Margot Blanche

Margot Blanche

 New York City, New York, USA
BandPopSinger/Songwriter

Margot Blanche is not your typical singer/songwriter. Imagine Billie Holiday brought back to life to hit up clubs on the Lower East side, seducing listeners with truthful, rhythmic words. Artfully, she infuses old world jazz with today's hip hop & urban beats.

Band Press

Taxi Review – Online

"A powerhouse vocal interpreter. The quality and technique of this artist's vocal prowess makes her undeniable. A Diva of the first order"

Former CEO Atlantic Records – Ahmed Ertegun

"Very impressive vocal control and great look."

The Indie Review – Thomas D. Szewc

Don’t tell my friends, but I just listened to an R&B album and didn’t hate it.

That’s right, the full-on rock fan that I am actually enjoyed something from the other end of the spectrum. I know, I’m surprised myself. The album in question is the self titled release by Margot Blanche. While the CD may be small in size (featuring only four tracks), there’s more packed into these songs than some artists bother to put in on their entire full length albums.

Blanche’s songs encompass a wide range of passionate emotions that makes for one sultry listen. Put on "Inside Out" or "Stay Awhile," and you’ll see why she really knows how to set the mood. You’ll also find feelings of devotion with the track "Give You Up," where Blanche truly captures the sense of one’s total love for another. What makes these songs so powerful is just how honest they feel. The emotion Margot Blanche puts forth on this album feels genuine, rather than sounding like the generic love songs you may hear on the radio today. Whether they’re coming from personal feelings or not, there’s no denying how authentic they feel, which I think allows the listener to make a connection with the artist they may not otherwise.

If the sheer emotion of the album doesn’t draw you in, Blanche’s beautiful singing voice will. What turns me off to a great deal of R&B music is when the singer either sounds like a no-talent object with good looks, or, when they actually have talent, sound like they’re trying too hard show off. I’m happy to say Margot Blanche falls in neither of these areas. Her voice has a smooth, calming quality to it, yet it doesn’t lack any power either. Listening to her beautiful vocals was quite the pleasant experience.

As one who’s all about the aesthetic, I must give a nod to the album artwork. The design may be simple, but it perfectly defines the music within. The dark, crimson red of the front and back covers set the passionate mood quite well. Plus the stem and bird design that runs across it simply looks striking. The color and pattern balance with each other so well that they create a rather eye-catching cover. Not to mention, Blanche’s image on the cover does nothing but help in the eye-catching department.

With a voice as smooth and melodic as hers, fans and non-fans of R&B music alike can find something to enjoy here.

A&R Columbia Records – Mark Jordan

Powerful young talent

SingerUniverse Magazine – Dale Kawashima

Margot Blanche Named April "Best Vocalist Of The Month" With Her Song "At The End"

Margot Blanche, a talented pop/R&B singer & writer based in New York City, has won the April SingerUniverse Best Vocalist Of The Month Competition, for her performance of her song At The End. Blanche is currently writing and recording the songs for her 12-song debut CD, which she is co-producing with Atlanta producer/musician Terrance Lewis. This album is slated for release in 2008.

At The End is an intimate yet powerful R&B ballad, which is reminiscent of acoustic soul ballads sung by Mariah Carey and Joss Stone. The recording is sparse and simple, featuring only Blanche's lead vocal performance and her piano playing. Yet the song is very effective - it not only provides a showcase for Blanche's impressive vocal ability, but also demonstrates that she is a capable, thoughtful songwriter.

Blanche was born and raised in Hong Kong, and her parents are of French and Filipino descent. She grew up listening to the classical music (Mozart and Beethoven) that her father loved, and to the Motown/pop music that her mother loved. Blanche did train with a classical vocal coach, and at age 11 she won the youth competition of the prestigious Hong Kong Music Festival. She went on to win other competitions, and at age 15 she was accepted as a pupil of the prominent Hong Kong opera diva, Katusha Fraser.

