When I saw that a Jazz artist had requested an interview I won’t lie, I got extremely excited. These kind of artists are hard to come by, especially with the high influx of hip-hop artists we interview! Miki Harvey was quite young when she started listening to jazz music, but she claims that isn’t all she listens to, as she is a fan of pop, rock and country as well. She believes whatever makes the soul feel good, must be something great. With the holidays right around the corner, Miki is currently promoting her Christmas album entitled, “A Sleigh Ride Together With You.” We asked her a few questions about what jazz means to her, and about her latest (Holiday themed) album!
Entertwine: You’re the first jazz musician we have gotten to interview for Entertwine! We are so excited about that! Can you tell us what brought you into this genre and what you love so much about it?
Miki Harvey: I like the challenge of singing songs people had already heard but singing them differently.
I remember being a young girl when I first started listening to jazz. I quickly noticed that I was hearing different artists performing the same songs over and over. I think I first caught on to jazz with Bart Howard’s “Fly Me to the Moon,” which has been sung by numerous other artists, including Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr, and Diana Krall.
Seasoned performers in this genre like Tony Bennett have been singing great songs taken mainly from the 1920s-1950s Broadway and Musical Theater. However contemporary jazz artists such as Jamie Cullum and Emily Claire-Barlow are now turning rock songs into swing tunes. A good tune is a good tune, and in Jazz it isn’t called a “cover song” it’s called a “standard.” Part of the challenge in jazz is building on old ideas to make new ones.
When you listen to the same song several times, you find that one lyric can have numerous meanings. I listened to different artists’ interpretation of the same songs and soon wanted to be a part of the action.
As a performer and singer I love the lyric. If I find a lyric I love, the rest will follow.
ET: For a genre that isn’t so mainstream, how do you face the challenge of getting people to appreciate this great style of music?
MH: Some artists such as Norah Jones and Michael Buble have found a mainstream space to operate in. I think the trick is getting people to listen. Jazz has great musicians and great songs. Like any genre, it also has some crummy ones. I don’t ONLY listen to jazz music. I listen to GREAT music, which includes pop, rock and country. I think good music is good music and doesn’t need to be pigeon-holed into a neat little genre. A good friend once told me, “It’s about what feeds your soul.” I want to perform music that moves people. It’s about getting people to see past the label and throw out their preconceived notions.
ET: If you could describe your music in three words, what would it be?
MH: Lyrical, emotive, and honest.
ET: You just recently released a Christmas album on iTunes titled “A Sleigh Ride Together With You.” What inspired you to venture out onto a project like this?
MH: Christmas music was a logical introduction to Miki Harvey, the artist. I wanted to cast a wide web. My music isn’t just for jazz lovers, senior citizens, or the nostalgic – and I felt Christmas music could show that. Many people in my generation may not have heard of “Fly Me to the Moon,” but they have heard of “Sleigh Ride.”
ET: What do you look to do in the future of the Jazz Music industry?
MH: The music industry in general is a tough market to succeed in. I plan to always create and always put it out there. I look to make a quality product and hope the audience will eventually come. I just have to crack the code.