When you were growing up, what singers did you listen to?
Many different ones. For example, Maria Callas, from my grandmother. From my father and my mother it was more David Bowie, John Lennon, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin. And after that I think it was more like Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Portishead and (starts laughing) Rage Against The Machine.
That’s what we call eclectic in the UK.
Yeah, and then the jazz part arrived a little by accident. I was 18 and I didn’t know what to do and I said I can make some studies of music and I just had the choice of classical or jazz at the conservatoire and I chose jazz because of the blues. I think that everything is from the blues. I felt to myself that I could handle the blues because it was inspiring.
You seem to have a natural affinity for the blues.
Yeah, it’s natural.
What about your family? Are they of Italian origin?
Yeah, my father and my grandmother are from Venice.
And were you born in Belgium?
What sort of music do you relax to at home?
I’m a really big lover of LPs. And I love music from ’63 to ’77, all the styles: roots reggae, funk, soul, jazz, rock, classical and I should say blues…Jimi Hendrix, Serge Gainsbourg, Burning Spear, The Last Poets.
What are your hopes and ambitions for your new album?
To spread good vibrations and to perform concerts and to share my music. But if this record gives a space for the listener to dream, to rest or have a good time, I think this is the point.
You have been described as Belgium’s own Billie Holiday. How does that feel?
I don’t know. I love Billie Holiday. We all need references and we’re inspired by all these references.
What ambitions do you have beyond this album?
I want to make some movie music. I’d love to because I would like to be of service to the visual, to the image. For example I like to be the focal of dancers or collaborations with other arts and there are definitely new songs on the way also – but I take my time (laughs).
Is there anybody you’d like to collaborate with in the music world?
I’m too shy to say names (laughs). Many names have inspired me. I think, again I’m too shy to say (laughs).
Who are some of your musical heroes?
I love Mark Hollis (of Talk Talk), Nick Cave, and Radiohead. There are many new things to do and many new things to discover and people to discover, so I just let it come.
Going back to Mark Hollis, obviously, then, you’re a fan of Talk Talk are you?
Yeah. In fact, I didn’t know him until (her record company) Play It Again Sam compared the music to Talk Talk. I didn’t know Talk Talk. When I heard his music I felt wow, I think I belong to this sound family. I had a strong feeling when I listen to the Mark Hollis album and it was really compelling to me.
You collaborated with Pascal Paulus on most of the songs – what’s he like to work with?
Most of the time it’s like, ‘Oh, I have an idea,’ and I share it with him or he’s got an idea and he shares it and then I go back. It’s more like a little bit of him and a little bit of me. And then we record the main idea of our record here in my home and then we suggest arrangements. When I have something that doesn’t work it, we find different ways, different angles. Most of the time, it’s after concerts. I still have rhythms, and songs, and little things in my head after the concert because there is a lot of improvisation and then after the concert there are still things that are in mind that need to be fixed. Sometimes I record them on my little phone or my just to remind and that can become the beginning of the compositions and the collaborations.
This album you produced yourself. Is that something you would like to do again in the future?
I think I’d love to, yeah. But I love to have a partner to manipulate the tools and the computers and I just want to be in the room and share the ideas but not being so close to the process. I had to learn Pro Tools for ‘No Deal.’ That was really cool because now I can talk to the sound engineer because I learned a little bit of his alphabet. So now it’s really cool to share but yeah, definitely I really would like to produce another album again. Let’s see.
‘NO DEAL’ REMIXED IS OUT ON FEBRUARY 23RD VIA PLAY IT AGAIN SAM.