After high school, Blanche decided to move to New York, where she attended the Parsons School Of Design in Manhattan (which she later graduated from). She also began seriously pursuing her career as a pop/R&B artist – she went to many auditions and started writing songs. Blanche did sign with a management company, but this relationship didn't work out because they wanted her to sing and record songs that she felt didn't fit her.

Then in 2006, Blanche began recording her songs on her own, and she released a four-song CD in August. It was a month later that she recorded the piano/vocal demo of At The End at her home studio. "At The End is a song about getting over your insecurities – it's a song that people can relate to," explained Blanche. “I wanted to write a song about not feeling so bad – about at the end of the day, you're the only person who can love or fix yourself.”

At The End and Blanche's other recent songs (Serenade My Soul and Inside Out) provide a good indication of what listeners can expect when she releases her full CD later this year. "I'm excited about recording my album with Terrance Lewis – the songs will have some Motown soul, jazz and blues," she said. "The album is about halfway done. Also, I'm putting a band together, and we'll be performing in the New York area."

PeaceDriven Songwriting Awards – PeaceDriven Awards

Congratulations to Margot for being picked from 400 other entries to be one the top 16 finalists in the Second Annual PeaceDriven songwriting awards. Sponsors of the Peacedriven Songwriting Award include Peacedriven.com and the Red Posts Project, which works for school violence prevention

BandBreak – BandBreak.com

"Top 10 artists to Watch, Dec 2006"

Taxi Interview – Taxi

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I was born and grew up in Hong Kong. My mom is from the Philippines and my dad is originally from France. They met in an ice cream parlor in downtown Hong Kong. It was fun growing up in Hong Kong. I lived there until I turned 17. I still consider it home to this day.

Q: What made you realize that music was your path?

A: There was never a time where music was not a part of my life. At the age of 3, my mom used to put me up on the kitchen counter and I would sing along to Whitney's "Samen ahh mah love noo yoo" (Saving all my love for you). Michael Jackson was my hero too. I always loved to sing. At home, in the car, in the shower, in school. I think the first time it came to anybody's attention that I had a voice was when a friend of mine came over to our house and we were listening to the soundtrack of Beauty and the Beast. She whispered to my mom with a really perplexed look on her face "She sounds like the lady in the radio". I was about 8. That's when my mom enrolled me in classical vocal classes.

Q: How would you describe the music that you typically create?

A: I seek out inspiration in a huge variety of artists and styles. I grew up listening mostly to R&B, Soul music so the music I write and record draws from the music and singers that influenced me in the past. I would describe my music as Hip Hop/R&B with glimpses of age-old jazz, blues and soul.

Q: Who are your biggest musical influences?

A: Donny Hathaway was such an amazing vocalist and interpreter. Many of the big legends such as Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Etta James, Gladys Knight, Otis Redding have really driven me to reach deeper than simply the melody but into the soul and meaning of the message of the song. Another huge influence for me was Maria Callas. While I was training in classical music, I was mesmerized by Maria Callas and the immense dedication and hard work she put into each and every performance. I think what very artist that I mentioned before have in common is the intensity and conviction they had in their every performance. They moved their audiences on another level emotionally.

Q: What is your favorite song of all time?

A: "I'm a fool to want you" by Billie Holiday. The song was recorded for the Lady in Satin album and is the most amazing performance I have ever heard. It made me cry the first time I listened. It was the last album Billie recorded before she died. By that time her voice had deteriorated tremendously but the performance resonates depth and rawest of an artist at her most vulnerable, broken state. Just an amazing, moving performance.

Q: What makes your music unique?

A: I think there are many artists out there who are exploring the retro nostalgic side of soul music. I'm not looking to create a scrapbook of sounds of the past that are rerecorded and recycled to sound similar to an old Aretha or Dinah album. What I am really interested in is exploring a new sound that selects the best attributes of those vintage records and blends them in with the best characteristics of today's music and production techniques. I think that will be very interesting and a fresh perspective.

