With a voice that has often been compared to that of Billie Holiday, Madeleine Peyroux’s popularity has made her a big venue star, but as Wilson Center audiences will soon experience, intimate venues are her real home.
Peyroux was discovered in her early 20s when Atlantic Records A&R man Yves Beauvais spotted her at a New York club. He recalls the worldly singer’s set to be “some of the most exciting, viscerally moving minutes of my music-listening life.” Twenty years after her recording debut, Dreamland, Madeleine Peyroux continues her musical journey of exploring beyond the ordinary with Secular Hymns, a spirited and soulful masterwork of loping, skipping, sassy, feisty, and sexy tunes delivered in a captivating mélange of funk, blues, and jazz. With her trio that had been touring together for two years—electric guitarist Jon Herington and upright bassist Barak Mori—Peyroux set out to record in a live setting a collection of songs that have their own hymn-like stories of self-awareness and inner dialogue, a communal consciousness and a spiritual essence.
“Music has been our spiritual life,” she says. “So I think of these as hymns, secular hymns—songs that are very individual, personal, introverted.”