them, I didn’t have the intrinsic belief and confidence that I was good enough so I never pursued music.
How did UHart influence the path you took in your career?
I came to UHart as a graduate student in the education program. My favorite professor, Dr. Weinswig, helped me to love teaching, learning, and working with children. It became a passion for me. I am currently the principal at the school I started as a kindergarten teacher over 25 years ago. I’m the Singing Principal!
At the same time, while a student, I was also surrounded by so many amazing musicians on campus. I can remember singing in the soulful University of Hartford Gospel choir.
It wasn’t until well after I was a seasoned educator and mother of two that I decided to put myself out there as a singer and enter the Connecticut Star search competition. I thought: what better way to teach my children to reach for their dreams than to do it myself?
That experience changed the trajectory of my life. Soon after I begin working with local bands, eventually connecting with my current bandmates and beginning to write music. Singing and performing came naturally…from my soul. It felt like something I was meant to be doing all along. Like home.
Why is it so special for you to be a part of Hawktober and alumni events?
My experience at the University of Hartford has given me the skill set and relationships to develop a vision of how to live the best version of my life using my gifts. The journey isn't easy, but I know I'm on the right path. It’s so special for me to be part of Hawktober and alumni events because I represent the possibilities.
What would you like to say to your UHart community?
I’m very grateful for this community. It’s where the seeds of my passions were planted and where I have found some of my very best lifelong friends. The University of Hartford is full of opportunities.
What would you like people to know about your music?
It comes from my soul - I am a soul singer that loves to perform music that I hope brings you joy and connection.
Latanya Farrell performing at the Palace Theater block party in June.
Latanya and band performing in Elizabeth Park.
Latanya and band performing at the Russell in West Hartford.
Latanya receiving her Anchor Award in 2016, at the recipient dinner, with Dr. Weinswig and Pat Mieser.