Florence Joelle is a Paris-born jazz singer, songwriter, harmonica player, and recording artist based in London, where she is a favourite performer across the city. Bred on jazz at home, and on the music of the Paris streets, she has created a musical subgenre all of her own with her albums, 'Kiss Of Fire' (2011), 'Stealing Flowers’ (2013) and 'Life Is Beautiful If You Let It' (2016), a Franco-Anglo blend of Latin and classic jazz, vintage and contemporary blues, gypsy folk, fifties R&B and Parisian torch song.
Classic jazz, French chanson and old-style R&B happily rub shoulders in her compositions. She sings of painting the town red until her face turns green, yet never shies away from life’s darker sides... the dispossessed, the forsaken, the lovelorn. Here are songs of living life to the full, even if your heart has been trampled – maybe especially if your heart has been trampled – the world looks bleak and your purse is empty. Yet hers is not a clarion call to rampant hedonism, nor is it just another riff-happy selection for retrophiles; don’t be fooled by the cocktail chic and laidback savoir faire, Joelle’s social conscience is rarely dimmed no matter how good a time she’s having.
Soothing as a promise whispered in the wee small hours, Joelle’s honeyed vocals do not preclude her tackling grittier material; indeed, their very softness packs an unexpected punch. A violent assault witnessed on a London bus (‘29 Bus Blues’), and the sorry treatment of Roma expelled from her native France (‘How Many Chickens Are You Missing Today?’) invoke her innate sense of justice in two thought-provoking vignettes. In between impromptu bursts on the harp, she doesn’t so much sing as caress her lyrics imbuing them with an assured, close-miked intimacy rarely heard in these days of Pro-tooled music for the masses.
Close your eyes and you may just glimpse Bob Mitchum, all five o’clock shadow, doffing his crumpled sailor’s cap to a calypso beat, or a leopard-clad Miss Kitt slinking through the haze of a smoke-filled supper club. Here the ghosts of yesteryear come out to play, sounds reflect and refract in Joelle’s kaleidoscopic take on the vintage sounds which have always inspired her; from the Latin-infused scores of 1940s film noir to the reverb of a thousand Paris nights. With so many places to go, one can be sure Joelle’s odyssey will continue to surprise and delight.
Joelle has been featured in print in Mojo, Time Out, Q Magazine, The Independent, The Mirror, Record Collector, R2 Rock’n’Reel, Jazzwise, Jazz Journal, Jazz Rag, Vive Le Rock, Classic Rock, in the US in Vintage Guitar Magazine, and in Germany and Japan. Her songs have been played on BBC Radio (’29 Bus Blues’ and ‘When I Get Low I Get High’ were ‘song of the week’ on BBC Introducing), Jazz Fm, as well as radio stations across the world.
“Third and best album yet by London-based Parisian chanteuse.” Mojo ****
“The whole album is simply a delight from start to finish.” London Evening Standard ****
"Recorded straight to tape on analogue equipment and mixed in mono, it is akin to a glass of fizz, with Joelle's joie de vivre coursing through the album's 10 tracks." Record Collector****
"Joelle's sensuous purred vocals and sprightly jazzy songs lend proceedings a contemporary edge while circumventing mere nostalgia." The Independent****
"Florence is a rare jewel and this second album captures her captivating style. She boasts deliciously suave vocal phrasing framed by a hot and agile band. Her savvy originals and jumping jazz standards are an unaffected joy. Blooming lovely." The Daily Mirror****
"A genuine talent, and definitely one to watch." Classic Rock - Blues Edition
"Sheer class." Shindig!
"Sultry, sexy and French, she was born with a voice tailor-made to pour out enticing cocktails of chanson, r'n'b and jazz." R2 Rock'n'Reel ****
"This has soul." Vive Le Rock 8/10
"Florence Joelle has an album that feels like one of the sirens has fled her Greek rockery and headed off to London." Fatea Magazine
"Florence Joelle sings rock ’n’ roll like Billie Holiday might, croons a torch ballad as Wanda Jackson may, and spices it all with a bit of Patti Smith attitude." Vintage Guitar Magazine
"Her breathy sensual Eartha-Kittish approach to singing is highly contagious and appealing." Penny Black Music
“It's her voice that smacks you around the head. It's utterly unique. “
Ruth Barnes' Pick Of The Week, Tom Robinson’s Show, BBC 6 Music
LIVE... NEXT FEW SHOWS
Friday 20 July: Brasserie Toulouse Lautrec, 140 Newington Butts, London SE11 4RN. Click here for tickets.
Saturday 21 July: Birmingham Jazz Festival:
12:30: Tom's Kitchen, 53, The Mailbox, Wharfside St, Birmingham B1 1RE
7:00pm: Borracho De Oro, Harborne Court, Harborne Rd, Birmingham B15 3BU
Saturday 4 August: Private Event.
Sunday 11 August: Come Down & Meet The Folks, Betsey Trotwood, 56 Farringdon Rd, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 3BL.
Sunday 16 September: Point Jazz, 12-7pm, Privee of Knighbridge, 2 Beauchamp Place, London SW3 1NU.
Wednesday 26 September: Ollie Vees, 33 Market Square, Leighton Buzzard LU7 1EU.