Time Out caught up with the lady of the house in anticipation of her arrival in time to bring in the New Year.
Describe your music style in under 15 words...
Contemporary and modern with blues, soul, gospel and dance music influences.
Favourite single ever released?
Young Hearts Run Free.
Although this was a cover, when the producers brought it to me I knew this song was going to be big for me. I had no idea it would be bigger than the original. The film Romeo and Juliet hit the MTV 90s teen generation and exploded with good energy, telling the Shakespeare story of the star crossed lovers and the feud of the two families in a modern, sassy way, using my song as part of the soundtrack.
Did you ever meet any of the cast from Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet?
I was on the red carpet and attended movie parties in five different countries for the film premieres. Baz Luhrmann and his wife were very kind and accessible to me. I had loads of laughs and jokes with Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes was very polite and lovely to me at the premieres.
What can people expect from your performance in Doha?
Lively, upbeat, floor filling hits, plus a few classic, slow cheek-to-cheek numbers, creating fun times to rekindle relationships, get close, reminisce and enjoy being with friends. And, of course, I’ll be singing Auld Lang Syne!
You grew up on the same street as the Jackson family. What were they like?
Yes I grew up in the same city, Gary, Indiana. We always knew when they were about to start rehearsing or record something – you could hear the amps turn on and the sound of the guitar. It was great growing up around live music.
Who was your favourite collaboration?
Well my most famous collaboration was with the great Sir Mick Jagger. I also loved working with The JB Horns’ Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley and Mr Pee Wee Ellis. I learned so much from my uncles and recently performed with Uncle Fred in London. Saying that, I can never forget my big sister, Chaka Khan, who I love as a mentor, songstress and songwriter.
You’ve lived in the UK for many years. Was it the music scene that brought you over from America?
Yes it was the music. I thought that I would be living anywhere other than America. I am one of the early pioneers of house music and made a record (so long ago now) with Marshall Jefferson that was imported to the UK via British DJs. The record was played by all the underground radio stations, caused a stir and got me signed to a worldwide record deal with EMI/Capitol Syncopate Records. Hence the title The First Lady of House Music.
If you could liken your music to an animal, which one would you choose, and why?
Well it would have to be an animal with a sweet song, that also stands the test of time even when the going occasionally gets a bit rough, and the music would restore faith and make people happy. A songbird.
Kym Mazelle will be performing at Coco Latté presents UNDER THE STARS: VIVA LA DIVA in association with Emirates airlines on New Year’s Eve at Grand Hyatt Doha. VIP gold tickets QR1200 include show, dinner, open bar, French bubbles at midnight and dancing ’til 2am. Call (3029 3748), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.