Interviews

Her Chemical Life - Hailey Tuck talks 'Junk' to SJF

Wednesday, 02 May 2018 12:25 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

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"Basically, I tried for years to get signed, obviously as everybody does," laughs 27-year-old Hailey Tuck, a jazz singer originally from Austin, Texas, whose debut album, 'Junk,' is about to be released by Sony Music. She's recalling the time, not so very long ago, when she was a struggling musician and trying to get record labels interested in her music. Evidently, it proved a tremendously frustrating and ultimately futile experience for the young Paris-based singer, who was told by several labels "your songs are too sad, like Radiohead."

That annoyed her - "it bugged me out" she exclaims - but eventually she managed to get an A&R man's attention, who agreed to see her live show. Excited by the promise of having a major record label (which for discretion's sake shall remain anonymous) declare an interest in her, Hailey arranged a showcase. "I rented out the 606 Club (in London) during lunchtime, hired a band, and rehearsed my ass off with them," says Hailey, who then reveals that A&R man didn't show up and, furthermore, didn't reply to her emails afterwards. For anyone who's been struggling to break in the music business, this, sadly, is par for the course. Summing up her experiences at the hands of record companies, Hailey says bluntly: "I felt like I was getting one night stands from frat boys all the time."

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 May 2018 10:14

 

EXPOSING HERSELF - Jazz FM award winner Esperanza Spalding talks about creation, the significance of numbers, and the challenges of being an artist in a capitalist society.

Wednesday, 02 May 2018 08:42 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

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Esperanza Spalding is clearly enjoying herself. She's laughing, posing for photos with friends and musical colleagues - among them Omar and Pat Metheny - while clutching a glass of champagne in one hand and a prestigious Jazz FM award (presented to her by Crinne Bailey Rae) in the other. She deservedly triumphed in the category of Digital Initiative Of The Year,  which acknowledged her innovation with the brilliant, groundbreaking album, 'Exposure,' released in 2017.  

Living up to its title, 'Exposure' set the 33-year-old bassist/composer/singer from Portland, Oregon,  the somewhat daunting task of making an album from scratch in 77 hours, while the whole session and creative process was streamed live on social media.  The resulting album, an astonishing double disc set, was released exclusively on Esperanza's website in a limited edition run of 7,700 copies and sold out within hours.  SJF's Charles Waring managed to grab a few minutes with the super-talented musical polymath before the champagne really kicked in and reduced her to a fit of giggles...

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 May 2018 11:57

 

Proud As A Peacock - Jazz FM award winner, Cécile McLorin Salvant talks to SJF

Tuesday, 01 May 2018 16:41 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

                                     altTo say that double Grammy winner Cécile McLorin Salvant is happy is an understatement. Her wide, beaming smile is almost beatific and it looks like she's finding it hard to contain her emotions, which run the gamut from open-mouthed disbelief to blissful euphoria. She's just come down from the stage area at London's Jazz Fm Awards ceremony, where she performed a stupendous version of Jimmy Rowles' classic song, 'The Peacocks,' accompanied by her long-time pianist and musical collaborator, Aaron Diehl.  She hasn't walked off stage empty-handed either, and clutches the award for Jazz FM's International Jazz Artist Of The Year.  After the photographers have had their way, it's off to a secluded room - in this case the council chamber at Shoreditch's town hall - for press interviews. This was where SJF's Charles Waring, suited and booted in his best evening wear,  caught up with the Miami-born chanteuse for a quick Q&A...

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 May 2018 17:45

 

GENTLE PERSUASION.... The Swing Out Sister interview

Thursday, 26 April 2018 10:33 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altEveryone's favourite smooth soul duo, SWING OUT SISTER have a new and long-awaited album out in June. 'Almost Persuaded' is the collection's name and leaked tracks and sneak previews reveal that once again CORINNE DREWERY and ANDY CONNELL have crafted a work of understated beauty that offers the pair's unique twist on sophisticated 60s/70s soul liberally sprinkled with Jimmy Webb influences and garnished with the odd smooth jazz flourish and cinematic sweep. Incredibly the pair have been doing just that now for nearly 30 years and when we caught up with them the first thing we wanted to know is where on earth do the manage to fresh motivation and inspiration...

CORINNE: All kinds of places...but I suppose Andy and I come from a different direction as we make different contributions to our music. I usually respond to the music that Andy writes...the lyrics describing the feeling that Andy's musical landscape creates in my mind, although I have mental notes of phrases and thoughts that pop into my head, a newspaper headline, a line from a film, a conversation I have overheard. Travel always changes the way you think...a long drive, landing in a different country, the shock of the new...but when you get home to familiar ground, that's when inspiration comes rushing in and finds its way into whatever you are creating.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 April 2018 10:56

 

"It's the greatest high in the world" - DUKE FAKIR talks about the FOUR TOPS' forthcoming UK tour with The Temptations

Saturday, 21 April 2018 12:29 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

 

           altThe mighty Four Tops scored their first British hit way back in 1965 with 'I Can't Help Myself,' a key record that helped to establish Detroit's Motown sound in the UK. Fifty-three years and thirty-four UK charts hits later, miraculously, this legendary vocal quartet are still going strong. Though only Abdul 'Duke' Fakir remains from the original line-up, they keep the authentic spirit of Motown alive. Frequent visitors to the UK since their very first tour in 1967, the Four Tops are due to return to these shores later this year in November, when they will be performing in tandem with another iconic Motor City vocal group, The Temptations. For fans of both groups and Motown, the keenly-anticipated tour promises ten magical nights of nostalgia in places ranging from Glasgow and Gateshead to Bournemouth and Southend-on-Sea.

Ahead of the tour, the Tops' main man, Duke Fakir (pictured second from right above), is waxing lyrical about the United Kingdom and its inhabitants. "It's our favourite country," he says. "It's such a great place coming over there and we love the way they reward us and respect us." In terms of what the group will be serving up to their British fans, Duke says: "We aim to please so we'll be sure to give them all the best of the things they love to hear. It's the finest tour of the year for us when we come to the UK. We know they want to hear the classics and we'll also be sure to do some tunes that are more popular in the UK than they are here in the US."

The Four Tops have been combining their talents on the road with The Temptations in Britain for many years now. Though they used to be fierce rivals at Motown, beneath the competitiveness lie deeper bonds of kinship and brotherhood. "We're very good friends and have been for a long time," says Duke. "Years ago, we used to hang out after the shows. We'd bounce around and have a few drinks here and there but now we're older and we save our energy pretty much for the stage. So when we're on the road together, we eat a lot of meals together and sometimes play cards and if it's warm enough, we'll play golf as well. Sometimes we even shop together. Myself and Ron Tyson of the Temptations are extremely close and are particularly into clothes shopping and like to go to Bond Street."

Joining the Tops and Tempts on this tour is another noted US vocal group that was big in the '70s, Tavares. "They're a great group," says Duke. "They have a couple of golfers and we have a couple of golfers, and we've done that a couple of times. So we try to make the trip very, very comfortable and enjoyable. They add to the competition so you have to totally be at your best every night, which totally rewards the audiences 100%. You have to enjoy what you're doing because every night is extremely important and it's not just a gig to get through or what we call a 'hit and split.' It's going out there and doing a job for the people ...but it's fun!"

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 April 2018 13:19

 

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