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Krystle Warren FULL Interview

Introducing the next Nina Simone…

The UK has been slow to cotton on to Kansas City-born singer/songwriter and former busker Krystle Warren. Her sublime soul and jazz influenced folk music has received ample attention in both France (where she now resides) and the US for quite some time. However, it wasn’t until she performed a highly memorable set on ‘The Late Show with Jools Holland’ last year that us Brits started to take note.

This month saw Krystle Warren partake in her first ever UK tour, as part of the Nick Drake: ‘Way To Blue’ Tribute concerts. Krystle’s acapella rendition of Drake’s ‘Hanging on a Star’ proved to be the highlight of the London Barbican Centre show, her Jeff Buckley-esque vocal range inciting the most captivating performance of the evening.

Catch a Vibe had the opportunity to meet Krystle just before the concert. Smartly dressed and exuberating a cool, ‘jazz bar’ kind of vibe she told us about her busking in New York, her move to Paris and what we can expect from her in the near future.

Catch a Vibe: How would you compare your busking on the streets of New York to performing on a stage?

Krystle Warren: I enjoyed [the busking] immensely… and I ended up making friends; this woman named West actually. While I was playing my eyes were closed and when I looked up there was this woman. I had been crying and she said “Who are you? I love you.” My boyfriend and I had just broken up and I was miserable. “Come over, I’ll make you food.” She’s somewhere in her 60s and she invited me over, and made me homemade chicken noodle-soup. I just sat there for hours and we just talked and talked and talked. And she’s still one of my friends. We keep in contact.

So I guess the overall difference between busking and the stage is that you don’t really have the chance to connect with people in that way. When you’re on the stage you’re just there for a moment, and then you’re in a completely different world in the backstage area, where everyone must make sure you’re absolutely comfortable!

CAV: Why did you decide to move to Paris?

Krystle Warren: I was flown there promoting the record and all that, and they never sent me back. They just never sent me back. So I’ve been a bit of a hostage actually, but I’m in a gorgeous city. So you know, you win some you lose some. (laughs)

CAV: Your music often gets attributed to many genres, from folk, blues, soul and jazz to pop. How would you personally describe your music?

Krystle Warren: I think that the foundation of it is definitely from folk. I’m an encyclopedia of various folk artists that I appreciate. But yes, I think that it does veer off into different directions, because of the different lives I’ve lived. For a long time I actually ran away from the idea of it being soul, because when I thought of soul I would think of Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, and all these amazing artists who I thought were really just raw. But then I thought about it. I listen to these artists, so I guess I could be influenced enough to have that element.

CAV: When did you first pick up the guitar, and who inspired you to start playing?

Krystle Warren: When I was about 15 or so. But I didn’t start [truly] playing it till maybe two years later. And I was listening to James Taylor’s ‘Sweet Baby James’ and the Doobie Brothers’ ‘Toulouse Street’, and loads of Beatles. I started to figure out chords and progressions through listening to ‘Revolver’ and ‘Rubber soul.’ And from that point I was like “Oh, it works like this,” and [started] making s**t up.

CAV: You’ve never had lessons?’

Krystle Warren: No. I never had lessons.

CAV: I hear you’re an obsessive Rufus Wainright fan – is he your favourite artist?

Krystle Warren: Yes I guess I would say that he is my favourite artist. I’ve bee listening to him for the last ten years, since he released his first record, and have followed him since then. I’m obsessed enough that every so often, when I’m just sitting around, I Google Rufus and just study his photos, touch the screen a little bit…

There was a brief moment where I got to meet him at one of his concerts in Brooklyn, where I happened to have gotten backstage passes. I was there with my fellow bandmate and we see him…

[Interrupts herself] Actually there’s a funny little side story: I was trying to get an extra ticket for a visiting friend of mine, so I called up another pal who was working for Columbia at that time in New York, and he said there’s such a long list for people trying to get tickets. He said I’m trying to get you one but there’s a chance that [actress] Maggie Gyllenhaal will get it before you. If she does, and you happen to see her, tell her she’s a fucking c**t.

