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Cécile McLorin Salvant: Fire & Ice

A rising vocal star celebrates life's joys and pains on new album

Al Jarreau, Jane Monheit, Terence Blanchard, Ledisi, Kurt Elling, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Kevin Eubanks congratulate First Place winner Cecile McLorin Salvant (center).
Cécile McLorin Salvant

On 2010’s Cecile, her first and only album to date, the warm but powerful young vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant offers songs like “Easy to Love” and “I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone.” But at a recent New York gig in anticipation of her 2013 sophomore release, Woman Child, the 23-year-old had other topics on her mind, including death (“John Henry”), primality (“[You Bring Out] The Savage in Me”) and violence (“Outside of That”).

“I got to hearing more and more songs with really intense lyrics, and I wanted to add those in,” says Salvant of the period between recording her two albums. “I’ve been gleaning things from those kinds of darker subject matters. I guess it’s a part of life, so it’s always valid if I try to represent different aspects of life. Abbey Lincoln is a singer who greatly influenced me in her choice of repertoire, because it’s not always about ‘This man loves me’ or ‘He doesn’t love me’ or ‘I’m gonna cry.’ She had this conscious choice to think about repertoire in a different way.”

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