Between the first set and the second set, Alberto Gottardelli and I climb up the stairs of the Blue Note's backstage, and reach
Lalah Hathaway and her band. She comes out for the interview. She has a wonderful, warm smile, and looks radiant, even though she's probably still jet-lagged for the journey from the States. After a few words for the introductions, we start our five-minute interview for Jazzitalia. We don't want to take too much of her time because it's important for her to rest her voice before the next set, which is due in a very short time.
You've been here for a couple of days now. What are your first impressions of Milano?
L.H.: Well, so far everyone's
been really kind. I don't have many impressions because I'm so jet-lagged. I've
just come from sleeping in the hotel, but we're going to go walking tomorrow,
and we went to the central train station yesterday and we'll go walking and
shopping tomorrow. But I'm happy to be here, this is my first time
How do you feel the audience is responding to your music?
L.H.: I'ts interesting because every place you go the audiences are so different, I mean, every night even in the very same place. One thing I noticed about this crowd last night and tonight, is that people are just out to have fun, so there's all talking, and eating and enjoying the music…. You know what I mean, the crowd is very lively….
E.S.: Yes, I noticed that this evening there was too much noise in the hall…. Too much talking going on.
L.H.: Last night was much worse…
When people go to concerts, they should avoid talking as much as possible, or they should speak low… They should listen…
L.H.: Well, I don't mind so much if they're talking and having a good time and enjoying the music. It doesn't bother me too much, unless it gets really loud.
But there are people who really want to be submerged by the singer's voice and music…and who want to listen, and noise is disturbing.
L.H.: They should sit up top, and people who wish to talk sit further back…
A few questions for people who are studying vocal technique: what do you do for your voice?
L.H.: I don't do enough….
If you're always out singing maybe you can't concentrate on too many exercises.
L.H.: I'm trying to learn these new warm-ups… and I'm sure you know them (she shows me: it's a warm-up I know very well: singing up and down a scale bubbling your lips… we laugh).
My friends, that are in
Take 6, they gave me these little exercises. So, I vocalise some and rest, and I'm actually trying to learn some new stuff now ‘cause I think you can always keep getting better.
And, of course you are the daughter of two singers, and in Italian we have this expression: "daughter of art", I know there's no translation for that in English, but…
L.H.: I like that, it makes sense.
Having the parents you had, did this help you some way?
L.H.: Yes, well, I mean, my father I listen to now, and his music just totally transcends time for me, and my mother's a singer. She's with me right now, and she'll tell me different things… Yeah, definitely, everything I've learned… I've been really lucky to be around music my whole life, and so it feels really natural for me, I never feel like…. It's just a continual evolving sort of process.
What about your own music?
L.H.: I'm making a record right now, and we're getting ready to mix it and it will come out in the States, I don't know when it will come out here, hopefully by the Summertime. So I'm working on that and I'm still working with other people. I did a record with
Take 6, I'm working with Marcus Miller, and I'm doing a
Luther Vandross project when I get home, so… I keep working.
E.S.: Is there something you would like to say to your Italian fans and audience?
L.H.: You know what? The first thing I want to say is that I'm so happy because I didn't know I had an Italian audience. So when I stepped on the stage here, and there were people in the room….Well, I'm surprised. And I'm telling the guys: "Did you see how many people came?" I didn't think… I've never been here before, so it's just shocking and I'm very honoured. So I'm glad to know, and I'll be back as soon as the record's out.
We are going to look forward to that. It's a promise! And with your music….
L.H.: Yes, more of it. A bigger band, singers, guitar…
We shake hands, and after a taking a few shots for the interview, we leave with the impression of having talked to a friend. A very open and sincere friend. With a beautiful, velvety, smoky voice and very expressive and intriguing eyes that smile all the time.
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