Interview with Linda Michelet- October 5, 2006
"A Touch of Elegance Comes to Jazz"
Linda Lee Michelet is a local, torchy, saloon style singer who brings a touch of class to her jazz renderings via both her song stylings and her elegant work garb. She sings showcased in exquisite bling accented evening gowns as a way of extending a hearty welcome to her audience and communicating her wish to give her listeners a terrific, first class night on the town. Linda has a gift of connection with her audience and typically comes out from behind the microphone and works the room in a way that makes for a personalized experience for each fan in attendance. This writer felt that there was a story lurking behind this jazzy chanteuse and we made a date to chat after her most recent performance at the Heathman.
During an energetic dinner recently with Linda and her drummer Bob Wahlke, she detailed her story. Linda's musical odyssey began in Ontario, California where she grew up in a musical family in which her parents were "jazz freaks." She developed her musical consciousness listening to jazz and jazz singers. Her mother played the piano and sang and her father was a big band drummer. Linda was frequently in some sort of singing group in which singing was typically ensemble-based during her musically formative, youthful years.
Life intruded on her musical career during her 23 years of marriage as she was busy taking care of hearth, home, husband and children during her connubial years. She was divorced in 1994 after which she began to increasingly come into her own and make her way towards the front of the performance stage. She credits her daughter Lindsay, now age 29, with encouraging her development and confidence as a singer. Linda and Lindsay performed together on several occasions which dyadic love fests increasingly bolstered Linda's confidence that she could sing solo.
Terry Currier was also one of her early boosters and invited Linda to sing twice at Music Millennium to favorable response. Calvin Walker, station manager at KMHD encouraged further with his favorable response to her debut album "Linda Lee Michelet Live".
Linda has a close working relationship with her drummer Bob Wahlke who is a good friend of nine years duration and an integral part of her musical ensemble. Bob is an encouraging and constant component of her musical family and support system. His pleasant, steady and friendly demeanor seemed to be a meaningful source stream for Linda during our time together over dinner.
Linda who works as an investigator for Tri Met by day still seems awed by the musical success she is beginning to consolidate and enjoy. She has a vision of what she wants to do with her performance persona, which consists of continuing to polish and develop her offering as a way of sharing "the love" with the people she entertains. Linda plans to continue her musical evolution on the platform of Peggy Lee as her muse, while also influenced by other iconic singers such as Julie London. She would like to entertain at more and larger venues and if this writer is any judge of talent, it will happen. Linda is bound and determined to take risks to realize her dream and is no longer interested in living in safe mode. She is "going for it" and it seems very likely that she will attract increasingly hordes of fans who will help her to float her boat on her journey to stardom. The ship has left the dock!
One of the first things that one notices about Linda is her big beautiful and sensitive eyes, which are a window to this soulful, caring individual. Linda is a deep feeling woman whose emotions become a part of her, "something extra" when she sings to and with her audience. She causes her audience to feel along with her, wakes up our senses and stirs a full spectrum treat for the ears, mind and heart of all those in range of her musical offering. Linda exhibits remarkable poise and polish for one who has only been singing solo for the last two years. While she admits to some fleeting butterflies before her performance, once she starts to warble, she is transformed!
Her debut album "Linda Lee Michelet Live" clarions and vivifies the heart and soul of this noteworthy singer. This CD was recorded live at the Heathman, a courageous step for a fledgling chanteuse. Sixteen excellent tracks include such standards as Why Don't You Do Right; Fever; See See Rider and On the Street Where you Live, among others. Contributing musicians on this album are Neal Grandstaff on guitar; Willie Blair and Dan Davis on bass; Greg Goebel on piano; Dick Titterington on trumpet; and Bob Wahlke on drums. This one is worth adding to your collection.
Linda Lee performs at The Heathman Hotel every last Saturday of the month and she will be singing at the Old Church in March. Don't miss this dynamite singer dressed to the nines, ready to serve up a touch of class. Fasten your seatbelt. You won't believe what comes out of her mouth and what flows from her heart & soul.
To learn more about this rising star visit her web site at www.lindamichelet.com.