Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mimara (Mimi) Block is a violinist, jazz vocalist, and composer who was diagnosed with autism and a severe developmental delay at the age of two. At the age of three, she and her family moved to Evanston, Illinois for her special education and her physical and speech therapy, since she didn’t speak any words at all. Growing up in a very musical family (Mimi’s mother is a classical pianist, who studied with Mimi’s father, a jazz guitarist and pianist), Mimi listened to jazz and classical music such as Duke Ellington and Maurice Ravel, and had a wonderful childhood living in Evanston. When Mimi was seven, she started to pick up a violin as a therapeutic tool, and started to take classical violin lessons. Finally, she started to communicate and speak when she was eight years old. When a teacher asked Mimi to sing a melody, she always harmonized the song, and whenever someone sang an out of tune melody, she would scold them.
When Mimi was thirteen years old, she began to take an interest in playing jazz on her violin by ear, and because of this, her classical teacher was always angry at her. 2018, she met Barry Harris, which was a life changing experience. She started to attend his jazz orchestra rehearsals as a string player and began singing jazz repertoire. Today, Mimi, who just graduated high school, is studying DAWs with Oskari Nurminen for her dream to be a songwriter and producer, continuing her other dream to be a composer and arranger for big bands. She also studies jazz composition and improvisation with Michael Weiss.
In March 4, 2022, Mimi received the Barry Harris Performance Achievement Award in New York City.