“Life is a lot like jazz... it's best when you improvise”. George Gershwin
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15 Nov

Charmin Michelle Interview

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Since a 1993 Minnesota Music Award nomination as Best Female Jazz Vocalist, Charmin Michelle has staked an undeniable claim to prominence. Specializing in classic fare—memorable songs such as “Them There Eyes” and “My Heart Belongs To Daddy”—and applying her signature style, it isn’t hard to see how she’s come to be in ever-increasing demand here and abroad. The indefatigable Charmin Michelle has toured all over Europe and the Middle Est. Whatever the lady’s doing, she is doing it right. She spoke with to Jazzonline prior to her performance at Half Note jazz Club in Athens on November 24.

1-What lead you to music and to jazz?
I grew up listening to all types of music from classical to blues to jazz. My parents largest collection of music was jazz.

2-Which jazz musicians had or have a great influence on you, and why?
Many of the great female vocalists have the most influence on me. It started with Billie Holiday because of the way she delivers the emotion of the lyric of the song vocally; Nancy Wilson for the way she puts her own style into an arrangement; Ella Fitzgerald for her genius of improvisation. That’s just to name a few.

3-Could you tell us about your performance in Athens?
I will be performing songs made famous by Billie Holiday, as well as others by a variety of singers, songwriters and musicians I've listened to through the years and I enjoy singing. Mainly focused on Billie though.

4-What's the most memorable concert you've done?
My most memorable concert was at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, Minnesota with Delfeayo Marsalis. We did a tribute to Louis Armstrong.

5-In the new generation of jazz singer, which one do you like the most and why ?
I love Cecil McLorin Salvant !! You can hear the influences all the great jazz vocalists of the past in her voice. Her style is very creative and innovative.

6 - What advice would you give a young female singer?
Aside for learning your craft and creating your style, take charge for your career, handling your own business. Don’t be afraid to ask questions…

7-What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Face you’re fears and insecurities head on and never give up.

8- What one song would work as the soundtrack to your life?
“I Remember You” The music was written by Victor Schertzinger and the lyrics by one of my favorites, Johnny Mercer.

9-What are your plans for the next months?
After my vacation in January, in addition to managing and performing with my Big Band, “The Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra”, I have some mini tours in the US mainly Northern Minnesota and Florida.

Interview by Patricia Graire - November 2017 

Last modified on Thursday, 16 November 2017 09:08

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