When did you first know you wanted to become a musical artist? What was the first song you ever wrote?
I come from a family of artists. My grandfather was a writer, my aunt was a painter and both my parents are musicians, so there was never any doubt in my mind that I would end up in an artistic field. The stage is what attracted me the most and my natural talent for singing took over. I don’t remember the first song I ever wrote. My father is a composer and we used to write songs together when I was a child. The topics were always adventure, discovery, freedom and fresh beginnings. I was an optimist.
Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?
Louis Prima for his swing, Juliette Gréco for her delivery, Anita O’Day for her boldness, Dolly Parton for her generosity, Frank Sinatra for everything.
What do you want fans to take from your music?
I want my music to inspire my listeners. I want it to remind them of things, people, places, emotions. I want them to play it to get into a mood. I want them to listen to it in their cars, or while painting, cooking, doing puzzles, having a drink, a smoke. I want them to feel like the music is completely theirs.
What’s in your IPOD this week?
Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words” played by Daniel Barenboim
What do you miss most about playing live?
I miss the communication with the audience and with the other musicians. I’ve been filming myself singing and playing guitar in my garden and posting these videos to social media, and although thousands of people are watching, it feels a bit lonely, like singing into the void. I wish I could see their eyes.
Is there a song on your latest CD release here that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?
“On the street where you live” is my favorite track on the album. It’s a song by Lerner and Loewe that was written for the musical “My Fair Lady” and since then has seeped into the jazz repertoire. I had never thought of singing it before, but with guitarist Michael Valeanu’s total reinvention of the song, suddenly it felt perfect for me. It’s a very unusual version, very personal, and Michael’s playing is ethereal and breathtaking.
How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?
This past year was important for me. I traveled more than ever before and I evolved as an artist by meeting and playing with musicians in different countries, forming new collaborations, learning about other cultures and how audiences react to music differently around the world. All that travel has opened me up as an artist and made me more sensitive.
If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?
I would play a gig with Teddy Wilson, co-write a song with George Gershwin and have a feast of food and drink with Mozart.
What are your goals for the future?
Well… the future is a strange concept nowadays. We don’t know when this situation will end and what the aftermath will be. My entire spring/summer tour was canceled. I was supposed to record two albums in May, one with famous French songs and the other with songs celebrating the connection between Paris and New Orleans, with lots of original compositions. As soon as I can I am going to get to work on that!
What advice would you give artists during this self-quarantine?
Catch up on your sleep and eat well. Now you have the time to finally write that symphony, that book, that masterpiece that has been on your mind. No excuses. Get to work.