18 Nov

Madeleine Peyroux

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“I listened to Billie Holiday a lot in order to learn to sing. She remains one of the extraordinary jazz singers. But my intent is to become my own voice, to be able to interpret these songs in my own way. “     Madeleine Peyroux

”I'm very conscious of developing my singing, technically and stylistically. I want it to become more individual, express more of me. That's my goal. These songs are steps along that way. “   Madeleine Peyroux

When she first burst onto the recording scene in 1996, with her stunning debut album “Dreamland”, Madeleine Peyroux was greeted with a veritable torrent of gushing reviews. Most raved about her smoke-and-whiskey vocals, often comparing her to the late, great Billie Holiday. Others wondered how someone so young could perform classic songs by Holiday, Bessie Smith and Patsy Cline so convincingly as to make them sound like her own.


Peyroux   who had been living in Paris as a street musician, suddenly found herself on the fast track to fame. Appearances at Lilith Fair and jazz festivals, and opening tours for Sarah McLachlan and Cesaria Evora followed, while Dreamland’s sales reached an impressive 200,000 copies worldwide. “It was great,” recalls Peyroux. “I got to perform with fantastic musicians. I got to see Nina Simone live. I could’ve kept running with it, but instead I stepped back and took a breather.”


Careless Love” on Rounder Records was released in 2004, eight years after the release of “Dreamland”. Waiting that long to release her sophomore album is admittedly not a typical career move, but then Madeleine is not a typical artist. Madeleine never stopped singing, returning to her busking roots with street performances and club dates around the world from Los Angeles (to New Orleans to New York City) to Western Europe before being signed by Rounder Records in 2003. Careless Love was a worldwide sales and critical success, putting Madeleine back on fame's fast track.


Madeleine's followed up Careless Love with Half the Perfect World, released Sept. 2006,   Bare Bone in 2008 and Standing on the rooftop in June 2011. Bare Bone is probably her most personal album since she was involved in the writing of all 11 tracks and providing lyrics that are highly introspective. She also accompanies herself on acoustic guitar throughout. On Standing on the rooftop she followed her creative muse on 2009’s “Bare Bones” by challenging herself to write a full album of her own compositions.
Her last cd The Blue Room was released in March 2013 : “This is an album of music that is letter-perfect but coursing with blood, and it is as comfortable as an old pair of shoes. And like the Ray Charles album to which it pays homage, it reinvents everything it touches.” Michael Cuscuna.

The Best of Madeleine Peyroux, the debut anthology was released in 2014. The album includes favorites not only from Peyroux’s releases with Rounder, but also tracks from her Atlantic and Decca/Emarcy catalogs.   

Twenty years after her recording debut, Dreamland, Madeleine Peyroux continues her musical journey of exploring beyond the ordinary with Secular Hymns, a spirited and soulful masterwork of loping, skipping, sassy, feisty and sexy tunes delivered in a captivating mélange of funk, blues and jazz. With her trio that had been touring together for two years—electric guitarist Jon Herington and upright bassist Barak Mori—Peyroux set out to record in a live setting a collection of songs that have their own hymn-like stories of self-awareness and inner dialogue, a communal consciousness and a spiritual essence. 

“Music has been our spiritual life, so I think of these as hymns, secular hymns—songs that are very individual, personal, introverted.”
Madeleine Peyroux 

Last modified on Wednesday, 28 September 2016 14:57

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