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Be inspired every day with Living North
Caro Emerald
February 2017
Reading time 5
We caught up with jazz singer Caro Emerald ahead of The Emerald Island Tour that kicks off next month

Since the release of her 2010 multi-platinum debut album Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor, Caro has established herself as a performer who’s known for her jazzy pop signature sound. We caught up with the Dutch singer ahead of her UK tour. 

Did you always want to be a performer?
I think so, yeah. I remember when I was small wanting to become a princess. But I guess after that, the first thing that comes to mind is wanting to be a singer. When I was 11 I discovered I could sing and never wanted to be anything else. That is quite unique I think.

So princess to singer?
I feel like I’m both [laughing].

What’s the best thing about your job?
The singing part. Well, there’s lots of fantastic things about my job. The travelling, the people, there’s a lot of luxury and comfort. Everyone’s always happy. To actually be singing and have that great magic feeling when I’m on stage: I really feel connected to the music and the musicians on stage, and the people are listening and enjoying themselves. That is so hard to compare to anything else – the best feeling in the world I think.

So you begin the tour in Carlisle. Have you ever been to the North East before?
Yes I have. I just love to discover anything about the UK because it’s so different, but there’s a total different atmosphere than in the south.

What makes it different?
It seems to me that when you’re in a part of the country that’s not the main part, so to speak, the people are more down to earth and cosy and more up front with each other somehow. It’s hard to find the right words in English to describe it – Dutch would be easier! It’s a feeling that I find here [the Netherlands] when I’m out in the country, like the people are more connected to each other.

What’s your favourite song to perform?
Oooh. Well, I have several. What I always find is that there are songs I like to hear and songs I like to sing – they might not be the same one.  One of my favourites to sing is I Know That He’s Mine, but that’s not one I’m going to be doing on my tour. I really love singing new material and I’m going to do that on my tour. It’s a new challenge and I have to try to remember the words. There’s an energy necessary for that. I’m on top of my game when I try to do a new song. 

How do you keep on top of your game when on the road?
Well, just being very boring basically. That’s the not so good part about my job. Everybody else around me gets to have a good rock ‘n’ roll time and what I usually do is try to get in bed early: no drinking, no smoking, no shouting in bars after the gigs. We do five gigs a week and that’s pretty tough. I also try to eat healthily, so the guys next to me are eating cheesecake while I’m eating quinoa and steamed fish. But it’s really worth it to live as healthily as I can because it keeps me fit throughout. It’s five and a half weeks of touring and it’s pretty exhausting, so I need all the energy I can get.

You’ve got to look after the all-important vocal chords.
Oh very much. It’s so important. Sometimes I have a really bad night and it’s like I’m completely naked. If my voice isn’t working I’m not who I am, so it feels like I’m failing big time.

Have you got any pre-show rituals?
Right before we go on stage we do hugs together. That’s something that my former band leader introduced, and I’ve gotten really attached to it because it really does feel like something’s going to go wrong if we don’t. And everybody has to be there. It’s nice to connect that way before we go on stage because playing music like [we do] needs a connection.

How about bringing something along to make your dressing rooms more homely?
No I never do that. I could imagine that people would but I bring so much rubbish already –  [laughing] I wouldn’t do that to my crew.

How did you pick the name of your tour?
The Emerald Island was already there as a working title for the new album so it made sense, but we thought it would be a good name for it.

Oh, I thought it could have been related to your tour around the British Isles.
A-ha! No that’s not it. I can explain. We’ve been working for some time on a new album and we’ve been inspired by new musical genres. We put a lot of musical genres, influences and sounds in our music and we’ve been inspired by this really interesting and mysterious genre called exotica. Exotica had already started in the 19th century but in the 50s and 60s it was a genre where people would try to make music as if they were from far away exotic islands. They would copy something they didn’t really know, like jungle sounds, and weird, weird bird sounds. But those sounds are also pretty cool to use in your production because it gives a lot of atmosphere – you can hear it in the new show. We use it big time in every kind of way on the existing and new repertoire, so the idea is that we’re going to take people to a far away place – to Emerald Island.

What would choose as your last meal on earth?
I think it would be pom, that is a dish from Suriname – my family are from Suriname – and that’s my favourite dish in the world. I’d request that I think.

Eh? What’s pom?
It’s like a pie. It has meat in it, but the main ingredient is actually the root of a certain plant that grows in Suriname. You cook it in the oven, it’s like a stuffing for turkey with some nice exotic spices in there – you have to try it sometime!

Caro Emerald will be on tour from March until May. See below for her dates in the North East and Yorkshire.

28 March – Sands Centre, Carlisle
29 March – Sage, Gateshead
19 April – City Hall, Hull
21 April – International Centre, Harrogate
22 April – City Hall, Sheffield 

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