We kept our Q&A pretty flexible and gained solid insight into her background and the place from which her music emerges. Enjoy!
1) How did you get into music? When did you fall in love with it?
My mum made me learn the piano at five. I practiced for three years and then changed my mind for the violin at eight. I studied the violin more than 10 years and played in a string orchestra. So as far as I can remember, music has always been a part of my life, whether it was classical music I learned to play and to read, disney’s soundtracks or the pop songs my mum listened to (Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson and Celine Dion for the most part)
2) What are your primary musical influences?
I would say I’m influenced primarily by American R&B, soul and jazz. When I was younger I was fond of 90’s R&B tunes (SWV, Aaliyah, Ginuwine, Jagged Edge, Carl Thomas, Shanice, Faith Evans, Kelly Price, Boyz II Men, Blackstreet, Tyrese, Eric Benet…). Then I discovered Musiq Soulchild and started to listen to him and to other so called Nu Soul artists like Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Glenn Lewis, Geno Young, Dwele, D’ Angelo and so on. I still love them a lot and always will, but right now I’m more into contemporary jazz, my favorite artists being Kurt Elling, Esperanza Spalding and Jamie Cullum. I’m currently trying to learn more about jazz in general and so I’m also listening to great masters like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, the Jazz Messengers, Chet Baker…
3) Do you feel you are underground? Why do you think you have been able to fly under the radar for so long?
I am definitely underground. I’ve been practicing music for a long time but I don’t do music for a living, and I had to stop during my studies. After I finished my engineering studies I had more time available for music and so I resumed singing and participated in a Parisian Soul/R&B choir named “We are One”. Then I met several singers and musicians active on the Parisian soul scene and decided in late 2010 to make an album. It took me nearly two years and a half to write, compose and arrange the songs of my album “Echappée” and meanwhile I did not do many shows and did not release anything on the internet explaining why I’m not known at all.
Another thing is I did not choose the easiest path since all my songs are written in French (except one). Indeed, in France nearly no french soul/nu soul artists has managed to reach mainstream medias, apart from Ben l’Oncle Soul. Only english speaking artists like Adele, Alicia Keys or Selah Sue have had success in France with Soul/R&B influenced tunes. If the songs are in french they are often immediately despised. A funny example is the success of the French Nu Soul group “Les Nubians” in the United States, when their work is practically ignored in France.
I don’t really know why but I think lots of people believe only English speaking people can make credible Soul/Nu Soul music…That’s the main reason I expected to remain underground for a while. That does not really bother me, since I make the music i love and managed to make nearly no concession on my album. I’m was not trying to please somebody, I wanted to express what i had inside and give my vision of the groove in french. Maybe this is a luxury I could not have afforded if I “needed” an audience to like me. That is fortunately not the case, and if I hope that my album will be appreciated (like any other artist), my real priority is to constantly improve my music skills and keep on being creative and true to myself no matter the criticisms.
4) What’s coming up for you this year?
I hope I’ll be able to release my album soon :). In the meantime, I’m learning jazz harmony and jazz piano in a jazz school named “Arpej” and I can’t wait to use this new skills to make new songs, for me or for others.
5) Do you have any plans for coming to the US?
It’s not planned but I would love to. I love the US I went there last Summer for a road trip from California to Arizona and it would be like making a dream come true to sing there !
6) Tell us about your upcoming album.
“Echappée” is a mix of all my influences: 90’s R&B, gospel, jazz, hip hop, pop, bossa, acappella jazz (I love Take 6!!!)….Jamie Cullum, SWV, Erykah Badu, Slakah the Beatchild and Geno Young were great sources of inspiration at the time I wrote the songs. I wanted to make it diverse, to have different atmospheres so I worked on it with more than twenty persons (back singers, and several musicians). I invited some of my friends for featurings (4 featurings on the album). Concerning the lyrics, I talk about music itself, the way you feel while creating, the joy of making music with other people.
I also talk about childhood and dreams (I’m quite a nostalgic person), multiculturalism… I’m not really interested in writing about love. It’s already been done, and very well done. And I really tried to make French words groove as easily as English words. I wrote and composed most of the tracks, but two beatmakers produced two tracks: Tum’soul (“Si tu veux rester“) and Hadoq. When I listen to it it’s funny to remember all the difficulties I went through and all the things I learned and understood, about music itself and about the people I worked with. Three years ago i never thought I would have achieve that. So I’m very happy and eager to improve and to resume creating :).
We would like to thank Osmojam for taking the time out to respond to our questions and hope you enjoyed her answers. If you are interested, please download her EP 80 here.