Who have been your biggest influences as a vocalist?
My biggest influences growing up definitely included Betty Carter, Dianne Reeves, Sarah Vaughan, Cassandra Wilson, Carmen McRae.
Where did the idea come from to do an album of Gil Scott-Heron’s music?
The idea came from Mark Ruffin. He had produced a Gil Scott-Heron record before, but this was his first time with a woman’s voice. With my vocal and arranging approach, we both realized that this project would be unique and interesting.
Tell us about the band that you’ll be bringing to England.
The band consists of Oscar Perez on piano, Paul Beaudry on bass and Darrell Green on drums. I have been blessed to work with these talented musicians over the years in different configurations. Together as a unit we are ‘East Coast meets West Coast’, a powerful collaboration.
What advice can you give to other vocalists, based on your own experiences of learning jazz.
Keep learning as much as you can. There is always something to work on and ways that you can improve.
What plans do you have for the future?
I have a few exciting new projects in the works that are being prepared for the studio, so stay tuned.
Wade’s 2015 album Offering: The Music of Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson is available on Motema records.
Charenee Wade performs at The Big Top stage at the
Love Supreme Festival on Sunday 2nd July at 2:30pm.
Photo by Laura Diliberto.