A former dancer and Cincinnati native, Petra came to Chicago in 2004 via New York City with her husband, jazz guitarist Andy Brown. Petra performs regularly at Chicago’s prominent jazz venues including the Chicago Cultural Center, the Jazz Showcase, the Green Mill, Katerina’s, the Illiana Jazz Club, Fitzgerald’s, and Andy’s Jazz Club. Her Recession Seven group was featured at the 2011 Chicago Jazz Festival.
Regionally, Petra sings at jazz clubs, jazz societies, and festivals in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Highlights include the Chautauqua Jazz Party (NY), the Cedar Basin Jazz Festival (IA), and headlining the Women In Jazz Festival (OH). Internationally, Petra has toured in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Canada with highlights including the Yardbird Suite (Edmonton, Canada), the Gorinchem Jazz Festival (the Netherlands’ Oldest Jazz Festival), and the Jazzhaus Heidelberg (Heidelberg, Germany).
Petra has recorded three CDs and her 2009 release “Far Away Places” was re-issued in Japan on the Japanese label Muzak.
Inspired by such jazz vocal greats as Peggy Lee, Chet Baker, Billie Holiday, and Doris Day, Petra opts for a straightforward swinging delivery with an emphasis on feeling. Her approach is simple and without affectation. While steeped in tradition, she expresses her originality in the best sense of the word, by being true to herself. This sincerity is felt by audiences and musicians alike. Whenever she sings, Petra connects with people.
“van Nuis has a light, gorgeous and fairly delicate voice…a gift for melody… plenty of rhythmic confidence…naturalness when phrasing…overall intelligence makes understatement and subtlety virtues…personal involvement with a lyric.”-Frank John Hadley, Downbeat Magazine