Singer Jacqui Naylor releases her 8th album, Lucky Girl tomorrow. She is also performing tonight at Jazz Alley in Seattle as she kicks off her international tour. I spoke to Jacqui today about letting her fans choose the songs for her new album, her continued success with “acoustic smashing” and being the subject of a new documentary.
Producing a positive album
Feeling like she had recorded her finest album so far, Jacqui credits that to wanting to bring something positive to her listeners. The album consists of originals and covers, but the ongoing theme seems to be a feeling of inspiration and hope. Even with originals like It Was Supposed to Work Out, where there might be a suggestion of sadness, there is a feeling of a silver lining and optimism in each track.
Fans pick the songs for the album
Jacqui hosted a gathering of about ninety people where she performed twenty-five songs and let the listeners rate them on a scale of 1 to 5. Without exception, the top fifteen rated songs did become the cuts selected for the new album. Jacqui said that there was a little bit of nervousness in letting her fans choose the songs, but when it was all said and done, the fans made excellent choices.
“I think that a lot of the time fans are pretty much right on. At least mine. I feel like they know me. And in this particular case I wanted them to really know my heart in this album, and I think that comes through.”
“Acoustic smashing” continues
Jacqui Naylor made famous what she defined as “acoustic smashing,” or taking a jazz tune and a rock tune, and singing one while the band plays the other in a seamless fashion. On this album, Jacqui smashes Surrey with the Fringe on Top with George Benson’s Breezin.
Success with smashing
Naylor credits the success she has had with “acoustic smashing” by not only singing the song as it was written, but by also committing to the groove of the second song that the first is being smashed with.
“We are bringing ourselves to (the song), much more like an arrangement as opposed to a sample.”
Additionally, she credits her success with not making “acoustic smashing” her main element of recording or performing.
“We aren’t trying to make a schtick out of it but just do it just like any other arrangement. We ask ourselves what kind of cool thing can we do to this song, and say, ‘OK, this will work in this case.’ “
Lucky Girl Documentary
Jacqui Naylor will also be the focus of a documentary due out in the next couple of months. Directed by two women who are creating a series of documentaries following the process of artists, the documentary follows Jacqui around for a year and a half on location everywhere from Istanbul to Seattle. Initially told that it would be a twenty-minute short, the seventy-five minute film features everything from band performances to interviews with band members, family, friends and teachers.
I got to preview the film, and thought “Wow! That is my life. And I’m pretty happy with my life.”