Sunday, May 09th

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Lady Day to Lady Tee: The Leading Ladies of Blue-Eyed Soul - Page 5

Madeleine Peyroux

Although her voice is not as visceral and her musical choices are more eclectic than only blues and jazz, one could easily mistake Peyroux’s subtle and unique vocals for Billy Holiday’s. Born in Athens, Ga., in 1974, she grew up between Brooklyn, Southern California, and Paris, where she began singing as a teenager in the Latin Quarter. Peyroux went on to perform jazz music across Europe with the Riverboat Shufflers and The Lost Wandering Blues and Jazz Band.

In 1996 she released her debut album, “Dreamland,” which immediately spawned comparisons to Holiday. In her original song, “Hey Sweet Man,” a stripped-down, bluesy track, Peyroux’s vocals are particularly reminiscent of Lady Day. The album also includes classic covers like Edith Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose.”

For the next eight years she remained out of the public eye, even busking in Paris before the release of her sophomore album, “Careless Love.” Peyroux’s 2009 release, “Bare Bones” marked a shift in her career as it featured all original songs and veered away from just jazz and blues and dappled in rock and soul.

Inspired by her father’s death a few years prior, Peyroux explains, “That’s why I decided to call it Bare Bones—because most of these songs are a way of excavating the essence of what I think matters, so in that sense it’s very personal.” Though extremely reclusive, the documentary “Madeleine Peyroux: Somethin’ Grand,” included in her live concert DVD, gives rare insight into the personal life of the gifted musician.

Reminds you of: Billie Holiday
Must listen to track: “I’ll Look Around” from the album “Careless Love”