Q&A with MICHELLE COLTRANE – Daughter Of The Late, Great JOHN COLTRANE Is Blazing Her Own Path!
Posted On 04 Nov 2015
Tag: 90.7 FM, A Love Supreme, Abe Lagrimas, ALDABELLA WINERY, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, All in Love is Fair, allaccessmusicnicole, American Song Book, Beautiful Life, Beverly Hills, Brenda Russell, California, Cameron Graves, Carmen Lundy, Chevrolet, Coltrane Home, Court n Spark, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Diana Krall, Dianne Reeves, Edwin Livingston, Ella Fitzgerald, Esperanza Spalding, Facebook, Flying Lotus, France, Gregory Porter, Home, I Wanna Know What Love Is, Jacobs Center, Japan, Japenese, Jazzmine Sullivan, Jill Scott, John Coltrane, Joni Mitchell, Kansas City, KPFK, KPFK 90.7 FM, landmark, Lizz Wright, Long Island, Maggie Lepique, Mahesh Balasooriya, Michelle Coltrane, Miguel Atwood Ferguson, Minnie Ripperton, New York, New York City, Nina Simone, NYC, Paris, Patti Austin, Radio, Ramon Yslas, Ravi Coltrane, Ron Jerome Avant, san diego, School Days, Shea Welsh Gtr, Shirley Horn, Southern California, Stanley Clarke, Stevie Wonder, Straight No Chaser, The King and I, Wallflower, WESTLAKE, Westlake Village, www.coltranehome.org, www.michellecoltrane.com
The award-winning vocalist, MICHELLE COLTRANE was born in Paris, France, and is the only daughter of legendary jazz giants Alice and John Coltrane. She was already an internationally respected vocalist/bandleader/DJ/by the time she moved to the USA and released her first recording in 1994 titled I Think of You. The album was a sweet mélange of traditional and contemporary Jazz and featured collaborations with musician/composer Scott Hiltzik, among others. The album won a YES Award and inspired Michelle to tour the US and France on a promotional tour in support of the CD.
Prior to her successful debut as a recording artist, Michelle had lived and worked in Japan. She was one of the most successful DJs in Tokyo considering female DJs were not regularly employed at major music clubs. Her time at Eddie’s R&B Club prepared her for her future residency at the prestigious Officers Club in Tokyo, Japan where she sang on a regular basis.
Blessed with a gorgeous voice, Michelle’s career soon gained momentum as a composer/voice-over performer/ arranger of background vocals for many prominent artists. Roles as the featured vocalist in several television commercials that advertised Chevrolet automobiles garnered her international attention as well.
Michelle Coltrane is currently concertizing across the USA as well as worldwide. A few of her recent appearances in the U.S. include shows at The John Ford Anson Amphitheater in Los Angeles, CA, and Chef Mac’s in Baltimore, MD. Her regular engagements at Pips on LaBrea in Hollywood, CA, at H.O.M.E. and at Bar Nineteen 12 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA are constantly sold out.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa had the pleasure of chatting with the multi-talented songstress, Michelle Coltrane. Enjoy their chat below!
Hi Michelle! How are you today? It’s been a pretty busy year for you!
Hi Nicole! I am so glad that I finally got a chance to take part in this Q & A. Our summer was great this year except for the extreme heat and water restrictions here in Southern Ca. However, the best part of it all was a visit with my brother Ravi and both his sons. They had been wanting to come to California for a while and finally made it. My nephews reside in Brooklyn, William and Aaron are Ravi’s sons names. Our brother Oran lives here next door to me and he also has two sons Krishna and Arjuna. So along with my two children, Turiya and Nicolas we had some good ole family time. It was lovely.
You have such a rich history and family lineage as the only daughter of Alice and Mr. John Coltrane. For those that are not familiar with you and your music, how did you get your start?
My introduction to music began at home. My mother Alice taught me violin before I was school age and once enrolled in elementary school in Long Island, the violin became my first instrument. Later on, I got a chance to play viola and clarinet. In those days the music programs we readily available to all students and part of the curriculum. I also had singing parts in musicals and my first was “The King and I”. I continued playing in the orchestra in high school and had a private violin teacher. So, the music I was learning at a young age was classical music. Good for the academic study music.
Were you born here in the States or abroad?
I was born in Paris France 1960 and would have never known this due to the fact I was a baby. Although, I have visited Paris several times as an adult and I love it!
You also lived in Japan as well, correct?
