Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
I remember playing piano from a very young age, sitting on my grandfather’s lap. Him playing the bass parts and me just trying to understand what is this thing called a piano. My first teacher, Inez Ferreira, understood my curiosity in creating music. We would improvise the last 10 minutes of every class, it made my week and I couldn’t be more excited to bring back something new the next. I started with classical piano at the age 7 and made it full circle at 23 to fall in love again. But, in between I tried out every genre. My leading genre is jazz, but when the pandemic happened last year and we all needed to stay inside, I just sat with my piano… Looking out the window, how the seasons change and decided to take a “Off-Season” (name of my classic contemporary album) from jazz and compose what I felt. Each song is connected to a season. The winds of Fall, blooming of flowers in spring, warmth from the string section in the cold winter then ending with summer. (South Africa ends off the year with Summer).
Foremost a jazz pianist, my influences are Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck and darling of café society, Miss Hazel Scott. I found the wittiness of it all endearing. I started The Fay Lamour Trio 2 years ago; its all about improvisation and syncopation when we play live. The music on streaming platforms is a bit more structured, but we have fun with it. “And all that Jazz”
Which repertoire/composers do you think you perform best?
Frédéric Chopin, I just love the poetry and technique in his pieces. It’s great for practising technique and finding inspiration when I feel lost.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
The limitations on live performances. Social media has been lovely, but nothing beats the rush of sitting up straight, breathing out and playing that first note.
What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?
Every Wednesday night I’ll host a dinner party. I love cooking a home cooked meal for my guests/familia, serving it with good wine and some Dean Martin in the background. After it is all done, I’ll take the last bit of wine that is left and sit with my piano until dawn. Although it’s not as spontaneous and leaning more towards a routine, I found that my mind now knows it’s time to be creative after a lovely night of festivities. Therefore, going on stage with a high spirit and comfort.
You are also a composer. How does your work as a composer influence your performing life and vice versa?
Honestly, I just go with it.
How would you characterise your compositional language/style?
Romantic, sultry with a hint of gloom. Creating an atmosphere of calm and chaos.
Of which works are you most proud?
The album I recently released “Off-Season”. I’m working on a live/video performance launch. I can’t wait to share it with my family, friends and fans.
I guess I’m also proud of stepping out what I thought I needed to be writing and just write what I feel like writing.
As a musician, what is your definition of “success”?
Feeling free to express yourself, and finding out what is in your heart and soul. It’s been a beautiful experience to verbalise my opinions and emotions through my piano in a classical manner.
The definition of success for me is to look back and see growth. Being better in your craft every day.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians/composers?
Pushing past you limits every day and always being true to who you are.
What next? Where would you like to be in 10 years?
Can’t say exactly, but I know it’s going to be fabulous !
What is your most treasured possession?
My Familia and my craft.
What is your present state of mind?
I actually wrote a piece called “Free State of Mind” a few months ago where I wanted to showcase the state of being free from oppressive restrictions imposed by society on one’s way of life, behaviour or views.
La Vie est Belle, Life is Beautiful, and I try to live my life by that every day. It is not always easy but every blue situation can turn yellow. Almost every classical structure has an episode in a unlit tunnel, but there’s always light at the end.
Listen to Off Season by Fay Lamour here
Fay Lamour is a solo singer/songwriter/pianist from Cape Town, South Africa.
Taking influence from the likes of Lana Del Rey to Billy Holiday and Shannon & The Clams, to create a retro futurist sound, sonically soft, yet emotionally intense.