Michelle Anne Richard
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Michelle Anne Richard

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"All About Jazz.com"

Michelle A. Richard is a young Francophone Canadian vocalist and actor from British Columbia whose imagined musical ancestors could well be Little Jimmy Scott and Mavis Staples. These names are significant and provide an obvious peek into Richard's vocal world: Jazz and blues, to which it is possible to add Acadian roots music. The latter makes for a mildly exotic twist to everything that Richard does. Not just in the stories she tells, but also in the naked folk rhythms that are entwined in the depths of her voice. She sings with a rare ease, always with in a dusky low register of the soprano. Her phrasing is spectacular and her in her wispy, delayed vibrato is a rich infusion of quarter notes that she bends and twirls sensuously in a singularly new and individual voice with a twist of Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday.
On her debut, independently produced, eponymously titled record, Michelle A. Richard, she has brought together a selection of nine songs that only just begin to describe who she imagines herself to be. It is therefore quite a telling story to find that Richard opens the recording date with two exquisite French songs, "Ces Blues dans la Nuit," and "Je Pense a Toi," composed by herself and closes it, significantly, with the Edith Piaf classic, "La Vie en Rose".
"A la Claire Fontaine," the traditional French folksong that was immortalized in the film of a W. Somerset Maugham story, The Painted Veil and "J'ai Ceuilli la Belle Rose" are difficult folk songs to attempt. Many vocalists do, but few have inhabited these songs like Richard, as if she knew them as a medieval singer in another time and is now singing them in a 21st century context. Here she sounds as if she were imbued with the spirit of "saudade," that magical spirit known only to a few—Brazilian—vocalists. The aching and longing in her voice is palpable in the former song and in the latter, the sense of skittering fun is sublime as Richard skips her way through the folk song. This is why a song like "Jericho" is guaranteed to come as the biggest surprise of the record as it is a Richard composition that appears to sit so perfectly with the classics that it is positively breathtaking.
There is also a sense of wonder in the interpretation of Rogers and Hart's "Where or When," and Joe Williams' "Every Night." These two tracks are sung with an easy sense of their classic nature. The Williams song is bluesy, aided no doubt by superbly plaintive guitar work by Lawrie Koyle and robustly plucked bass by Russell Sholberg, who together with percussionist Richard Brown, are steady throughout. It appears that Richard is headed for a main stage somewhere in the not too distant future to join vocalists like Cassandra Wilson in the great tradition of Jazz vocalization.
- Raoul D'Gama Rose

"Soiree Jazz et Blues Maillardville"

On May 12, 2007, the sounds of Jazz & Blues turned Maillardville on with music. Société francophone de Maillardville presented Les Soirées Jazz & Blues de Maillardville, featuring Michelle Richard. Michelle’s bilingual repertory included her own compositions as well as some traditional jazz songs.

Accompanied by guitarist Martin Nemcovsky, the audience enjoyed a delightful evening listening to the soulful voice of Michelle Richard. The audience appreciated their performance and they sang and danced on several songs.

This concert was part of Soirées Jazz & Blues de Maillardville series, organized by Société francophone de Maillardville. We would like to thank the Centre Bel Âge and Société Place Maillardville Society for their involvement.
- Société Francophone de Maillardville

"Bilingual Songstress Dishes Soul"

Hard to resist are the artists who openly reveal their personal lives through their music and lustful voices.
Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra perhaps are the few memorable classics who still swarm our minds with their distinct voices reminding us that nothing but a classical soul can arouse the full spectrum of human emotions.

With the new age rock movement bombarding the musical scene cascading onto the radio waves with a mash chaos of jumbled instrumental rifts; one new age musician is opting to embrace the traditional classical tonal beauty and create a new twist on an old favourite.

Coming into her own with her powerful voice and bilingual talents, former Squamish resident Michelle Richard (now residing in Vancouver) is rising into the musical community that many classical greats have come to be apart of.
Spending most of her youth in Squamish, Richard developed a passion, lust and devotion to music paving the way for her harmonic future. Performing a range of vocal styling including jazz, dance and French, Richard’s music provides an eclectic selection of works that create a harmony of robust musical styling fusions on one solid album.

