Take Five with Lynn Veronneau
I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I'e been singing for as far as I can recall. And as a little kid at family gatherings, I would get plunked on the kitchen table and be ordered to sing pop tunes heard on the radio or a traditional song. I could sing with perfect pronunciation although I didn't speak a word of English until my teens. It was fun for me to entertain everyone. I just loved it and knew then I was a singer. My dad was constantly whistling and once my big brother taught me how to do it I couldn't stop. I whistle on our new album!
My mother liked the traditional Quebecois songs that are part of our heritage and I sang them at parties. (The double meaning of songs like "Les Filles de Sorel" escaped me then!) There were lots of traditional songs about finding love in springI still sing some of those to my mom occasionally. This bilingual musical environment was normal for me. With five kids in the house, it was hard to get a turn at anything, so I would sometime pretend to be sick to stay at home and play the records I wanted to hear.
My first actual job as a vocalist was singing Zerlina in a Swiss-French production of Mozart's Don Giovanni. After my classical period, I ventured over to the wild side. I sang lead in a doo-wop group, fronted a prog- rock band and a blues band and I performed extensively in an acoustic duo doing contemporary folk. I slowly turned toward jazz as I matured. I've performed in many countries in Europe, and quite a few cities at home in Canada and the U.S where I am right now.
Your sound and approach to music:
My approach to music is totally song-based. I look for the power in the songs and the opportunity for the voice to delivery it. The current band formed in 2010 and we've been gigging like crazy ever since. In early 2011 we received nominations for three Wammie awards from the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA). That tells me that fans are perfectly willing to follow us across world jazz and related genres when the songs are strong. I couldn't be happier with the response.
Your dream band:
My dream band would have Bobby McFerrin, Bjork, Aretha Franklin, Annie Lennox and Eva Cassidy. We would all sing "Nature Boy" a capella.
Road story: Your best or worst experience:
In the mid 90s I was performing in a theater in Geneva, Switzerland and the stage lights and scaffolding came crashing down on us in the middle of a song. We jumped out of the way just in time and no one was injured. After the floor was cleared of sparking cables, we resumed the showwith the house lights on.
The delightful Bistrot Lepic in Georgetown in Washington, DC welcomes us every month. The staff, the room, the people are warm, and we play to a full house every time. We always have a great evening. I also love the Homegrown Series at the National Colonial Farm in Accokeek, Maryland. While we're performing, you can hear a pin drop. The audience is very appreciative!
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
"Something Cool' from my debut CD. I think we created such a strong song there. "Wonderful World" because I turned it into a delicate lullaby and that has come in very handy at times. "For No One" is very special. I think we made it very poignant on our new CD.
The first Jazz album I bought was:
Something Cool by June ChristyI fell in love with the title song.
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
It would be a sense of immense joy. It's in the pleasure of making music for all its beauty and the pleasure of discovery and invention. It's an intense creative process that engages all your senses. Secondly, it's the ability to find a timeless song and make it my own.
Did you know...
I used to work at CERN (European Center for Nuclear Research) this is where the world's largest particle accelerator is located and where Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. I joined this fun group, Les Horribles Cernettes, an all female Doo-Wop band, singing songs about physics and romanceoften incompatible. We wore bouffant hairdos and puffy dresses, and parodied the physicists we loved. You can still see our hit song "Collider" on YouTube. It was super nerdy and fun, but the most amazing thing about it is, that after one of our concerts in 1992, Tim asked if he could have some of our pictures. He wanted to scan them and publish them on some sort of information system he had just invented. We had no idea we were passing an historical milestone. A photo of the band became the first picture ever to be clicked on from a web browser! Les Horribles Cernettes was also the first band in the world to have a website. How cool is that?