When did you begin making music, and did you ever ponder a different career?
I started doing musicals and some pretty embarrassing living room performances at about age 5. My dad used to bribe me to go to my ice skating lessons by letting me make a tape at a karaoke recording studio at the mall, leading to some very interesting lyrical interpretations. I continued to do theatre and film until my late teens but – like my ice skating lessons – I was lackadaisical. Jazz has been the only artistic endeavor that has sparked passionate participation.
How would you describe your music?
My favourite jazz songs evoke either nostalgia for a bygone era, validation (loneliness etc.) or just pure joy. So, I hope that sometimes I’m a little Doris Day, sometimes I’m Billie Holiday, and sometimes I’m a track from the Ella and Louis album.
What have you been up to so far and what can we expect over the coming months?
I’ve been in London rehearsing with my new band since late January, this is the longest I’ve ever been here, so when not rehearsing I’ve been attending a jazz jam almost every night. London is the cross road of the world, including music. It’s the first city I’ve lived in with a really young jazz scene, so I’ve been having a ball. I recently performed a show in Brussels at the historic theatre L’archiduc. The gig afforded me the opportunity to hang out with owner Jean-Louis and hear stories of his friend Mal Waldron (Billie Holiday’s last pianist), Nat King Cole, and Django Reinhardt — all of whom played there. My debut EP was also released on April 7th, which I’ll be celebrating at my EP release show April 18th at Le Crazy Coq’s at Brasserie Zedel. I’m performing at a UNESCO music festival in Romania on May 30th, also playing my first UK festival show May 2nd, at Cheltenham, which I’m pleased to say is sold out!
If you could duet with anybody who would it be and why?
I’m going to be cheeky on this one, and say Oscar Peterson. If you haven’t heard him sing – stop what you’re doing and run, not walk to your computer to listen to “I’m Glad There Is You”. His voice is tender and real, and I don’t need to tell you his phrasing is about as hip as you can imagine. I heard him tell Dick Cavett that he stopped singing because everyone told him he sounded too similar to Nat King Cole. I think that is such a shame, because he very much has his own style. Plus, obviously accompanying me in a duet would be the best two-fer ever.
What’s your desert island disc and why would you take this one album?
My go-to answer for this happens to be, Oscar’s “We Get Requests” with Ed Thigpen and Ray Brown, but since I just got to sing and play a duet with him, I won’t push my luck. So, give me Blossom Dearie’s 57′ self-titled album, and a good portion of that lonely island time will be spent playing her instrumental of “More Than You Know”. If Oscar Peterson is one of the most under-rated jazz vocalists, Blossom is definitely one of the most under-rated pianists.