Last updated Jan. 1, 2007
[pronounced like the country
Peru] was born in Athens, Georgia, she grew up between Brooklyn,
Southern California and Paris, though it was in the City of Light
where she found her voice. As a teen she was drawn to street music,
and in 1989 she started to perform with a group of buskers.
She then joined the Lost Wandering Blues & Jazz Band, becoming the
only female in the group, which toured around Europe for several years.
Madeleine burst onto the recording scene in 1996, with her stunning
debut album Dreamland
. Madeleine was greeted with a veritable torrent
of gushing reviews.
Most raved about her smoke-and-whiskey vocals, often comparing
her to the late, great Billie Holiday. Others wondered how someone so
young could perform classic songs by Holiday, Bessie Smith and Patsy Cline so
convincingly as to make them sound like her own. Time magazine pronounced the
groundbreaking Dreamland "the most exciting, involving vocal performance by a new singer this year."
Madeleine, then an American who had been living in Paris as a
street musician, suddenly found herself on the fast track to fame.
Appearances at Lilith Fair and jazz festivals, and opening tours for
Sarah McLachlan and Cesaria Evora followed, while Dreamland's sales
reached an impressive 200,000 copies worldwide. "It was great,"
recalls Madeleine. "I got to perform with fantastic musicians. I got to
see Nina Simone live. I could've kept running with it, but instead I
stepped back and took a breather."
on Rounder Records released in Sept. 2004, eight
years after the release of Dreamland
. Waiting that long to release her sophomore album is
admittedly not a typical career move, but then Madeleine is not a typical artist.
, produced by Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin),
will features songs as old as W. C. Handy's bluesy title track, popularized by Bessie Smith in the late 1920s,
and others as recent as Elliott Smith's folky "Between the Bars." Madeleine also
covers material as diverse as Hank Williams' "Weary Blues" and Leonard Cohen's
"Dance Me to the End of Love."
Madeleine spent much of the time between Dreamland
and Careless Love
out of the public eye.
But she never stopped
singing, returning to her busking roots with street performances and
club dates around the world from Los Angeles (to New Orleans to New
York City) to Western Europe before being signed by Rounder Records
was a worldwide
sales and critical success, putting Madeleine back on fame's fast track.
Madeleine's followed up Careless Love
with Half the Perfect World
released Sept. 2006, again pairing Madeleine and producer Larry Klein. Half the Perfect World
builds on and expands on
the direction set with Careless Love
, featuring a broad range of songwriters include Madeleine herself.
Parts exerpted from Rounder Records 2004 biography