Completing her first major Western Canadian tour, Richard said despite the BC weather that followed them, the tour was a success.

“The tour was a fantastic experience. The work was 24/7, either driving to the next destination or setting for our next show. There were only seven of us so we all had to multi-task. Not only did I perform, but I helped with setting up and taking down of sets,” Richard said.

Influenced by such artists as Sarah Vaughan, Bessie Smith, BB King and Joni Mitchell, Richard produces a unique personal flare in her music incorporating the traditional with modern experimental.

Off of her current self-produced, eponymous album (Michelle A. Richard) rhythmic tracks Backwater Blues, Jericho and francophone J’ai Ceuilli La Belle Rose carry a mixture of homegrown saucy, innocent and delicate soul that is reminiscent of 1990s songstress Tracy Chapman.

Richard’s bilingual talent carries a dual musical depth that keeps listeners entertained with a fresh vibe with each new track.

Working with her band and co-producer Adam Popowitz on her album you can feel the bond between singer and band that produces tracks which exude certain levels of musical kinship that is difficult to encounter in modern music. “It was a joy to work with Adam and my band. All of them put in so much heart and soul, contributing great ideas and playing excellently. I’m very happy with the result,” Richard said.
- Sea to Sky News, Meghan Clarkson

"The Michelle Richard Trio"

Everyone who attended our capacity crowd "April In Paris" jazz cabaret last year has been demanding a return engagement, and those who missed it have been insisting on a second chance to hear this superb bilingual jazz songstress from Vancouver. - The Old School House Arts Centre

"Chroniques de disques (CD Reviews)"

Another beautiful and sensual voice comes to us from Western Canada. Michelle A. Richard, of Acadian origin, has released her self-titled jazz and blues album, a gorgeous and brief offering of 9 songs. Beginning with her own laid-back composition reminiscent of Billie Holiday, Ces Blues Dans La Nuit captures the ear from the first note. As if to show all of her musical colors, she then charms the listener with another of her originals, Je Pense A Toi, a latin jazz piece where the sensuality of the voice is matched only by the southern guitar accents. Later on she delivers an equally warm rendition of the Piaf classic, La Vie En Rose.
Speaking of classics, Michelle A. Richard lets herself explore the repertoire, with Where or When from the musical Babe In Arms, and from Joe Williams’ song Every Night. Two notable pieces: a ballad rendition of the folk song Á La Claire Fontaine, and her English composition, Jericho seduce us with their latin jazz flavors.
Another discovery via the web, Michelle A. Richard offers us a warm palate with a strong latin influence, which show off her warm and mellow voice that is a pleasure to hear. My only regret was the length of the album. But, maybe and hopefully, we are witnessing only the beginning of a long musical career. In the category of the great new jazz singers, the Holly Coles and Diana Kralls, we’ll have to add Michelle A. Richard. - Marc Lalonde, Centrart Quebec Pop

"Wax Poetic"

Michelle A Richard’s debut album, self titled, is a mélange of musical influences and styles fit for the most tasteful of audio appetites. Her voice, as deep and dark as chocolate, bends notes with just a soupcon of vibrato and her originals, which include "Ces Blues Dans La Nuit", and two jazz sambas, all with French lyrics, show that she has an instinctive flair for what it takes to write a good jazz piece. Coincidentally, her French enunciation is impeccable.
All the arrangements on this album are Mlle.Richard’s own and are unusually fresh and interesting. The arrangement of jazz standard "Who Knows Where or When" is perhaps a little crowded, but even that in its own way, lends itself to the exuberance of the piece.
Her renditions of "Back Water Blues” and "Every Night” are in the best tradition of Ladies who sing the blues, full throat and full throttle.
And then we come to Mlle. Richard’s true tradition; the haunting songs of Arcadie; the simplicity and pathos of lost love unchanged in the four hundred years since they were penned. The openness and honesty of her voice is most evident here and is what sets her apart and makes her a talent to be watched in the future.
Jericho, her original jazz piece with English lyrics is I think as capable of putting Vancouver on the musical map as Astrid Gilberto was for Ipanema. It is a wonderful evocative piece full of fog and dreams.
The album finishes with an original arrangement of "La mome Piaf’s'" "La Vie En Rose". Piaf would have been delighted.
It has been an honour and a pleasure to listen to this album and an even greater honour to review it. I'ts always special to watch the beginnings of a great career unfold.
- Diane Laloge, Wax Poetic Radio Show

