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Much like songbird Edith Piaf, Madeleine Peyroux spent her teenage years busking the busy streets of Paris. Just like the “little sparrow,” Peyroux befriended the city’s street musicians and made its Latin quarter her first performing stage. Years later, Peyroux would cite iconic Piaf as an influence on her music and record a rendition of the classic “La Vie En Rose,” soulfully capturing the tune’s romanticism and melancholy.
Born in Athens, Georgia in 1974, Madeleine “grew up in a house filled with music” and from an early age “instinctively realized music’s soothing power” but it was her teenage years in the French capital that turned the childhood notion into an all-consuming vocation for life.
The curious teenager started skipping school to frequent the city’s Latin Quarter where street musicians dwelled, keen to learn about their music and way of life. At 16, the fearless teen joined the Lost Wandering Blues and Jazz Band with whom she toured the streets of Europe, discovering Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday while “voraciously picking up all the songs and all the guitar playing” she could. In 1991 the band travelled to New York where her unique talents were spotted by Atlantic Records and in 1996 her breakthrough album Dreamland was released, selling a striking 200,000 copies, and critical acclaim, comparing Peyroux’s dusky voice to that of jazz greats Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.
Now, 30 years after her formative busking days, Peyroux is the proud curator of nine beguiling albums and an accomplished performer with sell out worldwide tours under her belt. The prolific musician is now embarking on a world tour around the re-release of her acclaimed 2004 album, Careless Love, a Deluxe Anniversary Edition released as part of Rounder Records’ 50th Anniversary celebrations.