An Interview with France singer/songwriter Pascale Frossard: The Blues is a true musical and social barometer

"It’s very difficult to write in French on Soul music, Blues or Jazz. Doing sound the words in rhythm and find words that sound musical."

Pascale Frossard: Blues Sans Frontières

Pascale Frossard was born in the East of France, and grew up to the sounds of (Frank Sinatra, Mike Brant etc.) As a teenager, she bathed in the sounds of Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye as well as in the musical comedies and black and white American movies.
She then started writing songs, inspired by Boris Vian and Claude Nougaro, amongst others. At the same time, she started studying to become a nurse. At the age of 20, she met a musician who was her first love, both musically and emotionally. He helped her discover Jazz Fusion (Miles Davis, Jaco, Dizzy, Al Jarreau etc). She began showcasing her talents as a singer by jamming in various clubs. She uses this experience as a springboard, she found a number of gigs like backing vocalist and started writing for other singers. 2000 was the year that she really came into her own as a singer, she started writing her own lyrics for her songs inspired by the Soul Music, The Jazz-Funk and Latin music and at the same time, she started to get into Harmonies Jazz.
Pascale Frossard sings for the New Year 2000 with a Band of eight musicians, including Benny Ross "in Sax and works with the Singer Soul Rhythm & Blues" Kad ". In late 2004, she met the Congolese guitarist Michael Mayetela who joins the group and with him she will explore the world of "Black Music" she already knew, but the meeting will enable it to carry more music in his style, Feeling more colorful.

Interview by Michael Limnios

Pascale, when was your first desire to become involved in the music & what made you fall in love with the blues, soul and jazz music?
When I was young and teenager I listened Frank Sinatra, Mike Brant, Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, and I also loved musical comedies. It’s during childhood and adolescence that I discovered the Soul and Jazz Music and they have always been in me like a second skin. The Blues and Funk Music came later enrich my musical universe. Also passionate from writing and literature, I began to write, initially by passion and pleasure. Later I discovered my voice, which allowed me to associate and link my musical influences and my writings in the same spirit and musical way, that of singing and writing lyrics to my music, tinted, sprinkled, Soul, Jazz & Blues.

What was the first gig you ever went to & what were the first songs you learned?
My first concert has been performed in Besançon City in the east of France the December 31, 1999 ... It was unforgettable…
The first songs I learned are : What a Wonderful World, Georgia On My Mind, For Once In My Life, Over the Rainbow, For Me Formidable, La Mer (Beyond The Sea), Superstition, Proud Mary

Which was the best moment of your career and which was the worst?
Not easy to answer for the better moments, I say the best moments are the fantastic meetings with fabulous artists like "Big Poppa E (Miami Blues Man)", "Jean Alain Roussel (Arranger Sting, B Marley, Etc.)" "Larry Carlton Fantastic Guitarist and beautiful person", "Patrice Louis ( Fabulous Painter)" and the worse moment , no doubt, was my terrible crash with my car and because of which I had to cancel my scheduled tour dates in the United States.

Do you think that your music comes from the heart, the brain or the soul?
My music comes from my heart for the feeling and commitment, from my soul for the spirit and sensuality and from my head for writing and fine arrangements.

What does the BLUES mean to you & what does MUSIC offered you?
Above all, the Blues tells about the pain and the struggle against the segregationist and slavery suffered by the black Americans in the Delta and the southern United States. Secondly the Blues is a really unique style music that allows freedom of expression and musical infinite. It’s also a way of feeling things, life and society itself. The Blues is a true musical and social barometer. And I would say my music and my singing are "Bluesy". The music offered me a nice encounters and travel deep within myself and intense sensations both on stage and recording studio. And development of my personality.

What characterize the sound of Pascale Frossard? How do you describe your philosophy about the music?
The sound of my voice is often described as deep, as low and silver voice, husky, sensual, softly and stellar. She can move from low range to very high range and in recording, I must avoid the low cut and the high cut which often destroy the remaining harmonics and which compress too much the sound reducing the width of the bandwidth of the voice. My range is about three and a half octaves. The sound of my music is very cozy between Jazz, Blues, Soul and Funk. Groovy and sometimes very Cool, also with Latin style. Done with the most beautiful harmonies Jazzy, I sometimes Mixed it with World Music with Arabs and African Music, Reggae, Salsa and Hip Hop ...

