As a musician, every now and then I run into a person that inspires me by his or her approach to what they do. I met Cyrille Aimee on the subway one Saturday night while hanging out with my high school b-ball teammate, Steve. She was very friendly and we talked about music and life. She said modestly, “We will be playing a Birdland next week; you should come check out the show.” Although I didn’t make that show, I did get a chance to check the show out about a year later. Cyrille turned out be one of the most authentic musicians I have met in my life. Her personality is as genuine on stage as it is off stage. So when I got the opportunity to interview Ms. Aimee for my blog, I naturally kicked it with her like an old friend, a new ally, and a fellow musician. Check out what Cyrille had to say about her music, and how she approaches this stage of her career.
Jeffrey C. Suttles: When did you start singing?
Cyrille Aimee: Hmmm, I started when I was around 13 or 14 years old.
Jeff: Did your parents inspire you to sing?
Cyrille: Well my parents always loved music and musicians. My mother is from the Dominican Republic, so she loves to dance. I actually started singing when I met these gypsies.
Jeff: What school did you attend?
Cyrille: I came here to study at Suny Purchase College in Westchester, New York. I loved going to school in that area of New York, they have a great music program.
Jeff: Your new project, Let’s Get Lost, did you do the writing and production or did you collaborate with other musicians?
Cyrille: A little bit of both, some of the songs I wrote by myself. Some of the songs I collaborated with the guitar player in the band. There are some songs I did in French and I also did some covers. It’s a mix!
Jeff: How much are you touring these days?
Cyrille: I just got back from France two days ago, and I’m headed to Japan next week. So I’m pretty busy.
Jeff: How often do you get back to France, to visit your family?
Cyrille: Well I was there last week, and I’m going back in June. I try to get back as much as I can, I usually go when I have a concert. I try to stay a little longer to spend time with my family and friends.
Jeff: How does your family feel about you success? Are they happy for you?
Cyrille: Yeah, of course they are.
Jeff: Who would you say influenced you the most, as a musician or an artist? Who inspired you to do what you do?
Cyrille: Hmmm, many artists have inspired me. Ella Scott Fitzgerald heavily influenced me when I begin my career. But I’m also crazy about Michael Jackson. It’s so many artists that influence me. The list is very long!
Jeff: How about Sade, some of you vocal work reminds me of Sade.
Cyrille: Yeah, I love Sade.
Jeff: What do you feeling is missing right now in jazz culture?
Cyrille: I would like to see jazz become available to wider audiences. Jazz has an old connotation to it, and it’s not that at all. Jazz is a very evolving music and the only thing is people don’t know they like it because they are not exposed to it. If they were exposed to it more, they would discover more about it. I would like to see more jazz on TV and on the radio.
Jeff: Yeah, it would be nice to see commercial radio and TV embrace the jazz culture. Okay last question, what words of wisdom or suggestions do you have for young artist aspiring to do what you do?
Cyrille: Hmmm, do be afraid to get back on the horse when you fall off. You are going fall many times, and basically the job of an artist is to use the times that you fall as constructive criticism and learn from it.
Jeff: Hmmm-great advice Cyrille, every young artist should apply that concept. It’s always a pleasure to kick it with you. Have a safe trip to Japan; we’ll talk when you get back. Peace.
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Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York. He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.