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The Witchcraft of Rosanne Agasee

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AAJ: "He Thinks He's In Love" by Eleni Mandell... How did you pick this particular song? I really like it because it's catchy from the first second on and the music is just stunning!

RA: Thank you and yes, it's an incredible song. I have to be able to identify with the lyrics of a song, it really has to strike me. I have to be able to really feel it and relate to the words as if it were created for me. Then I can create it for the audience. "He Thinks He's In Love" has great lyrics that I could relate to and a fun melody, that's what it takes. I'd love to do covers of a couple of her other songs as well.

AAJ: Can you tell us something about your favorites, whether artists or genres?

RA: I loved the stuff I grew up with, as mentioned earlier. I listen to so much music, different styles of music also—I have so many favourites! So, in no particular order and hardly a complete list I'd have to say: Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Shelby Lynn, Eleni Mandell. Eva Cassidy, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Bill Evans, George Coleman, Kurt Elling, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Al Jarreau, Karrin Allyson, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Feist...

AAJ: That's indeed all kinds of music, which also reflects on your debut album, mixing jazz standards and pop songs. It's always interesting to learn about a singer's taste and influences. So you come from a musical family and liked the thrill of performing as a young girl. What made you go out there and sing, as in perform in clubs, years later... How did this start?

RA: It's a simple urge, really. Being in front of a TV camera is great but there is nothing quite like being in front of a live crowd and getting that real feedback. It's awesome and totally addictive. I just had to go for it.

AAJ: Can you tell us something about Toronto, the music or jazz scene?

RA: The music scene is pretty rich. I'm surrounded by immense talent here and throughout the country. Toronto has a very lively music scene. You can get out any night of the week and hear some great live music. College Street Bar on Sunday nights is fabulous. Living in Toronto and singing jazz makes me wish there were more Jazz clubs. We've just lost one of the classics—Top Of The Senator was shut down. Big shame.

AAJ: What songs do you sing live, besides the tracks you recorded for your debut album?

RA: I'm singing a lot of Thelonious Monk. His songs have lives of their own. Challenging but absolutely superb. Dave Brubeck's "Weep No More" and "Summer Song"—a bit obscure, but they're just gorgeous songs. Having a lot of fun with interesting arrangements of "Love For Sale", "Why Don't You Do Right", "A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square", "It Had To Be You", "Since I Fell For You". Most fun are the original pieces I'm working on with an amazing musician, David Grey. He's a member of "Parachute Club" and he's enormously talented.

AAJ: Can you tell us something about the response so far, do you actively promote the CD for radio or...?

RA: The response to the CD has been wonderful. It's getting some great airplay (three songs in particular—"He Thinks He's In Love", "Tomorrow We'll See" and "I Fall In Love Too Easily"). I'm a huge fan of Jazz FM 91.1 and CBC jazz stations—they're playing the CD. We're doing lots of promoting of the CD—I have a great management and promotion team. Also busy with live performing right now... the CD launch party is at Hugh's Room October 25th, Montreal Bistro coming up...lots going on!

AAJ: You worked with a great ensemble of musicians, any chance you'll perform with the same musicians, live?

RA: Definitely. Just spoke to Doug about that. It was a moment of tears for me when we finished recording this album—I really wanted it to go on and on. So yes, we'll be playing together again and again!

AAJ: Is it something that takes time, to decide to record an album and experience everything that comes with the territory? Did it come your way, like by chance, or has this always been in the back of your mind as something you knew you would be wanting to do, some time in your life?

RA: It's always been something I knew I wanted to do. Timing is everything though and this was the right time.

AAJ: Can you tell us something about the plans for the future, being a vocalist?

RA: I know I'll keep recording and playing live, touring. It's just part of me. In a couple of weeks we'll have the official CD release party, so it's all very exciting.

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