Isabelle Geffroy, aka Zaz, released her eponymous debut CD in May 2010 and by any standards it is excellent. If you ask Zaz about her musical influences she will explain that she prefers to think of them as meetings. She is expressive, powerful and has such vocal control that the execution of each song appears effortless. Not only will the album will dazzle you but also make you sit up and listen.
Jazzreview: When or where did your career start?
ZAZ: It depends of what you mean by career, it's been a long time. I have sung in various formations but the popular and media success arrived later. Then it arrived very fast, everything went very quickly, almost too fast.
Jazzreview: What vocalist or otherwise influence you growing up?
ZAZ: It is difficult to talk about a real influence, but rather meetings or atmospheres that may have had a real influence on my musical world. Voices like Aretha Franklin, or Billy Holliday or perhaps flamenco and beautiful French songs such as those composed by Brassens.
Jazzreview: You are known to blend several jazz styles, how do you think this has affected your career?
ZAZ: I don't know if it's the mix that may have had an affect on my career. I also hope that my own world, my own life, has played a decisive role in what people can enjoy in my music.
Jazzreview: ZAZ is a beautiful album and you must be very satisfied with the way it turned out.
ZAZ: Of course it is always both very pleasant and surprising.
Jazzreview: Do the music or lyrics come to you first?
ZAZ: No rule for that. I often have the melodic line running through my head and I just have to scratch a few words, a story about it, but it could be the opposite way.
Jazzreview: Your performance on ZAZ is wonderful and for me one of the standout songs 'JeVeux'. Another I like is 'Prends Garde A' Ta langue'. Can you tell us about both of these songs?
ZAZ: 'Je Veux' is the first single on this album and thanks to it the story can begin and be developed. I hope people will not see the song as a simple critique of our consumer society but will take the necessary perspective to see beyond that.
Jazzreview: How much sway does American jazz, be it old or new, have over French musicians?
ZAZ: Jazz has no borders. It is neither French nor American. Despite what the majority of journalists might think, I'm not sure that the great jazz singers and musicians claim a nationality.
Jazzreview: What is it about jazz that makes you particularly enjoy performing it?
ZAZ: Jazz provides a lot of mixing, a coming together of musical styles. It can be on the borders of soul, world, pop or blues and this why it is beautiful.
Jazzreview: What are your future musical goals?
ZAZ: Oh! It's a vast subject. I want to live and do what I love. It is a luxury. Art and human meetings are essential. I want to get involved in social causes such as education for children, ecology, and agro ecology.