I have been a fan of Kevyn Lettau since the early '90s thanks to my then boyfriend's (now husband) influence. Aside from loving the hugely popular, Sunlight, there are three particular songs of hers that I really love listening to: Spring, Seeing for the Very First Time, and Bridges. Of course, I enjoy listening to many of her other pieces. There was a time, the only music I kept playing over and over for days were just her songs.
After being a big fan all these years, I was able to tell her that in person the other night before she performed for the PI Jazzfest in Eastwood. Along with fellow journalists (thank you soooo much Pinky Aseron for taking photos!) I was able to ask her a few questions which Kevyn graciously answered. She has a very lovely speaking voice that would make you want to just listen to her talk forever :)
Here's sharing our conversation transcribed verbatim from my iPod recording:
Ruth: How many times have you been in the Philippines?
Kevyn: About 15
R: What do you like most about this country?
K: You guys! Your energy, your love and passion for music, your loyalty.
R: How different are Filipino fans from other fans from all over the world?
K: Much better than anywhere else in the world.
R: Are there Filipino artists you admire?
K: Gary V and Regine Velasquez, she’s a great singer, and Lea Salonga.
R: Who would you say is your biggest music influence?
K: How many can I mention? (smiles) Um, Al Jarreau because he has a way of combining all the kinds of music that I love; combining jazz, R&B, Brazilian, sometimes, and he improvises. So he would be the first one.
R: You came from German descent? So why Brazilian music?
K: I grew up in Germany. Who knows?! I have no idea why. It’s sort of like asking someone “Why do you love ice cream?” You just can’t answer, right? You just say the taste is so good and I can say the feeling is so good [when I sing] Brazilian music. The thing about Brazilian music is it combines incredibly happy music rhythms with really wonderful harmony and interesting melodies. So that’s what makes Brazilian music so special for me.
R: What kinds of songs do you like composing?
K: That’s a really hard question to answer. I love rhythm, I love interesting harmony. Every kind of song has a different appeal for a different reason. Some songs you fall in love with because it touches you, while with some songs, the rhythm is just so infectious and, sometimes, it’s the combination between the melody and the harmony. So I can’t generalize.
R: Do you have a favorite song among all your songs?
K: Ask a mother if she has a favorite child, right? I would say that I have favorite songs that change all the time. When I’ve written something, that song would be my favorite song for a while and then I’ll look back at my catalogue of material and go “Oh, I love that one too! I should sing that one again” you know?
R: You had an album released last year called Drawn to You. how different is it from your past albums?
K: It’s one of the first ones that I helped produce. You know they’re all different because they grow and change. The music changes. That is the first album where I played piano so that is something different.
R: After your visit to the Philippines, where will you be performing next?
K: There’s a big Filipino community in Los Angeles and every year, I do a concert in March for the Filipino community up there. And I’m also doing a big tribute to the Beatles down in San Diego where I live.
R: Are you also a big fan of the Beatles?
K: Of course! You would be crazy not to be!
And then she flashed once more that beautiful smile. She is such a wonderful lady! After our interview, Kevyn excused herself to rest her voice before she performed a beautiful set of songs for the large crowd outside that gathered to hear her sing live. I feel very blessed to be able to chat with one of the persons I admire most in the world. I hope I could get to meet and hear hear sing live again the next time she's in town.
Thank you Kevyn Lettau for spending those precious moments with me. I am deeply grateful :)