Jessica Boykin-Settles began her musical studies as a voice major at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. By her senior year she was the featured vocalist in the school’s jazz orchestra. Upon graduating, she continued her musical pursuits at New School University in New York City. There she had the opportunity to study under the tutelage of great musicians such as Reggie Workman, Junior Mance, Cecil McBee, Arnie Lawrence, Buster Williams, Sheila Jordan, Janet Lawson, Teri Thornton and Dr. Richard Harper. During her stint in New York, Jessica led her own band and had the opportunity to work in a variety of venues in and around New York City. In 1997, Jessica represented the New School University Jazz and Contemporary Music Program at the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois and the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ) Annual Meeting in Siena, Italy.
In May 2004, Jessica Boykin-Settles received a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Howard University in Washington, DC. While there, Jessica sang with Howard’s premier vocal jazz ensemble Afro Blue, under the direction of Connaitre Miller. After graduating, she spent seven years teaching and mentoring students in the Howard University music program. After taking a two-year break to pursue her singing full time, she is back teaching at Howard University as well as directing the Education Program for the DC Jazz Festival. She also teaches and mentors youth with the Washington Jazz Arts Institute under the direction of Davey Yarborough, and conducts workshops and performs with her quartet throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area.