Key LaBeaud is the lead singer for the band The Key Sound, here is a link to her YouTube page:
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a jazz artist?
A: It wasn’t a conscious decision as much as it was something I gravitated toward. I was an only child and the only grandchild for years so I was always exposed to the music of older people including jazz. I merge jazz with contemporary music to keep things fresh. Jazz artists from the past we look up to would be doing new things so I like to have a Miles Davis or Herbie Hancock perspective about music. I liked everything and still do but jazz is so smooth…
Q: How do you decide on a song set?
A: I take into consideration the instrumentation, the audience, the venue, and what I want to project to them.
Q: How did your band get together?
A: Through referrals from other musicians and sitting in with people.
Q: What is your oddest backstage story?
A: Nothing odd. I’m the only female so I just have to constantly listen to their feeble attempts and plots try to get get women’s attention.
Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
A: Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Anita Baker, Sade, Chaka Khan, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane.
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it affect your ability to perform in your band?
A: I used to be an English teacher and it was hard for me to get out. Luckily, I’m also certified in General music for elementary school. At he end of last year, a small private school called me out of the blue for a job teaching music to learning challenged children. It’s part time so I can gig at night. It’s perfect and I’m happier.
Q: What is your greatest triumph as a band?
A: It’s a new band. I’ve been a band leader for less than a year. I’m happy to have a regular gig at a cozy French Quarter club three times a week. (Jazz Cafe 209 Decatur Street New Orleans, LA) People tell me my voice brings them in.
Q: What was your biggest let down?
A: The band auditioned for a spot on Bourbon but the club didn’t think we were loud enough to get folks to come in. Plus it was a slow night. We were told we were great but not obnoxious enough to get folks’ attention form the street. I’ve since integrated other genres and fuse styles to make it more palatable to most folks. It’s hard to keep a crowd for standards and straight ahead jazz unless you’re in a well known jazz establishment and unfortunately, that’s dying out.
Q: What do you love about New Orleans?
A: There is a lot of opportunity for unknown talent. There’s a variety of places that appreciate a lot of different things. Of course the food can’t be compared to anywhere else.
Q: If you could have a famous jazz composer write a song just for you who would you pick and why?
A: Duke Ellington because he can make a song swing or sing with some class. I use some of his songs in my set.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.