Judi grew up with opera and classical in the background and sang in her elementary-school chorus. Moving to the Bay Area in the 70s, she gravitated to funk, soul, bluegrass, and salsa. She added a love of jazz later in life, and especially its variations, improvisation, and complexity. Judi was a public-school teacher, and guiding students to create with SF Opera teaching artists jump-started her journey to sing as an adult. Judi studied music theory and performance at Laney College, and performed with the La Peña salsa band, the World Harmony Chorus, and Vukani Mawethu before joining OJC in 2021.