I didn’t have a musician family, I didn’t go to a music school but as far as I can remember, music was always in me. I’d be listening to the music and singing whenever I could.
Jazz is my passion.
I came across jazz long time ago though the concept of music genre was irrelevant to me back then. I liked certain tunes and music by certain artists and later on I found they were what they called Jazz or Jazz influenced music. Those artists included Al Jarreau, Chick Corea, Weather Report, Duke Elington, Quincy Jones, George Bension, Stanley Clarke, Dinah Washington, Carlos Santana, Chaka Khan, Pati Austin, plus a lot of others who I can not remember now. Instrumental or voice did not matter much to me around that time – mostly because of the fact that English was not my first language – and I’d just hummed along any tune that touched my heart.
The day I brought me into singing Jazz was the day when I heard Ella Fitzgerald’s music – that day, I was driving to work in the morning. It started like any other morning, and I had the radio on. Then Mack the Knife that Ella sang started playing on the radio. I recognised the tune although I didn’t know who the singer was and who Ella Fitzgerald was. It sounded nice so I started humming along the song.
Then the song went into her scatting part. That moment, I felt as though everything had stopped around me except the sound of music, and all my body parts except my ears also stopped. I was astonished – by the extraordinary timing and the way she sang the song and the sound of every note that came out from her month. Nothing sounded like any sort of music I had heard before. Each note jumped up and down as if they were randomly generated but they still seemed to follow a certain kind of melodic order. I never knew much about scatting or improvisation then. Also the way her voice changed from a very high frequency tone to a very low deep man-like voice, up and down, that was also unheard of to me. All day, I could not stop thinking about the song and I could not wait to go home to find out who Ella Fitzgerald was and listen to the song again.
My music is greatly influenced by Sarah Vaughan.
Sarah is my Superstar. No matter if it is a ballad or up-tempo swing, she sings effortlessly but with emotions and warmth in her voice. Her amazing musical talent can be heard in every part of her song. Slow or fast, every tone is carefully generated to form a part of the beautiful art she creates. Also her bebop style scatting is second to none. When she scats, she is no longer just a singer but every part of her body becomes an instrument. No matter whether she sings a ballad or swing, she becomes the person in the song and makes you feel happy, sad, angry or whatever the mood depending the song she is singing.
Only if I had known her earlier so I could have seen her live performances.
My musical influence also comes from the likes of Dinah Washington, Ray Charles, Al Jeareau, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith, Carmen McRae, as well as some of the modern artists such as Chaka Khan, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Rene Marie as well as Amy Winehouse.
I also get inspiration from music by instrumentalists and I love the songs composed by Gershwin. I am always fascinated by the music created and played by the great jazz giants, such as Miles Davies, Charlie Parker, Sonnie Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, Chic Corea, Wayne Shorter, just to name a few.