Jazznovation - Join the Celebration with Kanelli
Kanelli Scalcoyannis is a jazz singer living and working in Athens whose fresh creative approach and warm voice invite you to relax and enjoy yourself as you listen to the uplifting, funky tracks on her CD 'Jazznovation'.
In the interview coming below, Kanelli shares insights into the Greek jazz scene, which is growing steadily, and into her decision to leave a successful career in Warner Bros to be a jazz singer.
CNRCY: Why did you choose to be a professional jazz singer? What do you think triggered the desire?
Kanneli: "September the 11th, when the twin towers fell I was working for AOL Time Warner, Director of Licensing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products Greece & Cyprus office. This was my 26th birthday. I was traveling a lot all over the world on business. Long hours at the office. I was approaching burn out and I asked myself - 'so when is it that you are going to sing?'
At the end of 2002,over a year later, I packed up my successful career into boxes and courageously, stepped into the unknown - the unpredictable world of jazz.'"
CNRCY: How did your jazz singing develop?
Kanelli: "There was a glimmer of singing some jazz standards during high school musicals. After school I continued to take part in musical productions such as West Side Story, Pop, Broadway and all that jazz. I then moved countries and worked pretty hard in my day job - so my singing was quite limited over the next six years.
I started studying in Cape Town in 2003 and joined a Afro Fusian Jazz Band, lead by Berkelee guitarist Daniel Eppel, called Siyavusa. This was mostly original material. My first jazz quartet singing was with a band Segue in 2005. In 2006 I moved to Greece and magically found a band that was looking for a vocalist. We performed thorughout Greece for four years, launching our debut album together in 2008 - Jazznovation.
During the above period I studied Jazz Voice in Cape Town with two teachers and continued at Atheneum Conservatory in Athens. I also attended workshops in Europe and New York."
CNRCY: How do you feel about jazz?
Kanneli: "Jazz is like going to the gym. When you are out of it its hard to get started, but once you get going you absolutely are 'flying high' with endomorphic love."
CNRCY: Can you tell us about your CD?
Kanelli: "The Jazznovation album was a project started by Vagelis Stefanopoulos (main composer) and label, The Sound of Everything. The concept was to serve jazz to the Athens club scene - outside of the traditional jazz context and into the clubs. As a result it is a combination of nu-jazz & latin beats.
CNRCY: Where can people buy your CD?
Kanelli: "Jazznovation album is sold on itunes and amazon.com."
CNRCY: If you could perform with any jazz musician, who would it be?
Kanelli: "Sachal Vasandani (I presume you mean the alive ones today) otherwise Freddie Hubbard."
CNRCY: Who is your favourite jazz singer?
Kanelli: "The eternal question: how long is a piece of string? So many artists: Out of the oldies my favourites are: Anita O'Day, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Mildred Bailey, Eddie Jefferson and newer artists today Dianne Reeves, Stevie Wonder, Bobby Mc Ferrin, Kurt Elling, Roberta Gambarini, Gretchen Parlato, Sara Leib, Natascha Roth, Stacey Kent, Esperanza Spalding, Sachal Vasandani, Carla Cook, Rossa Passos, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kevin Mahogany and so many more..."
CNRCY: How is the jazz scene in Greece?
Kanelli: "The Jazz scene has been building steadily over the last 10 years. I would divide it into the very established artists that have been grinding it for years and performing now internationally and a sea of new artists exploding onto the scene every season. It is very encouraging to see. Now all we need is plenty of venues to play!"
CNRCY: What are your future plans?
Kanelli: "To record selected loved standards that I have been performing the last years as a next album project. To continue to participate and orchestrate international jazz workshops, mastering the craft of jazz singing and collaborating with wonderful musicians from all over the world.
To contribute to the Jazz Vocal scene in Greece by developing a singing community - setting the stage for more inspiring projects/workshops etc.
To continue to perform with my jazz trio/quartet in venues in Greece and performance in Cape Town, South Africa in January 2011.
I have just given birth to two beautiful twins girls and feel extremely blessed that I can mother them in the world of song in the sea of voice.
Finally: to continue to encourage people to live their dreams."
You can hear more from Kanelli here: