Renée Yoxon graduated with a physics degree and a minor in math and music from Carleton University In January 2010. While she was studying, music was another way to apply her creativity, and an escape from academic demands and drudgery.
Now that she is setting her own schedule, Renée is pursuing her career as a vocalist with a determined passion. She has been singing at as many as six gigs a week recently in a variety of different styles. On top of that, she sits in on other events, and has started a new "StreetJazz" series on YouTube. It's no surprise that Renée's confident and expressive singing has come to the attention of a growing number of listeners, fans, and other jazz musicians.
I recently interviewed Renée about how her music has developed. She shared some interesting personal thoughts on jazz and music, and what music has inspired her.
"I think everyone should be out supporting the [local jazz] scene – so developing it or not, get out!"
"A Jazz aesthetic is what you make of it. [...] I plan to continue to add stuff from modern repertoire in a style that suits us, because we just want to play good music, whether that's standards or whether that's modern tunes.
"Good music for me is a combination of two things: song-writing, so if it's a song that has been written honestly, and then performance. So you could take a great song and play it like garbage, and it's not good music. Or you could take a crappy song and then play it really well and it's not really good music. But if you have a really good song played honestly and truly, then it's good music."
On picking songs for StreetJazz: "Usually the song that will work is the song that's been in my head: the one that's going to work by myself. It's just the song I've been singing all day. So that's why it works, cos it's been in my head all day long. We might have to have a bit more forethought when we start collaborating with more musicians, but the whole point is that it's off-the-cuff and sort of natural, and not too much pre-planning goes into it. So you see a lot of me forgetting the words and us bumping into things as we walk on the streets and it's kind of funny and cute and a really good time."
Listen to the podcast [mp3, 25 minutes, 12 MB]
– Brett Delmage
You can hear Renée Yoxon each Monday evening at Bar 56 in the Byward Market.