It is with the greatest of pleasure we welcome Belgium’s own diva Viktor Lazlo (real name: Sonia Dronier) to KJAZZ Radio UK. Viktor has had a distinguished career to date representing her country at the Eurovision song contest in the eighties (1987), modelling, acting in movies, writing and all he while continuing her musical career. So not strictly an indie artist but her music while known in Europe is not that well known on US shores. Through KJAZZ Radio UK we hope this will change and this talented and accomplished musician gets further exposure and new fans through our promotion.
Viktor Lazlo was born in Lorient, France. A French-Belgian singer of Grenadian and Martiniquan descent. Growing up in Belgium, VIKTOR LAZLO has been at the cultural crossroads all her life. Raised to speak English and French at home, at the European school she attended, she learned Italian, German, Dutch and Spanish. Attracted to the performing arts since her childhood, she learned the violin and followed dance classes. While going to the university to study history of the arts, she was drawn into the Brussels music scene and started to sing with various groups just for the fun of it. After a brief spell as a model, her musical career really got going when Alain Chamfort picked the unknown Viktor to sing the title song he had composed for a French movie ”Backdoor Man”. Dronier took her stage name from Paul Henreid’s character Victor Laszlo in the 1942 film Casablanca. She sings in French, English, Spanish and German. Her biggest hit was “Breathless” in 1987. That year she also hosted the Eurovision Song Contest held in Brussels in 1987. Her career took off with the hit Canoë Rose which another KJAZZ Radio UK musician Ian Raven composed. Maybe we can get the two of them to work together again.
There are strong similarities in the character and style of Viktor Lazlo to Sade. Viktor Lazlo has an energy and warmth that intrigues you. Silky vocals that harmonize with a number of different genres which she has lended herself to over the years.
Recent activities of this sensual vocalist have seen her work in a production called “My Name Is Billie Holiday”. Viktor Lazlo is charming audiences with a musical based on the story of legendary jazz and blues singer Billie Holiday, staged by acclaimed Belgian dramatist and director Eric Emmanuel Schmitt. Accompanied on stage by a jazz quartet that consists of a pianist, bass player, drummer and saxophonist, Lazlo recounts the story of Billie Holiday through a selection of 20 of her songs. When Viktor was asked “How do you describe Billie Holiday’s impact on your artistic expression?” Ms. Lazlo responded “Billie Holiday’s voice has haunted me ever since I was a teenager. It’s the first sentence of the show! I’ve always sung some of her songs in my shows, trying to stay as far as possible from her interpretations. That’s how I ended up doing a rock version of (the Billie Holiday song) “Good Morning Heartache.” I was scared to approach her too closely, as if she would have burned me, because I thought there was something of her in my fragility as well as in my strength. Her impact on me has more to do with my intimacy than my artistic expression, though. I have learned, thanks to her, that you have to sing with what you are, not only with what you have.”
Backed by an all-male four-piece band, Viktor Lazlo re-enacts the colorful life of the Philadelphia-born star. Backed by a talented, all-male four-piece band, featuring piano and saxophone, charismatic performer, Viktor Lazlo, re-enacts the colorful life of the Philadelphia-born star with excellent renditions from the singer’s wide repertoire interspersed with spoken biographical narrative. Giving the show added dimension is the creative use of Man-size, on-screen panels and old video of the singer who died in New York in 1959. While the narrative parts are in French, the songs are all performed in English.
Lazlo has impressive stage presence being both beautiful, facially expressive and a dancer, as well as having a delicious touch of innocent naughtiness about her, especially obvious in her interaction with the cheeky saxophone player who at one point leaves his place offstage to flirt with her.
With so few live stage performances in Paris where English is spoken, visitors to the City of Light will not want to miss out on a multimedia show about the life of American jazz singer and songwriter Billie Holiday.
Other Musicians & People Victor works with
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