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An interview with jazz vocalist Dheepa Chari: From Ella Fitzgerald to Depeche Mode


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The growth of an artist is measured between records. In the case of New York-based jazz vocalist Dheepa Chari, it is the creative evolution unveiled from her 2010 debut EP, On 4th Street, to her new full-length debut, Some New Fashion. The first glimpse of development is already revealed on the first track, “Rocks in My Bed." Here Chari offers a deep, bluesy delivery that is quite unlike anything from her EP. It's a exciting shift in style, one that promises even greater risks. Sure enough, Chari remodels Depeche Mode's “World in My Eyes" as a jazz ballad, tweaking the icy, electronic pulse of the New Wave classic into something warm and sensual.

With such a spellbinding effort, it was time to catch up with Chari and discover how it all began.

Q: Where were your born?

A: I was born in Vancouver, B.C. and moved to the U.S. when I was 6. I've lived in Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York City since then.

Q: Where were you raised, and did your parents encourage your interest in pursuing music?

A: I was mostly raised in Canada and Texas. My parents were very encouraging with me pursing music and had me start singing lessons at a young age. My grandmother was a professional Hindustani singer in India so music has always been an important activity for our family.

Q: What attracted you to music to begin with?

A: I was drawn to music primarily because of its ability to express emotions in a way that regular speech cannot. There is a beauty, complexity, and depth in many different forms of music that I immediately connected with at a young age.

Q: Who were your musical influences?

A: I've had many musical influences, but primarily jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and Billie Holiday.

Q: How do you say you have evolved as an artist from your EP to your debut album, Some New Fashion?

A: I think I learned a lot in the last year between the two projects in finding music I better connected with and in also being able to express the sentiments in a more genuine fashion. I do feel that I have more evolving to do in terms of finding my own style and becoming stronger vocally in jazz, but I'm hoping that I've started things out on a good note.

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