Tall Poppy Interview – Adi Braun, Jazz Singer
Adi Braun has a gorgeous voice and a great way with a song lyric(in fact, Torontoist likes her so much, we’ve been putting our own voice in her hands for years – she’s our singing teacher, too). She chatted with TOist about her new cd, The Rules of the Game which she’s lauching at the Montreal Bistro tonight.
You grew up in an extremely musical family, and that you have a strong classical background – how did you eventually find your way back to jazz?
As a teenager growing up in Germany I had a dream of becoming a pop singer. I had secretly recorded an early demo, which I gave to my parents. They thought I showed a very natural and trainable voice and that the best road for me to take was to become a classical singer like my parents, which I did when I moved to Canada at age 19. I performed for many, many years in that field but always felt unfulfilled and not really able to show all of me. About 6 years ago my partner entered me in a local talent competition. With nothing to lose I entered and sang Quincy Jones’s “Miss Celie’s Blues”. I won that evening and the rest, as they say, is history.
Was a natural progression for you from your classical training into the jazz world?
Yes, I think so, because it was as if I was re-connecting to an old part in me that had never been fully explored.
Musically, who are your biggest influences?
Let’s start with my early years. I was a huge Barbra Streisand fan, but also loved Stevie Wonder. One of my biggest influences in Jazz/Cabaret is and was Judy Garland. She has what I call a “Voice of the Century” and ranks as possibly the highest for me in terms of being able to totally give herself over to the music and let it speak through her. One of my biggest influences at the moment is a very good friend and colleague, the American singer/songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway. She is a great artist and has taught me the importance of living in the moment and honouring your dreams; to feel committed to one’s gifts and the sharing of one’s talent with the world.
This is your second jazz album – what was new about this recording experience?
I believe my first CD, delishious, said “Hello – my name is Adi Braun and this is what I can do”. I believe the second CD, The Rules of the Game, is a natural progression for me artistically in that it is taking further along my life and musical path. I wanted to tell a story. I wanted to take the listener deep inside of my heart. I have just started to write my own songs as well and plan to record quite a few of Adi Braun originals for my 3rd CD.
What’s in your cd rotation right now?
I love the soundtrack to the movie “Strictly Ballroom” and often listen to it at the gym or at home. It has very funky 70’s & 80’s disco music. Generally I listen to music from all different genres. From Jazz greats Shirley Horn, Ann Hampton Callaway & Tony Bennett to classical violinist Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg and the amazing talents of percussionist Evenlyn Glennie. I really just love all music.
Adi Braun performs at the Montreal Bistro tonight through Saturday October 8th at 9 pm.