Friday, March 4, 2011

Halie Loren - interview

How fun to chat with one of my favourite up and coming singers..on the horn from Eugene, Oregon. Note to self - figure out Skype. Halie (that's is pronounced hay lee - as I quickly figured out) just recently returned from a successful eight day stint in Japan - performing at the Blue Note in Nagoya and the Cotton Club in Tokyo. Japanese fans are serious about their jazz and its' performers - she felt like a rock star or dare we say it jazz star as fans had her autographing everything from CDs to leather jackets...

Photo courtesy of www.halieloren.com

It was her third trip there and she advised me (when I finally get there) to take the bullet train - a first for her on this round - it gives you a great view of the country whizzing past.

The effervescent Miss Loren is readying herself for a whirlwind of activity - she will be performing in New York at the Metropolitan Room in April with her pianist Matt Treder and bassist Mary Ann McSweeney and then in L.A, at the ASCAP conference - in May she will be out and about in Washington state - including Seattle and Port Angeles.

Born in Alaska, she moved to Oregon as a teen and extolls the virtues of her state -  - the lush forests, being an hour away from the Cascade mountains and the ocean, yet being surrounded by arts and culture. Portland is only a 2 hour drive away. Halie confesses her love of water and I joke that perhaps that's the theme for a future album..."How Deep is the Ocean", I offer.....she has already recorded "River", "Beyond the Sea" and "The Waters of March".

She can't remember a time when she wasn't singing  - her debut public performance was as a 10 year old at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp with a jazz trio - the camp was a mecca for arts inclined kids from around the Northwest and possibly up into Canada. That camp is still going strong - and she was recently invited back to perform as an alumnus.

The busy velvet voiced Loren is already working out material for her next recording with more of her own original tunes. Her latest, "After Dark" was completed last August and release in the fall of 2010. We chatted about how one goes about choosing what songs to do and agreed that although there are many familiar tunes there are always new discoveries or I would say rediscoveries. Two tunes from "After Dark" stand out as unique "Ode to Billie Joe" and "Give Me One Reason" - those were very popular in live performance so they decided to try it on a recording.  She loves other languages and particularly singing in them - with Spanish in her repertoire she would like to add French, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese - I think she did a bit of that while in the land of the rising sun.

Although she doesn't have any formal training - it seems she has enough piano to get by with songwriting. Most of her education is by ear and listening citing such influences as the great Nat King Cole, Etta James, Joni Mitchell, Annie Lennox, Sarah McLachlan and of course Diana Krall - Diana because Halie was thrilled that Ms. Krall sung in her range - saying she had a low voice "for a kid". Oh, and let's not forget Patsy Cline - who we agree was far more than just a country singer.

Who would she like to collaborate with? Well natch, Mr. Nat King Cole - I assured her that was certainly possible - but for a livelier partnership - that British firecracker Jamie Cullum. I did tell her to check out Denzal Sinclaire though...who definitely has Nat's caramel tones....

As inspired as she is to live in the eden of Eugene - there will be lots of travelling in her near future, close to home in Oregon and father afield prestigious engagements - some big developments which I am not a liberty to divulge at the moment...I am still hoping one of those destinations is Canada and indeed Toronto - she's been to Vancouver but not east of there....high time.


To keep up with Halie please visit her Facebook page - www.facebook.com/halielorenmusic
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