By Andy FIDEL
TVM: At what age would you say you discovered your passion?
Axelle: I was six. I was the kind of kid who always wanted to be on stage.
TVM: Where did you get that confi- dence to perform on stage?
Axelle: I don’t know. I have three daugh- ters, and they are all artistic. The first one wants to be an actress, and the third one jumps on stage and is at ease. You’re born with it. I just wanted to be- come a star as a child. I was creative. I remember writing poems when I was young. I always had a musical ear.
TVM: How would you describe your voice?
Axelle: People would compare my voice to Brenda Lee when I was fourteen. I have this very particular sound in my voice. But, it took me time to understand what kind of voice I had because I was always attracted to soul music. There is some soul in my voice. I was also al- ways opened to country music, so there is also some country in my voice. It’s a mixture.
TVM: When would you say you are vo- cally at your best?
Axelle: It depends. I sang on a radio sta- tion very early in the morning, and it turned out well. It’s not a natural thing for your voice to be in perfect shape in the morning. I can warm my voice so it
sounds good at any hour in the day, but it’s at its best late in the afternoon.
TVM: What is a typical warm-up for you?
Axelle: In the past, singers singing all the time and doing their exercises got on my nerves (laughs). But, you need to warm-up otherwise it takes three songs before your voice sounds good. So I hum. (Laughs) I think of the donkey in Shrek. You know when he’s singing, and then he gets in trouble for humming (laughs).
TVM: Do you find what you eat affects your voice?
Axelle: Yes it does. It also depends if you’re tired. I try not to be obsessed with all these things. You know what’s funny— I’m a solo artist. I’m a self-writer and I produce or co-produce my albums. I have different roles. When I’m a singer, it’s a very particular thing. But I’m not always the singer in the process of the album. So I’m not constantly protecting my voice. I will sing in the shower, but I’m not performing every day. I try and eat healthy and feel good. I just want to eat on time. I can’t eat after a show. I need the energy! (Laughs) I’m not that big. I really need the energy to be able to sing. I will never drink alcohol before a show. You don’t know what your reac- tions will be.
TVM: In your opinion, is there a difference between recording in the studio and per- forming live? And which one do you pre- fer?
Axelle: Oh, there is a big difference. I hate recording in the studio. It’s the part I hate the most. It’s so stressful! When you per- form on stage, you don’t think. You just steer the adrenaline. There’s no stress be- cause it’s just a one-time thing. In the stu- dio, it’s going to be there for always. My mouth gets dry when I have to record in the studio. So I hold the mic in my hand, and pretend I’m on stage.
TVM: What was your experience with your latest album “Rouge Ardent”?
Axelle: It’s was blessing when I finally have the vocals for the album. (Laughs)— it freaks me out. It’s the first time and the first album I am satisfied with the vocal de- liverance and the way it sounds in the al- bum. I always found that I sounded better on stage. Even my friends say so. I never thought I would capture that in my album. This time I did.
TVM: Why do you think?
Axelle: I have the experience, of course. It’s funny because over the years you gain ex- perience in song writing and producing— but that doesn’t necessarily mean every- thing gets better. Sometimes you lose that natural thing you had in the beginning. You dare less. This album is the best of both worlds. I have the experience and found this freedom and freshness again.
TVM: Is there a song you feel most proud of?
Axelle: The most beautiful song I have ever written is “Rouge Ardent”. It’s the melody. You can learn everything about music, but there is one thing you cannot learn— that magical moment when the melody touch- es you. The way the melody gets on the chords and the verses fall onto the chords. It has to move me first, and then it will move the audience. And the lyrics per- fectly match the melody. It’s what I am the most proud of.
TVM: Is there any particular advice you would give to up-and-coming vocalists?Axelle: The most important thing is you have to find your own way of singing. Even if you don’t have the necessary talent to write songs. I don’t everyone wants to be a songwriter. If you don’t, well then make sure you find a good songwriter (laughs). Ask for songs that are really original, and that you can add something to. Do what nobody else does. And don’t just imitate just one person in your way of singing. It’s by combining different influences that you will become yourself. If you copy someone, there’s no need for you to exist. That per- son already exists. The combination will become something new, and you will have a reason to be a singer.