"In the Heart of the City Festival"

Michelle Richard, a dynamic singer with a warm and engaging rapport with the audience, had them in the palm of her hand, as she demonstrated her strong voice and dramatic abilities with songs that ranged from quiet sultry ballads to get down blues songs that had the dance floor jumping. - Terry Hunter, Festival Executive Director


Michelle A Richard - 2008



Bilingual singer/songwriter MICHELLE ANNE RICHARD is strongly influenced by her Eastern roots, originating in French-speaking Acadian New Brunswick and in Bermuda. She came to B.C. as a child and now resides in Vancouver. Encouraged to sing early on by her family, she has since absorbed many musical styles. Michelle obtained a Diploma of Contemporary Music (1999) for jazz and musical theatre studies at Vancouver Community College.

Jazz, blues, bossa nova, musical theatre, traditional French songs all meld into her music. Reflected in her sound are the strong influences of artists like Antonio Carlos Jobim, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Madeleine Peyroux, and Edith Piaf. Michelle can perform an entirely French, English, or bilingual program, in a duo or larger ensemble.

Michelle’s music has resonated well with listeners here and abroad. One of her newest songs, "Toujours", made The Province's Critics' Picks list for March 15/2010.

She has received three Best Performer and People’s Choice Awards since May 2008 (Pacifique En Chanson May 2008 & 2009, and EMBERS Networking Event in October 2009). In November/2008, one of her compositions with colleague Lawrie Koyle, titled "Je pense a toi" (Thoughts of You), was selected by Music BC for promotion during their 2008 Asia Trade Mission to Japan. "Ces blues dans la nuit" (These Blues in the Night), another of her songs, is currently being distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Quickstar Productions on their compilation CD, Goin’ Back Home.

Having released a well-received, self-titled demo album in July 2008, Michelle is now planning a full album. Two of Michelle’s compositions for her upcoming album earned her the award for Best Performer at Vancouver’s Pacifique En Chanson 2009 and were aired Canada-wide by CBC Radio-Canada.

Michelle has appeared extensively in the Lower Mainlandncluding such venues as The Hyatt Regency with John Nolan, The Cellar Jazz Café, Shaw TV, Rossini’s Restaurant, Fearless Festival, Fearless TV, The Performing Arts Lodge, Festival D'Eté, Heart of the City Festival, Société Maillardville, The Zone Festival, CBC Radio-Canada Vancouver and nationwide. She represented B.C. twice at Chant’Ouest (June 2008 and 2009), an event sampling Francophone artists from all Western provinces.

Other appearances include Les Grands Lacs Du Pacifique 2009, and the Rolling Stock Prairie Theatre Tour 2008 as a singer and actor, which took her to the Globe Theatre (Regina), the Colin Jackson Studio (Winnipeg), Ragpickers Anti-Fashion Emporium (Winnipeg), the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company (Saskatoon), Northern Light Theatre (Edmonton), and Motel Theatre (Calgary). Other musical theatre productions include The Best of the DTES Musical Theatre Review (Oct 2009), La Petite Fille Aux Allumettes (June 2009), and Condemned (Feb 2008), a musical that helps raise awareness about homelessness.

“Sensitive, intelligent, with access to a great vocal range.. A great performer.” Isabelle Rousseau, Chant’Ouest 2009

michellerichard@yahoo.com michelleamusic.blogspot.com 778-384-5090