Q: Has there been one particular moment in your musical career that you're most proud of?

A: I believe more in living the moment and the growth that takes place as an artist than lingering on landmark moments of the past. I'm really proud to be learning more and more about the ins and outs of music production, engineering the industry, live performances, etc.. I just set up my own home protools studio.. It's a always a growth process for me.

Q: What's next for you?

A: I'm so excited to be writing, producing and recording my first full length album. As a starry eyed teenager, I was always waiting for the big record deal to fall on my lap so that i could create my own record. But now I see beyond that and really holding the reins in making my artistic and musical dreams come to life in my independent debut album.

Music Review: Pages In My Diary – BlogCritics

When American jazz came to Europe in the 1920s it inspired a new form of nightclub performance. Cabaret was a mixture of live theatre, burlesque, and musical revue with featured vocalists. If you've ever seen The Blue Angel with Marlene Dietrich or Cabaret with Liza Minelli, you have a good idea of the kind of cabaret performances seen during the period. Those who sang in cabarets were encouraged to sing in as suggestive a manner as possible, drawing on the inherent sensuality in jazz and blues.

Perhaps because cabaret performances were driven in part by the desperation of the times - an attempt to cram as much fun as possible into the short period of time before the inevitable war - they mostly did not survive World War II. After the war, with all the competition for the entertainment dollar and the advent of accessible home entertainment, fewer were willing to take the financial risk involved in mounting such lavish entertainment. The closest thing that we have today is the plastic sexuality of the Las Vegas show.

Another reason for the demise of cabaret has been the compartmentalization of popular music, leaving fewer performers with the skill to perform the variety of music required of a cabaret singer. There aren't many performers who have the ability to sing the styles of music required and have the ability to put on a good show. That doesn't mean there aren't any out there though, and if her newest self-produced and distributed release, Pages In My Diary, is anything to go by, Margot Blanche not only has the ability to sing in a variety of styles, she appears to have the required panache on the showmanship side as well.

Judging by the images included in the liner notes, she has created a persona modeled after Varga girls and other classic pin up images from the 1940s. The twelve tracks included on the disc, all of which she has at least co-authored, contain elements reminiscent of that era alongside more contemporary stylings. She has even gone so far on some tracks as to recreate the thin compressed sound of an old mono tube radio to help craft an authentic atmosphere.

If that weren't enough for us to get the idea of what she was trying to accomplish, some songs incorporate samples of artists including Bessie Smith, Cab Calloway, and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Lest you think she is merely recreating the past, however, her songs also contain elements of hip hop, soul, and R&B and occasional samples of more contemporary performers including Isaac Hayes and the Meters. While this may be starting to sound like a hideous, confusing pastiche, one has to take into account Blanche's skill as a performer and a composer.

Not only is she gifted with a voice with the range to work comfortably well beyond a single octave, her voice has an exceptional amount of character and the versatility to handle any of the styles she attempts. From the hard-edged, street smart voice required for the hip-hop/rap flavored title track to the teasing sounds of "Material Love" and the genuine soulfulness of "Beautiful Soul," she is able to accommodate all the styles she attempts with a natural ease.

Where many people who attempt multiple styles of music within one recording come across as unconvincing or insincere, Margot Blanche is able to carry them all off with equal aplomb and does so sounding like she was born to sing each particular genre. While in part this is due to her ability as a vocalist, it's also a tribute to her talents as a performer. Instead of merely assuming an attitude that would be appropriate for a song, she goes a lot deeper and creates a character who fits the expression of the material.

Of course that makes a lot of sense once you understand that Pages Of My Diary is not merely a collection of love songs. Think of it as a collection of diary entries, each of which are a reflection of the different approaches one person could take to the thorny and complicated subject of love. It's as if Margot has opened the pages of a diary where she's allowed different personalities to hold forth on what they think about love and what they desire in a relationship. In that light, Pages From My Dairy becomes a one woman show about love with songs serving as the script instead of monologues.

