After 20 years of interviewing female singers of every genre, I’ve decided to start a blog. The fruits of many of these interviews have appeared in publications ranging from The Singer and Gay Times to Wire, Wall Street Journal Europe, Songlines and Gramophone. This diverse array of titles suggests I’m not alone in my fascination with the woman in the spotlight with just a microphone for company, spinning tales of passion, betrayal, love and hurt: the quintessential image of the torch-singer.
Girl singers are big with the marketeers right now. Quite right too. But they’re hardly a new invention! And being flavour of the season only begins to redress the balance in terms of coverage, clout and status in the entertainment universe. In this blog, I’ll be thinking aloud, reviewing new work, recalling old conversations, posting new interviews and generally exploring the role and world of the female singer as an artist and an icon.
Torch-singing is not limited by the genre of the music. It’s more about a sensibility evoked by a combination of the singer, her voice, the melody, the story, her performance and the lyric, that touches the listener in a special way. It’s a mood. A particular sound. So armed with my own flexible definition, I’ll continue to look for the torch-singer in likely and unexpected places. There is so much more to her than the holy triumvirate of Garland, Piaf and Holiday – great as they are.