"So... French" is the first album en francais by American singer/songwriter Lisa Doby. From South Carolina, Lisa opens her heart and takes us on a soulful journey down roads paved with blues, rock, and folk. Subtle, sincere, eloquent and elegant hommage is "So... French".
Chatting with Lisa Doby
By José Oliveira, Rock At Night Columnist. January 24 th , 2016
A subtle and successful choice to sing Moliere’s French language! Soul, Folk, Jazzy and well-written. Lisa has called upon the spirit of liberty which brought her to her country of adoption: France. Eleven songs of love and sharing, nostalgia and journeys unite eloquently in colorful finesse. Lisa Doby’s “So French” is a veritable bijou.
RAN - Lisa, everyone in Europe dreams of the American Dream! As an American what brought you to Europe, and more precisely to Alsace, France?!
LD - I took French in high school and I always knew I would go to France, I just had no idea I’d actually wind up staying two decades! I love the language and the culture, and Alsace is a beautiful region. I came to study the language, then felt that I could bloom and grow here.
RAN - Is it easier for an American to build a career here in Europe?
I don’t think in terms of ‘easier’ or ‘harder’. I would say that since it’s the place I chose to be, then it’s where I needed to be. Had I not come, I most likely would never have had the idea to sing in French and may not have become fluent in the language either. But, I’m not a coulda, woulda, shoulda person. Life is about living in the present.
You have worked with such beautiful and great producers such as John BURNS (Genesis, Jethro Tull) and been the support act for RAY CHARLES, PAUL YOUNG, JOE COCKER, PERCY SLEDGE, WILLY DEVILLE, SOLOMON BURKE, GARY MOORE… Tell us your feelings about this wonderful expériences.
Yes, the list of names I’ve been associated with is long, and kept up only because there’s a part of human nature that can only appreciate some things when they are juxtaposed with other things. The beauty of each experience is that these individuals were first and foremost just people. Most memorable were those who had the enormous talent of not taking themselves too seriously. They were absolute gentlemen. Some are no longer here. Wherever they are right now, I’m sure they still are!
In April 3, 2009, you performed to President Barrack OBAMA at his ever Townhall Meeting in Europe at the NATO Summit! Tell us the story about this invitation.
When the White House calls up and asks if you’d be like to be the support for the President of the United States, it’s an honor. I’m particularly happy to have been present given the historic nature of this presidency and the event itself, which was Mr Obama’s first Town Hall outside of the US.
After some great works in English like "FREE TO BE" (2006) and "WHO WE ARE" (2009) you roll into 2016 with the album release "SO...FRENCH"(DixieFrog/Harmunia Mundi). A soulful journey in MOLIERE’s language. Paved with blues, rock and jazzy colours. Tell us, the genesis of this beautiful adventure. Who are the composers? I think you composed the music and some other people compose the words. What made you work this way?
After spending so much time here, the idea of doing an album in French came quite naturally. Ultimately it was still quite challenging given that it’s not my mother tongue. I enjoyed concentrating on the composition of melodies without the confines of lyrics. Joelle Kopf, Boris Bergman, and Jacky Koehler all wrote lyrics on these existing melodies. Gilles Bojan and Pierre Kern are the first songwriters whose compositions I was okay to just be interpret. We only spoke a little about what the songs would say, I tweaked a chord here, a bridge there. It’s also liberating to just sing a story written by another writer, and funny that it took a project in French for the idea to even occur to me.
And why the title?
My son came up with it actually. I liked the way it sounded. I added the ellipses to let the listener fill in a thought. Words like ‘finally’, ‘and now in’, or ‘very’ have been used by the public. The press seems to like playing with it too.
How did Your American friends, in Carolina or even here, feel about this work in French?
I’ve gotten great feedback from friends who have listened to the album on the different media platforms. For the moment the official release States side is still in the works, and should be within the next few months.
What’s your next project? Are you currently touring? Want to play one day in your country?
There a few melodies without lyrics now and I’m thinking of teaming up with another writer to bounce ideas around. I may do a sort of roots album, we’ll see. I do look forward to playing in the US, and intend to spend more time there in the near future.
Last week ROCK MUSIC lost one of its most important messengers! DAVID BOWIE is gone! What did he represented to you?
David Bowie was simply an icon and indie before indie was cool. He always danced to his inner artistic drum, and that’s what makes him universal.
Thank you so much Lisa for your kindness
It was my pleasure
What the press says:
Her Songs Are Filled with Energy! "With a deft melding of Rock, Pop, and Soul Lisa Doby enchanted fans at Muddy's Club."
This Lady is in a Class All her Own "From her 'Be With You' unplugged to an hommage to Aretha Franklin's Dr Feelgood, then a third and final encore with her own title, Unconditionally... and the publc still couldn't get enough."
A Swirl of Energy with Much Charm
"We can make this world better!", Lisa Sings and Speaks of Love
Little Lady, Huge Voice
Lisa Doby comes to us from Columbia, South Carolina, "halfway between NYC and Miami," as she sometimes puts it. Early memories are of listening to the choir singing in Central Baptist Church, and from Marley to Hendrix, Santana to Beethoven at home... Along the way: a discovery for passion in words, violin, trumpet. Music became an obsession. In 96 a study abroad program at Wake Forest U took Lisa to France, Strasbourg to be exact. Her soul roots met with rock and meshed. She stayed. After albums Free to Be and Who We Are, Lisa has her sound and her band. She tours all over Europe.
A few key dates:
2006 - Free to Be (Jazzhaus Records) Produced by John Burns (Genesis, Jethro Tull).
2008 - Love Sorceress Forever (Star Productions) Lisa is featured in this film documentary on Nina Simone, which is presented in the Cinéphile category at the Cannes Film Festival.
2009 - Who We Are (Jazzhaus Records)
April 3, 2009 - Lisa performs before President Barrack Obama at his first ever Townhall Meeting in Europe at the NATO summit.
2010 - Live at the WYB7 (MuMa) Lisa records her first DVD with the band: Yannick Eichert (guitar), Franck Bedez (bass), Jerome Spieldenner (drums). A true live concert given to special guests and friends: no redo's, no post prod tricks, just music. period.
Also: Lisa has been the support act for Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Percy Sledge, Willy DeVille, Solomon Burke, Gary Moore. Lisa has worked with DeeDee Bridgewater, Bernard Allison, Amar Sundy, Patricia Kaas, Marcel Loeffler, Beverly Jo Scott, NAP.