Do you remember anything funny or interesting from the recording time?
Big laugh with the sound engineer "Didier" with who I often work and He has a big humor. Which has earned us a few unforgettable giggles. But we have the ability to work seriously, but in good spirits and Feeling

How do you describe your contact to people when you are on stage? What compliment do you appreciate the most after a gig?
I believe that my contact with people on stage is good, I like talking and sharing with my public. For me It’s very important and essential for the communication and the Feeling. After a concert the compliment I  most appreciate  is simply "We had a great time with you and your music"

Tell me about the beginning of Stella. How did you choose the name and where did it start?
Stella is the name of my daughter and this is also for me the unforgettable Jazz Standard "Stella By Starlight" ... That's why I chose to call my first band "Stella" and also because the program was between Jazz and Blues. At beginning it was a trio and we started in small clubs and casinos .. It's just after 2 or 3 years of touring and that we have integrated the original compositions and expands the band with a drummer that I changed the name of this one by "Pascale Frossard."

What is the current state of the live music scene in France where you live?
Not very good ...

Are there any memories from your own road to the blues, which you’d like to share with us?
Yes, I met Bob Guthridge, Personal Photographer of BB King. And my meeting with "Poppa E" from « Black Owl  Music » Blues Label of  Miami USA,  with whom I sang "I'm a Woman" "Georgia On My Mind" and "I’m in the Mood". Also my public and "Poppa E" advised me to sing "Miss Celies Blues". Unforgettable moments and memories of Blues.

Which of historical music personalities would you like to meet? From whom have you have learned the most secrets about blues music?
The historical music personalities that I liked to meet are Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Jaco Pastorius, Ella Fitzgerald, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael and all of these composers who contributed to the richness of the music of the 20th century. I learned the secrets of the Blues in listening to all the great bluesmen BB King, John Lee Hooker, Etta James, Willy Dixon, Robert Johnson, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Muddy Waters, Koko Taylor, Albert King, Albert Collins, Jimmy Hendrix, Sonny Boy Williamson, Taj Mahal, Etc. Etc. Etc. .....

Any of blues, soul and jazz standards have any real personal feelings for you & what are some of your favorite?
Here are the Blues Standards that I particularly like "The Thrill is Gone" "Born Under A Badsign" "The Sky Is Crying" "Miss Celie's Blues" "I'm A Woman" "I’m In The Mood" and many others
Here the Soul Standards that I particularly like: "Inner City Blues" "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" "What's Going Home" "Superstition" "Hard To Handle" and many others
Here are the Jazz Standards that I particularly like: "Night And Day" "September Song" "I Thought About You" "Angel Eyes" "You Do not Know What Love Is" and many others

Some music styles can be fads but the blues is always with us. Why do think that is? Give one wish for the BLUES
It's like that, because the Blues represents and distributes real values and supports people's lives through time. It's and It will remain an universal music. I wish at the Blues to exist again more longer and that it continues its way through other music.

How you would spend a day with Miles Davis?
Do a duet with Miles as Zucchero did ... It was fantastic

What would you had given to Etta James?
If I could, I would have given to Etta James again many years to live and happiness

What would you ask Marvin Gaye?
Nothing special, I think He has already given so much with all the great songs he has left

Do you have any hobbies, which do not have anything to do with music? What are the things you’re most passionate about in life ?
Yes of course I have other hobbies which are sewing and clothing design, reading, cinema, sport and travel. I manage to do in some of these hobbies because it complements my artistic musical as reading, watching movies and creating couture. Others are harder to achieve due to time because the music takes a long time

I wonder if you could tell me a few things about France language at your blues jazz soul songs, how difficult is for a international career?
Everything is said in the question, It’s very difficult to write in French on Soul music , Blues or Jazz. Doing sound the words in rhythm and find words that sound musical. What is much easier with the English language. Therefore, it is very difficult to share my music internationally, and I'm even surprised at the result today because I've sold CDs in United States, and South America. Apparently my public of the other side from the ocean passes the message in saying : You can enjoy my music and my voice even if you do not understand the words and texts. My desire was to record my CDs in French and English but I met two difficulties that are the budget and also to find someone who can adapt my French texts into English.

How/where do you get inspiration for your songs & who were your mentors in songwriting?
The inspiration is a very complicated phenomenon. Everything inspires me: A gesture, a look, a feeling, a moment of happiness or a moment of unhappiness, the everyday, My look and my interest to others, the analysis that I can do, the life, etc.. The movies are also an inspiration for me, I prefer the Black and White Films, the Italian movies and the Americans movies of the fifties  .... And sewing, I like to create dresses, choose the fabrics, touch, work, Imagining. And often I draw, I sew and I watch a movie to find ideas for writing my lyrics ....
My mentor writers are Boris Vian, Claude Nougaro, Michel Jonasz. I also discovered Gilbert Becaud. At this moment I like the writing style of Miossec, Benjamin Biolay and Pascal Assy.

Pascale Frossard - Official website

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