By Patrick Hedlund and Tom Liddy
MANHATTAN — An Italian jazz singer who was looking to stay in New York was killed Thursday night after being struck by an SUV on the Upper West Side, authorities and published reports said.
The woman — identified by the Daily News as Daniela D'Ercole, 32 — was hit just before midnight on Broadway near West 106th Street, police and fire officials said.
D'Ercole, who regularly performed at jam sessions in New York, according to her website, was conscious and breathing immediately following the incident but later died at St. Luke's Hospital.
Police said that she had been crossing east to west on Broadway when a 2002 Mercury Mountaineer SUV traveling northbound struck her.
The driver remained at the scene after the incident, and no criminality was suspected, the NYPD added.
D'Ercole, who began singing at age 7, released her first CD, "The Peacocks" last September with a quartet including an American saxophone player, her website said.
While she always had an interest in music and singing, D'Ercole delved into jazz a few years ago, influenced by the sounds of Wynton Marsalis and iconic female vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, after leaving college, the site said.
"For many years, throughout the many difficulties I experienced, I abandoned my passion for singing," she wrote on the site. "After a few years, I left my studies at the university, and with the money I had earned working as store clerk at a clothing store, I was able to pay for my first singing lessons at a private music school."
D'Ercole, whose father was an R & B singer, didn't mention the move to her parents, who wanted her to get a liberal arts education. While studying at the "Pentagramma" school in Italy, she was exposed to the jazz tradition that launched her career.
Last month, D'Ercole was slated to play gigs in Bayside, Queens, Montclair, New Jersey and upstate Peekskill.
"She had a beautiful vioice. Very talented," said Kristine Massari, owner of Trumpets Jazz Club in Montclair, NJ, where D'Ercole performed. "She was as good as many of the singers that are around today."
"She was very diversified and talented in her repertoire."
Massari, herself a vocalist, and her husband, Enrico Granafei, said that D'Ercole had improved dramatically over the past five years and was looking to stay in New York after arriving in September.
"She wanted to stay this time," said Granafei. "She really wanted to live here."
Granafei said that he was particularly impressed by her performance of an extremely difficult song, "Brava."
"It was a very difficult song to sing. She was doing that in an incredible way," he said. "That song would give problems to the best singer in the world."
Massari was saddened by the young singer's death.
"She had a beautiful voice," she said. "It’s a terrible tragedy."