When asked about her childhood, Violette responds: “I was a pure tomboy, shunning Barbie dolls for more active rough and tumble pursuits”.
Hard to believe when you look at the very feminine 24 year-old who seems the embodiment of a graceful, sophisticated Parisian lady.
Growing up on a small island off the French Atlantic coast, she fully embraced the beauty and unspoiled nature of her surroundings,
dividing her days between sports, books and music. However, in her tweens she had to trade her beloved outdoors for the urban lifestyle and restraints of big-city Paris. There she took up the study of traditional percussions at a music conservatory, followed by classical voice training. Being the free spirit that Violette is, she soon felt constricted by the rigidity of the academic music environment.
Yet, it wasn’t until a chance listen to an Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong CD in a record store, that she realized her vocal improvisations on Mozart sonatas weren’t as inappropriate as her music teachers had thought, just symptoms of her need for greater artistic self expression.
As her love for jazz grew stronger, Violette started exploring related styles such as R&B, soul and gospel. She cites Sarah Vaughan, Aretha Franklin,
Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder and contemporaries – Lizz Wright and Ledisi – as influences in addition to Ella Fitzgerald,
whom she refers to as her “musical godmother”.
Just as she was not able to express her “Innervoice” while studying at the conservatory, she soon found herself limited by the exacting academic lifestyle she led. So, having completed liberal arts studies and then mathematics at Paris-Sorbonne University, Violette finally gave in to her one true passion – music –
and decided to make the move to Boston in order to enroll at the infamous Berklee College of Music. Her diverse education and, in particular, her maths background did leave a positive mark on her music, as she brings the same exactness and perfectionism to her songwriting and performance as she did to analyzing French literature and solving complex mathematical formulas.
Though she now puzzles over equations of a different kind - those that involve the intricacies of human relationships and emotions –
things that cannot be solved by manipulating numbers.
Despite her sophistication and intelligence, Violette is still the same carefree and buoyant girl who, while in kindergarten,
received a “Joie de Vivre (Joy of Living)” prize, which she has treasured for all of these years as it accurately summarizes her philosophy of life.
She is not afraid to embrace her inner child, sharing her zest for living with listeners through her soulful and pop-oriented brand of jazz music.
Her frank and poetic lyrics in English and French, combined with jazz-infused arrangements and strong pop sensibilities make her compositions
at once upbeat and sassy, sensual and intimate. The diversity of the songs on her latest album testifies to Violette’s versatility as a songwriter
as she effortlessly blends elements from her favorite genres: soul, jazz, R&B and even elements of funk, all under the roof of a house whose foundation
is built on her unique and expressive voice, one which is “…hauntingly beautiful, filled with sensitivity and a sense of mellow desire…” (Berklee Today).
Violette encapsulates the true meaning of the word artist and claims creativity as her religion. She lives and breathes art in all of its incarnations and shares this love through her visual artwork, as well as music. Now calling New York home, this modern cosmopolitan has already performed internationally in locales as diverse as Paris, New York, Boston, Senegal, Prague and Dubai in addition to slots at major festivals such as Jazz a Sete, Jazz a Vannes and Jazz a Crest.
In 2010, she is set to conquer the ears of jazz and pop listeners on both sides of the Atlantic with her sophomore release, “Joie de Vivre”, a soulful ode to joy, through which she reveals her upbeat outlook on life to enliven ours. Enjoy, in joy.