I've been trying to meet with Brigitte Beling for about a year now and our schedules never seem to cooperate at the same time. Brigitte emailed me about 18 months ago regarding my blog and sent me her My space page with clips from her song recordings. I liked her unique singing style and song interpretations and wanted to meet the woman behind the voice. We finally met at a cafe in the Marais and over a long lunch I got to know quirky, funny, and warm hearted Brigitte.
Where are you from and where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Chicago. My mother is from St. Tropez and I was named after Brigitte Bardot.
When did you move to Paris and how/why did you move here?
I wanted to leave Chicago for a year in 1993 and had the choice between here and California.. I've been here ever since!
I started as a singing waitress at the famous Hollywood Savoy near the Bourse. It was great because I made many friends that I have to this day and met many wonderful people.
How did you start your singing career?
I started writing songs with melody and text by ear when I was ten years-old. In high school I performed in variety shows and because I loved musical theater, it was my major at Columbia College. The musical theater experience came in handy when I moved to Paris being I could sing in English and in any style. Following the "Savoy", I went on to sing in several jazz clubs around Paris and singing for private events on the French Riviera.
Who are your influences, where do you perform?
Barbra Streisand and Elvis were the main influences growing up. I love all sorts of music and styles. I feel that we can learn so much from listening to different music from various cultures.
In Paris I've performed at the Habana Jazz, Petit Journal, Sofitel Hotel, Hotel Meridien, Café Universal, L'Etage, Resevoir to name a few, as well as many private engagements across Europe.
I also see that you are a professional makeup artist. How did that come about?
I took a pause from singing for a while because I wanted some security.I started at Make Up Forever and then worked at the department stores to perfect my craft. I worked as a manager at MAC cosmetic store until I was laid off shortly after 9/11. I began freelancing and working my way around a difficult circuit. That gave me a chance to focus on my music again, I wrote many songs during that time which I sing now.
I also put a four piece band together with a large list of guest musicians to join my venues. I like helping new musicians by giving them the opportunity to open for my shows and get their name out there. That's how I started, others opened their arms to help get me going. Since, I am featured on 27 radio stations across France & England and was nominated Young Talent Revelation 2008. The hard work paid off since I am able to do both. I created my blog "Pretty In Paris" http://prettyoneinparis.blogspot.com. while traveling across France and around Europe.I'd like to begin working in the States as well.
Do French women approach beauty and cosmetics differently than American women and how so?
French women are more simple about their makeup and go for basics where as American women are more curious about the newest products. French women also tend to be more reserved and go for a natural look. They have this way of keeping it simple and keeping it chic. I like both and think that all women enjoy pampering themselves.
Do you have a family?
Yes, I have a nine year old son and I've been married for 15 years to Thierry ,who is French.
With two careers and a family, what do you like to do in your precious spare time?
Chant and be by myself. I find the quiet time one that re-energizes me and opens up my creativity. I try to catch up with the paper chase which for some reason is never ending! I also enjoy getting together with good friends and creating moments.
What would be your dream concert and if you could choose one concert hall or venue in the world to sing ,where would it be?
Singing for Barack Obama at the White House to thank him for inspiring me everyday. In France the Olympia is a famous and beautiful venue. I'd say on a big scale- why not the Stade de France!
What are the best clubs/places to see jazz & pop in Paris?
For jazz I like New Morning, Duc des Lombards, and Caveau de les Oubliettes, Baiser Saler. Bizz art and Le China, are great for various styles.
Who are some of your favorite French singers?
Off the top of my head Raphael, Zazie, Florent Pagny,Gregory LeMarchal,Fabien Duclerc, and Amel Bent.
What do you prefer about Paris?
Discovering something new all the time. I can walk around somewhere I've already been but still find a new store, street, monument, restaurant... It's never ending and very romantic in a way. I love to take long walks with friends and discover Paris that way. There are so many hidden treasures to discover.
Stopping at a café or brasserie along the way for a coffee or kir- depending on the time of day.
February Concert Dates:
Wednesday February 18, 2009 21h
Peniche Six/Huit / Quai Montebello across from Notre Dame
Sunday February 22, 2009
Jazz/ Brunch 13h
1, place Etienne Pernet, 15th arr.
Téléphone : 0148280606 (reservations recommended)
Checkout Brigitte's Myspace site to listen to some tracks from her upcoming album
Brigitte also has a beauty blog with great tips about makeup
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com