Have A Little Paris On Me

Spending eight years in Paris was a life changing experience. I threw myself into the culture and embraced all that Parisian life had to offer. I made lifelong friends, learned new skills and was exposed to the kinds of situations that would never present themselves to the typical American tourist. I came back home with a deep abiding love and respect for French life, its culture and its people.

I am a singer and I express myself best through song. I put together a group of songs that would share my experiences with the listener. I tried to create my own 'mini-musical' that followed the arc of my discoveries, joys, sorrows and rebirth. I had so many songs to choose from; so many of which illuminated the funny, the ironic, the poignant and sometimes, the French bombastic point of view. A few are original, rarely sung jewels. They each help tell my story. It's Paris through my eyes and heart.

Helping me tell that story is a group of collaborators whose own passions for music and all things French matches, if not, exceeds my own. I may have come up with the idea for this CD but I certainly didn't snap my fingers and "voila" it just came into being. I had the inordinately good fortune of working with some immensely creative talents.

I first met David Andrews Rogers when he was conducting the First National Tour of Hal Prince's award-winning version of Show Boat . He is co-executive producer, arranger, musical director, pianist, hand-holder, coach, jack-of-all-trades and a dear friend! Whenever I faltered or would have self doubts, David was always there for me with a ready smile and strong words of encouragement. The making of this CD was made so much easier because of him. I cannot thank him enough. Did I mention that he also looks absolutely divine in a tux?

Paul Trueblood was my very first vocal coach upon my arrival in New York City. He patiently taught me the difference between singing cabaret in New York as opposed to singing cabaret in France. His ear for phrasing and finding new nuances in lyrics created a fierce desire in me to "tell the story". Paul helped me put together and was musical director of my very first one-woman show "You Don't Know Paree!" which was nominated for a MAC Award. He also composed my semi-autobiographical signature song "Feathers".

I had the marvelous experience of working with Peter Matz before he passed away in August, 2002. He had a long and successful career as an accompanist, music arranger, conductor and composer. He worked with Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Carmen MacRae, Rosemary Clooney, Nancy LaMott, Barbara Cook just to name a few. I found out from working with him, that he was a wonderful, lovely, warm human being and, quite honestly, I am still pinching myself in response to his decision to work with me on this project. He will be sorely missed. I hope I make him proud.

I met Shelly Markham at the Eugene O'Neil Cabaret Symposium in Connecticut. We spent many an hour walking along the beach discussing life, music and how we would love to work with each other some day. That day finally arrived when Shelly graciously stepped in to be my musical director/pianist for a series of performances I did in Los Angeles. Shelly had a hand in helping me to discover new material, reinterpreting old material and having tons of fun in the process. He is soigné from the top of his nose to the tip of his toes.

I first "met" Daryl Kojak through my ears! I heard the arrangements he had done for Stephanie Pope on her CD "Now's The Time To Fall In Love" and I was smitten! He is an absolute marvel to work with! I admire him for so many things: his passion for music, his diverse approach to a piece using various styles and nuances, his knowledge of hands-on production in a studio, his willingness and patience to listen to all of my ideas, no matter how "out there" they might be and his generosity with sharing his knowledge with a neophyte such as myself. I count myself fortunate indeed, for having had the good sense to listen with my ears and follow my instincts to such a treasure!

It seems I have known Gene Davis all of my life. But no, it's only been 14 years! He had come to Paris to film one of his myriad documentary projects and we have been dear friends ever since. Here is a man who can sing the lyrics to almost every song ever written by the Giants of the Standard Song. His personal album collection numbers in the thousands. He is the only person I know who has all the albums Marilyn Monroe ever recorded (who knew?) not to mention Ella, Carmen, Billy, Barbra, Tony, Frank, Eydie, Sarah and the list goes on and on! He knows his way around phrasing a lyric too. He brought the history of song along with his expertise as a writer, producer and passionate aficionado of the sung word to this project.

I would like to give special thanks to my father, Oscar Decoudreaux, who made it possible for me to finish it!


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