It is my great pleasure to announce Gretchen Parlato's album, In A Dream, available now for purchase. It's available on ObliqSound, amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Gretchen Palato's main website. Here's a special treat, Barnes & Noble is having a nationwide in store airplay of Parlato's entire new album.
I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to interview Ms. Gretchen Parlato about her new album, past experiences, future goals, and everything in between. In this interview, she was extremely honest holding nothing back. Her demeanor was cool, calm ,and collective. She definitely has a sense of humor, but most importantly, Ms. Parlato is real. What you see is what you get and from it, there's no disappointments.
411: Tell me your favorite foods you like to eat while being on the road and traveling a lot.
GP: I try to stay away from wheat, soy, dairy, the only meat i eat is fish. It can be tricky with my diet on the road, but i try to find fresh whole food. To supplement, i bring raw food bars or powder drinks with greens, or some other kind of protein. And yes, i am always made fun of, lots of jokes go around with me and my kookoo diet.
411: If you met Genie from Aladdin and he told you that you have three wishes to make, what would it be?
GP: Call me a hippy, but i would wish for love, peace, and happiness. There's a saying, "may all beings be happy, peaceful and free from suffering and may my thoughts, words and actions contribute to their happiness, peace, and freedom." I believe in that completely and attempt to live my life that way. It's all about wanting to be happy, wanting love, wanting clarity. We all need to try and give that and wish it upon each other and maybe we'll attain it.
411: What do you like to do on your free time?
GP: I always need some time to myself to practice yoga, excercise, meditate, read, listen, dance, act, pet my cats. I am also a social person, i love cooking, eating, drinks, music, art, hanging out with friends and family, being inspired in some way with all the activity and relaxation that life has to offer us.
411: If you had to describe your best personality trait, what would it be and why?
GP: My best personality trait.. hmmmm, well you know i was named "best personality" of my jr. high class! It seems to me that people always comment on the fact that i am very chill and calm. I also will laugh at just about anything.
411: In ten years where do you see yourself?
GP: I'd hope to have a family and be settled somewhere chill..maybe california. Always singing, performing, creating, sharing my art...
411: When did you know that singing was going to be your career and passion that you would pursue later on?
GP: Singing and speaking came at the same time in my life. So, it has always been some part of what i do both at home and in school. Luckily, the arts were an integral part of my education. The turning point came for me when I was in jr. high. I auditioned for the school musical, "bye bye birdie" and I was cast as the mom! Haahaa! I think it was clear that I absolutely loved being on stage. It was probably clear to my family, friends, and teachers that it was my destiny. In fact, it was my jr. high drama teacher who told me to audition for the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. I debated auditioning for the theatre department, but opted for the music department and attended LACHSA as a vocalist. That school changed my life.
411: Your new album is called In A Dream, which will release on Tuesday, August 25th. What does "In A Dream" represent to you and what kind of energy do you want your fans/audience to get from it?
GP: I'm fascinated with the word "dream". It has so many definitions. The sleep state of dreaming, day dreaming, our goals, aspirations in our waking life as dreams. Memories of the past can be thought of as a dream. Something absolutely amazing or absolutely tragic can happen to us in life and make us feel as though we are in a dream. Some believe that life is a dream and it isn't until death that we are really awakened. It's pretty deep. I just wanted to use that as a theme of the album, listeners can interpret that however they want to.
411: What is the most important thing that you want your fans or listeners to know or understand about you?
GP: I sing from my heart and soul and i try to be as open and vulnerable as possible. It's all about honesty and being genuine. Sharing your own unique story through your art.
411: Do you think jazz is a male dominated industry, especially being a female jazz singer?
GP: Ya, it does seem to be a "boys club," but I believe there's room for everyone. As long as you're doing the best that you can as an artist. Don't take advantage of the fact you're a man or a woman, don't get caught up in the negative. The negative will always be around us, but don't let it inside our own physical body, mind, and soul. Just do your thing, as a man or as a woman. I hope people will respect each other based on the art, not the gender.
411: How did you develop "I Can't Help It" to the version you have now on your new album?
GP: I have always loved the song, its a classic. I wanted to do something with it and i thought about the first time i sang it at my senior recital at UCLA in the jazz studies department. I did it as a simple voice/guitar duo with a fabulous Brazilian guitarist name Marcel Camargo. So, it kind of had a Brazilian groove based vibe to it. When i brought the song to Lionel Loueke, he brought his vibe to it and developed it into what you hear now. Basically, i like the process of breaking down a song to its sweetest and simplest state, then enhancing it in the unique way that each player will bring.
411: I have seen your alter ego videos on your myspace page and I find them to be very entertaining. Tell me a little bit about that.
GP: Oh thank you! I thank you. Helen, Larayne, and Jose thanks you. Yes, i am a bit crazy! i love laughing and making people laugh. Laughter is one of the best feelings in the entire world. Put a wig on me, and i have a lot of fun creating a completely insane character. But the profound thing is that each one is really based on some sense of reality, someone in my life, some event that I've come across or had happen. Some things in life can be so sad and pathetic that they are absolutely insane and hilarious to me. I would definitely like to develop this theatrical side, i enjoy it as much as singing. So stay tuned for my one woman show....