Meet Colette Wickenhagen: Colette Wickenhagen, born in a Dutch family that loved music, especially jazz music. Winner of the Polaroid Award and the Breukelen Jazz Award. Studied successively at the Dance Conservatoire in The Hague, Netherlands, the Arts Educational School in London, and the Nel Roos and the Cabaret Academy in Amsterdam. Played throughout the years in many different orchestras: Harry Verbeke, Cees Slinger, John Engels, Gijs Hendriks, Rob van Kreeveld, Frits Landesbergen, Saskia Laroo, Michiel Borstlap, the Royal Dutch Airforce Orchestra, etc.
Reviewer Jan Rensen: "Still, while performing she gives a lot more than just a professional show; she gives herself. That enormous physical expressiveness, the willingness to throw herself deeply into a song, the art of swingingly taking in tow a full concert hall, is part of her being. From the top of her head to the tip of her toes she's music."
Reviewer Jeroen de Valk: "She has a voice like a luxuriously upholstered bridal suite. Pleasant, sumptuous, warm. Complete with exciting nooks and soft carpets in subdued shades. Colette Wickenhagen, one of the shiners of Amersfoort jazz, blossomed into the complete jazz diva with her elastic timbre, almost unlimited technique, playful improvisations, penetrating interpretation of the lyrics and remarkable radiation."
Teachers and/or influences? Influenced by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Ernestine Anderson, Cleo Laine, Al Jarreau, Chet Baker, Ben Webster, Miles Davis, The Boswell Sisters, Manhattan Jazz Quintet and many more!
I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I've always wanted to be an artist. Couldn't decide for a long time what I liked best: singing, dancing or acting. Trained for all three. After an accident, I couldn't dance professionally anymore, and I turned completely to the jazz music I love and grew up with.
Your sound and approach to music: I don't try to sound like anyone; I want to sound like myself! I believe that every song you sing has to become "your own." Love the freedom to scat and interact with the other musicians. It's inspirational.
Your teaching approach: Have fun and sing with pure emotions.
Anecdote from the road: There was an outdoor jazz festival in the summer, very hot, a lot of people in the streets. We had a great time with a wonderful band. I'd seen a wanderer standing in the audience with his bicycle next to him, packed with all his things. In our break I was sitting outside on the pavement near the stage, sweating profusely, when suddenly the wanderer came up to me with this little ready-made salad that he had bought across the street. He offered it to me saying that someone who works so hard and who touches so many hearts must take good care of herself and deserves to eat something healthy. It brought tears to my eyes. Don't think I've ever been so moved through a reaction from someone out of the audience than that day.
Favorite venue: So many lovely places!
Your favorite recording in your discography and why? There are two favorites! The last one, Songs for Sale, and the very first one, The Kick of the Blues. The Kick of the Blues because it was live, unrehearsed, with a band I had only worked with once before, and right after my father passed away - so very emotional. Songs for Sale because it sounds so good and we had so much fun recording it.
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? Fun, swing, honest emotion.
Did you know... That I have a wonderful husband who plays the bass guitar and always supports my singing, and that I have two beautiful children, a daughter who has just turned twenty-one and a son who is eight years old.
How you use the internet to help your career? Website with music, bio, photos, CD info, videos, store and download store, many links. CD sales at CD Baby, Legal Download, CDshark, IndieRhythm.
I love jazz because it's sophisticated, international, atmospheric yet free, cool and warm.
I was first exposed to jazz through the sultry voice and flawless swing of my mother.
I met Mark Murphy, David Linx, Kurt Elling, and Youn Sun Nah.
The best show I ever attended was Youn Sun Nah in Paris.
The first jazz record I bought was Native Dancer by Wayne Shorter and Milton Nascimento
My advice to new listeners: open your mind and your ears, forget about structure, feel the textures.
Go see live music and keep buying CDs!