Anticipation is building in Europe for the breakout prospects of 22-year-old Parisian songstress Juliette Katz, who is being favorably compared to Adele, although her sultry, silky, soulful singing and intense romanticism recall no artist so much as Melody Gardot (who also sings at times in French). Her first album, Tout Va De Travers (Everything Goes Wrong), is out and she’s touring around the Continent, playing to wild-eyed audiences; in addition, she’s playing more intimate dates, known as the “Apartment Tour” concerts, in which she and a couple of musicians on acoustic instruments literally set up in an apartment and play for free for whomever shows up (her Facebook page has a tab for booking these dates). These are designed to let fans get to know her and her music better, and, as she says, for her to get to know her fans off the concert stage.
From various sources and our own observations we’ve pieced together a Q&A interview with Ms. Katz, who is not only gaining fame for her music but also as a plus-size model, apparently, thanks to a photo shoot she did for the French edition of Pose, which bills itself as “The Plus Lifestyle Magazine.” In addition to her captivating voice and soulful delivery, and of course her winning appearance, she seems blessed with a good sense of humor about herself and the world around her, and gives off an altogether easygoing vibe.
She seems to have had a nomadic life in recent years, having lived for a while in India before relocating to Russia with her musician boyfriend, who booked her first concerts across Europe. Now back in Paris, she’s looking forward to being introduced to American audiences soon, although no release date has been set for an English language version of her album.
Without further ado, the first in-depth English language interview with Juliette Katz awaits…
The officlal video for ‘Tout va de travers,’ the title track of Juliette Katz’s debut album
Your first single “Everybody” is a sort of hymn to happiness. So you’re an optimistic young woman?
Yes I try (laughs). Given the current state of our society, I think being optimistic is important. It is true that I have a rather pessimistic nature but I force myself to be more optimistic if I can not fully live and love what I do…
Your single is played on a lot of radio and you’ve been on TV several times. But the competition is tough in this environment. What do you think sets you apart?
My dream body (laughs). No, I do not know. I’m the last to make a judgment on what differentiates me from other artists. I try to make music that talks to me, which (I think) talks to others too. And for me the texts are very important, and the different musical styles. This is perhaps what makes me different from others, but really I don’t know.
Juliette Katz, an unplugged version of ‘Tout Le Monde’
Can you balance your career and your love life? (This is a roundabout way of askingif someone shares your life!)
Why? You like me? (laughs) I answer simply: Joker!
You have developed an original concept, “The Apartment Tour.” Can you explain it?
We had wanted to do a small showcase to present some songs to friends and to showcase my record. It went so well we thought, Why not continue this project and do it often? So we did!
So beginning last March, once a week, I get with two acoustic musicians, no microphone, no amp (well, just a mini for bass) and do a few songs while sitting on the sofa. The aim of this concept is to get to know the fans and them me. We speak before and after the showcase. We do this for free, and we don’t even sell CDs. This is an important point: The audience pays nothing. We just ask that they bring as many people as possible and that people listen, of course.
We continued this project because it’s lot of fun doing it. So if you want me to come play for you it is possible! Find “Juliette Katz” on Facebook and you will find a tab under “About” called “Appart Tour.” Click on that, then it is simple, everything is explained.
Juliette Katz, ‘L’antidote’ unplugged
Where did you get this passion for music?
I was born into music. I grew up with music and since the age of four I’ve never wanted to do anything else–and not just because my father was a few years “in the business.” Certainly, things have never been easy, but I’ll sing forever. I’ve always done a lot of concerts. India, Russia…Bohemian life, I like it. But I digress …
I can’t live without music; it’s my way of expressing myself, to let go, cry, get upset, laugh. It’s It also a form of therapy for me. I learn a lot about myself and others through music. It’s hard to explain.
Juliette Katz with Australian pop-jazz chanteuse Sia in a smoldering duet on the single ‘Vague à l’âme’ (‘Melancholy’)
What are your musical influences?
Oo-lala I have a lot! Fiona Apple, Emiliana Torrini, Jill Scott, Pauline Croze, Jacques Brel, Georges Brassens, Jack Conte, Angus & Julia Stone, The Do, Massive Attack, Portishead, Erykah Badu, Imogen Heap, Jamiroquai, New Wave, Prince, Rickie Lee Jones, The Roots, Sade, Stevie Wonder, Raul Midon, Supertramp …..
What do you want in the future?
To be happy. That’s enough for me.
For more information, visit Juliette Katz’s website.
Parts of this interview were originally published in Pose, interview by Enrique Lemercier