About the Art of the Torch Singer

After 20 years of interviewing female singers of every genre, I’ve decided to start blogging. The fruits of many of these interviews have appeared in publications ranging from The Singer and Gay Times to Wire, Wall Street Journal Europe, Songlines and Gramophone. This diverse array of titles suggests I’m not alone in my fascination with the woman in the spotlight with just a microphone for company, spinning tales of passion, betrayal, love and hurt: the quintessential image of the torch-singer.

Girl singers are big with the marketeers right now. Quite right too. But they’re hardly a new invention! And being flavour of the season only begins to redress the balance in terms of coverage, clout and status in the entertainment universe. In this blog, I’ll be thinking aloud, reviewing new work, recalling old conversations, posting new interviews and generally exploring the role and world of the female singer as an artist and an icon.

Torch-singing is not limited by the genre of the music. It’s more about a sensibility evoked by a combination of the singer, her voice, the melody, the story, her performance and the lyric, that touches the listener in a special way. It’s a mood. A particular sound. So armed with my own flexible definition, I’ll continue to look for the torch-singer in likely and unexpected places. There is so much more to her than the holy triumvirate of Garland, Piaf and Holiday – great as they are.

11 Responses to “About the Art of the Torch Singer”

  1. Jim Eigo February 18, 2010 at 10:56 am #

    Hello Art of the Torch Singer Blogger,

    I’d like to add you to my promo list. We do publicity for Barb Jungr as well as number of other artists and labels. You can send me your info here: jazzpromo@earthlink.net

    or http://www.jazzpromoservices.com

    Thank you!

    Jim Eigo

  2. Linda May 7, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    Good luck Piers – fabulous blog, can’t wait to see more and where you can take it, especially looking forward to your dispatches about Ms Andrews.

    • Piers Ford May 7, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

      Thanks Linda – and for all your help. Really glad you like the writing. Look out for the next post – Dame Julie Andrews at the 02: all the action from her concert this Sunday.

  3. Stephen Green October 25, 2010 at 11:46 pm #

    Hi Piers,
    I’m working with an Australian cabaret/pop artist Emma Dean and would love to send you some more info and some music. Can you drop me a line to the email above? Thanks!

  4. Sarah February 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Hi Piers!
    Would love to send you info and music for a potential review. Let me know where to direct this. Thanks! 🙂

  5. Rachael November 29, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    hey, did you guys know that signe tollefsen has a new album out? it’s called “hayes” and it’s amazing (actually there was an ep in between her first and second record, with covers – also amazing). couldn’t help but notice no coverage.
    love your site!
    x rachael

    • Piers Ford November 30, 2011 at 10:14 am #

      Thanks for the tip, Rachael – I’ll try and track down a copy for review. And thanks for the kind words.

  6. Mike Evans January 27, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    Hi Piers

    Thanks for the reviews – especially of Mary Hopkin’s ‘Spirit’, She’s been one of my favourite singers for years

    I’d like to suggest Marketa Irglova. Formerly with the group The Swell Season, as a singer and pianist, she has now put out a solo album ‘Anar’. I’ve been a fan of the Swell Season and her for a few years.

    Some live performances from YouTube
    ‘The Hill’, which featured in the film ‘Once’.

    ‘Alone Apart’:

    Her album is available for a while streamed on Paste Magazine http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/av/2011/10/album-stream-marketa-irglova—anar.html
    Live performance on Interface:

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