Caro Emerald - the diva with her feet on the ground
PUBLISHED: 00:02 06 September 2013
Oooh we feel rather underdressed talking to retro jazz pop songstress Caro Emerald
Caro Emerald seems to have hit the zeitgeist for nostalgia laden vintage music and style. As her number one sophomore album The Shocking Miss Emerald continues to win over new admirers she’s embarking on a worldwide tour of arena venues next year.
However, those lucky enough to catch on to the Emerald phenomenon will be getting to see the smouldering songstress at the much more intimate surrounds of The Lowry this month.
The delightful 2010 debut album Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor introduced the world to Caro’s retro jazz-pop talents, then remained in the British top 10 for nine weeks, sold 1.3 million copies and was certified platinum. Whilst inspiration for The Shocking Miss Emerald has shifted from Hollywood to Paris, the inimitable vintage musical stylings have remained.
Rooted rather than entrenched in the past, the sound of the new album - complete with samples, scratching and beats - is thoroughly contemporary.
‘I would call it a fun mix of vintage jazz, beats and pop’ explains Caro whose signature approach to music has made her a multi-award winning star.
Selling out tour dates this month the demand to see Miss Emerald has led to the announcement of her massive March 2014 UK tour and signifies her graduation to arena shows which includes dates at the Manchester arena and London’s O2.
The significance of this achievement is not lost on the star ‘The O2, seriously? How big is it? I’m pretty sure that’s not possible,’ she has commented with delighted disbelief, ‘I always considered myself a singer but it’s a dream come true having a number one album now in the UK and everything that comes with it.’
She may feel rather overawed by the prospect of becoming an arena-filling act but even she admits there was a sense that she was about to hit the big time.
‘I think I felt that,’ she reveals over the phone prior to her Manchester September gig.
‘I’m too realistic to fantasise about such things but when I started making this music I felt that it could be huge - although I didn’t expect it to be huge. I feel like I have a bit of a split personality - between dreaming and keeping myself on the ground. I guess I am something in between.’
Caro cuts a striking figure with her trademark vintage persona which in the latest album is pictured as a woman of mystery in Paris. She admits people often ask her whether this is the ‘real’ her or a ‘character’.
‘It’s part of me, although I am not like that all the time,’ she says.
‘The whole retro look came along quite naturally. I don’t feel that I am playing a role but I am definitely not like that but I like to dress up for the stage and I have always been very feminine and had a more classical style.’
‘I work together with stylists and they help me to find clothing so I can call them to help me out should I need them to help me pick out an outfit for my next gig. They have definitely helped me develop my style but I would say it is 50/50 as I do a lot of the shopping myself.
‘A big part of my look is the result of my make-up artist and I couldn’t do it without her - my hair alone takes 1 1/2 hours.’
Caro’s look is certainly as much a part of her appeal as her sultry nostalgic sound.
‘My fans dress up for my performances and I never asked for that so I love to see that,’she says.
She was born Caroline Esmeralda van der Leeuw on April 26th 1981 and was a Dutch jazz singer before Deleted Scene from the Cutting Room Floor album catapulted her to stardom in her native Netherlands and this April she received a rather special birthday present when The Shocking Miss Emerald went to number one in the UK.
‘I never talk about that,’ she replies when asked if she has a “significant other”.
So has she any plans to take her stage persona a step further and get into acting.
‘No not really though I can understand why people night ask that,’ she says. I’m a singer. I really don’t fancy being an actress unless I was taking on the role of a singer!’
Caro Emerald:The Lowry, September 8th Manchester Arena, March 20th 2014 www.ticketmaster.co.uk 0844 811 0051 / 0844 826 2826.