So we’re backstage, we see Rufus, and who’s he talking to? Maggie Gyllenhaal! My bandmate and I were just set on Rufus, and we locked arms, like high-school girls, hyper-ventilating. And while he’s talking to Maggie, he looks at us, and then starts trying to walk away! When he turns around, I just put my obscenely large hand out and touched his red Iggy Pop T-shirt, which leaves me with Rufus sweat just glistening all over [rubs her hand all over her face, laughing].

CAV: What was it like performing on the Late show with Jools Holland last year, and did you notice much of an impact on your exposure over here?

Krystle Warren: I’m not terribly keen on being on TV shows. There’s just loads of bulls**t – a lot of rules.  You Brits have a lot of rules! So once I jumped through all the hoops and all that, to actually have that experience was great.

As far as the impact – I definitely noticed it with the label, which said ‘ok so we’re going to release the record over [in the UK] now.’ And on the MySpace, suddenly, and on the Facebook, there were all these friend requests and stuff – just really wild!

CAV: Do you have any views on the current internet-centered music industry?

Krystle Warren: I think that there are definite pros and cons. I still believe in an album…I believe in the actual conception of a full-length record, whether or not it is digitally released or something tangible.

CAV: Nobody seems to buy CDs anymore…

Krystle Warren: …Which is drag. But at the same time, it’s something that the industry has created; there’s a reason people don’t buy albums anymore and that’s because when CDs first came out, instead of waiting to have them 24-bit they [the record companies] just go ahead and sell 16-bit and give it an obscene price. People are paying £18 or something for a f**king CD. Then people realized that they could just download.

CAV: Lets talk about the Nick Drake show tonight – how did you become a part of this while tour? And what can we expect to see and hear?

Krystle Warren: I played over at Union Chapel last year and Joe Boyd [show curator] happened to be in the audience. He came back stage – ‘so somebody was telling me that I should maybe come here and check you out, see if I’d be interested in you being on the tour. And I think I am. Do you want to do this tour?’ I said ‘sure, I’m so, on board, nice to see meet you.’ When he told me he produced Nick Drake’s records, two out of the three, that’s when the jaw kind of dropped, and I had to pick it back up again. That’s how it all came together.

What you can expect to see and hear is really a family – a family that is devoted to honouring the legacy of Nick Drake and his songs. Artists that you wouldn’t normally have expected to interpret the songs, but nevertheless it’s always a perfect fit – and you might get a little emotional. The thing about Nick Drake’s music is that it’s so vulnerable and naked already. The emotions are already there.

CAV: Can we expect to hear any new music this year?

Krystle Warren: Absolutely. There’s actually over a hundred [songs], for this next record. I’m going to record in April.

CAV: So does that mean you’re going to be too busy for a full UK tour this year?

Krystle Warren: I’ve been trying to explain this to my promoter out here actually. He’s like ‘lets just plough through it…’ No, I want to record my next record! He actually told me ‘I think it’s actually quite healthy to do two things at the same time’ (shakes her head laughing).

So I’m thinking April, well into a bit of May, being devoted to recording. Although I don’t think it should take too long, because I’m going to do it all live.

CAV: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Krystle Warren: I see myself quite possibly still in Europe. Maybe having my mental breakdown. It usually hits around the mid 30s. Then, maybe, going into my drug problem… having some serious issues with alcohol. Or time in Betty Fords [US rehabilitation centre], that’s the only time I’d leave Europe. Then come back and resume my bohemian f**ked up rock star life and, by the time I’m 35, having it all out of my system…

Edited down version originally published by Catch A Vibe here

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~ by cliveparisrozario on December 14, 2010.

3 Responses to “Krystle Warren FULL Interview”

  1. […] 23rd, is a light and airy affair, fusing together all the jazz-bar vibes and sounds that make Krystle Warren and Norah Jones such popular songwriters. Check out her ingenious little cover of The Stone […]

  2. […] out my full interview with Krystle here, and album review […]

  3. This is a nice little interview. I think she is a bright star, absolutely amazing voice.

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