Yes! In the late 80’s an opportunity came to travel to Japan with my family my mother, Alice and my two brothers Ravi and Oran. John Jr. left the body at 17. After the tour I met some female artists dancers and vocalists. They invited me to stay and assured me there was a lot of work in Japan in the late 80’s. And it was true. It was such a wonderful learning experience I stayed there almost 3 years. Studying Japanese, doing commercials including a Chevrolet commercial, fronting my own band, DJ ing, and I was hired as a background vocalist for many prominent Japanese singers.
When did you get involved in working in the radio world?
In the mid 90’s I met a woman named Maggie Lepique who relocated from Kanas City. She had been involved in radio for many years. She took me under her wing and groomed me to become a live on air radio host and showered me with her expertise. We hosted a successful show for about 5 years called “Straight No Chaser” KPFK 90.7 FM
Can you share any words of wisdom that your father passed on to you that still ring true for you today?
Yes, passed down from my mother this sentiment I can share with you.
“ Always remember to respect other cultures” and “Be humble in your approach to music, lead with your heart learn to listen and recognize the highest universal principles and you can never fail.”
Who have been your inspirations growing up?
Of course, my parents who are truly amazing, rare individuals. Extremely unique people, both personally and professionally. They kept it REAL REAL no compromising of integrity. I always loved the female voices early on Minnie Ripperton, Patti Austin, Brenda Russell, later Sara, Ella, Nina Simone, Shirley Horn. Currently: Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Lizz Wright, Carmen Lundy.
What did you learn between your previous work, collaborations and playing live, that you felt you wanted to infuse into your latest work with guitarist Shea Welsh?
What I worked on were the standards at first to get reintroduced to the most significant genre of music in the world.
“I spent a lot of time trying to find a place that would suit my taste and musicality. I realized, that the best approach for me would be to do what is relevant to me.”
Yes, I love the standards the guide the learning tool. I do enjoy performing the “American Song Book” when called for but, we insert original material and do artful arrangements of popular tunes. Such as, “ I Wanna Know What Love Is”. That is the relevant part I mentioned songs that were a part of my era growing up. Now that many of these songs are 20 to 30 years old, they are standards.
You have been working with a lot of talented musicians such as: Ryan Cross, Tim Lefebvre, Cameron Graves and Kamasi Washington to name a few.
I have been fortunate to work with the a list players here in Southern California. This past month we just performed in San Diego at the Jacobs Center and it was one of the best gigs I’ve played this year.
I am excited about a gig next year also in New York, Long Island playing a concert at the Coltrane Home www.coltranehome.org Our childhood home has been deemed a historic landmark and is being restored. The sign out front says….. The home where John Coltrane wrote “A Love Supreme” couldn’t get any more awesome than that. Please visit my website for upcoming gigs at www.michellecoltrane.com and I am on Facebook and still have room for more friends 😉 The gigs are always listed there as well.
Any upcoming shows that you would like our readers to know about?
You can see me in Los Angeles at H.O.M.E in Beverly Hills on Novermber 9th from 11:00am -2:00pm, and ALDABELLA WINERY in Westlake Village on December 4th from 7:00pm – 10:00 pm.
What was the first album you bought for yourself?
It was either Joni Mitchell “Court n Spark or Stanley Clarke “School Days”
What was the first song you fell in love with and why?
I think Stevie Wonder got me with “All in Love is Fair” I am big on lyrics. I think it is one of my strengths.
Who is in your current playlist? What artists or bands are in current rotation for you?
I am listening to Flying Lotus (my cousin) Ravi Coltrane (my brother), Dianne Reeves latest album “Beautiful Life” Diana Krall “Wallflower”, Esperanza Spalding “Radio” Jazzmine Sullivan, Jill Scott, & Gregory Porter.
What’s on tap next for you Michelle? What are you most excited about for this year?
I am really happy to be releasing my second album very soon. Most likely in the next two months it will be completed. We are finishing the final mixes as we speak. My brother Ravi played as a guest soloist on two tunes. Along with other super talented musicians such as Cameron Graves (piano), Shea Welsh Gtr who co-produced the recording, Abe Lagrimas (drums), Ron Jerome Avant (keys), Edwin Livingston (bass), Mahesh Balasooriya (piano), and string arrangements by Miguel Atwood Ferguson with Ramon Yslas (percussion). It has been a Supreme experience.
To keep up to date with MICHELLE COLTRANE , visit her via the socials below:
Website + Facebook + Twitter