Margot Blanche is a gifted singer, a creative songwriter, and a talented producer with a flair for theatricality which make the songs on Pages Of My Diary not only interesting to listen to but turns the album into a mini piece of musical theatre. The art of cabaret may not be as dead as I thought after all.

Review: Pages In My Diary – Wildy's World

Margot Blanche’s influences are many and varied. Raised in Hong Kong, her website describes her as a French-Filipino NuSoul songstress. She grew up with the sounds of old time jazz on the periphery. Her musical loves gravitated toward pop soul (Whitney, Mariah) and she engaged in classical voice training from the age of nine. What Blanche does more than anything is break down barriers. She has found a way to mesh musical styles you would not think would go well (classic jazz and modern soul/hip hop). While some of this has been done before, it’s not been done Margot Blanche style. Her full-length DIY debut album, Pages In My Diary is revelatory and new. I hope you’re sitting down, and I hope you’re ready to get up and move.

Margot Blanche stands out in the world of popular music. She's part Madonna, part Suicide Girl and part Billie Holliday. Engaging in a stage show that borrows heavily from old-time burlesque, Blanche adds a sense for popular music sounds that are universally popular as well as a voice and composure that speaks of the best singers of the torch era. The music on Pages In My Diary is as changeable and moody as her varied interests might suggest. You're Here opens like a classic jazz standard before morphing into an R&B Slow Jam. Lonely Heart follows the same path, with Blanche's first sung lines emulating the megaphone style of the 1930's. The jazz horns that open the tune mesh with electronic beats in a surprisingly palatable mix of genres. At the heart of all of this is Blanche's voice, which is exceedingly pleasant with just a hint of edge to it.

The material on Pages In My Diary might indicate that Blanche's range is somewhat limited, but nothing could be further from the truth. The limited range displayed here is more stylistic than voice related. Check out some of the footage on her site from live shows to see what I mean. She uses every bit of voice she has to full effect with a silky, soulful sound that will turn heads. Leather & Lace is a classic jazz club style song updated for 2008. This is cutting edge pop music the way Like A Virgin was in 1985. Margot Blanche has that kind of presence on CD. Her vision of mixing classic jazz/nightclub sounds with modern pop is daring and refreshing and works much better than I would have originally thought. Her palpable vocal sensuality will sell an awful lot of records/CDs/downloads for the label that signs her and promotes her properly.

You Don't Know What Love Is takes a classic R&B style tune and laces it with a vulnerable air that weighs on the listener. Other highlights include Beautiful Soul, the 1960's throwback Superloverman (complete with LP background noise), Starry and At The End. At The End is Margot Blanche letting down her guard at the end of an unforgettable performance. Gone are all of the electronic beats and effects, pretensions or character portrayals. This is the singer at her most stripped down and vulnerable. Wow. At The End puts the entirety of Pages In My Diary into perspective.

Margot Blanche is a dynamo. There are many pop performers with talent. There are many pop performers with a shtick or character or public personality they pour themselves into and through. There are even a bunch of folks in the pop universe who can strip all of the pretensions away and just flat out give a great performance. It's not entirely uncommon to find folks who have two of the three above. Triple threats are rare indeed. Margot Blanch is a triple threat. Give Blanche the right support and promotion and you're looking at your next pop megastar. The music business has changed, and the days of the megastar may be behind us, but Margot Blanche is one to watch. Pages In My Diary is required listening, and a Wildy’s World Certified Desert Island Disc.

Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Margot Blanche at http://www.margotblanche.com/. You can currently download tracks from Pages In My Diary for free at Margot Blanche’s website. CD release information will be forthcoming at her website. Blanche is also gigging actively in New York City. From the videos on her webpage the shows are definitely worth a night out.