Cyrille Aimée | “Move On: A Sondheim Adventure” | February 22 via Mack Avenue Records
Vocalist Cyrille Aimée Journeys Through the Songs of
Broadway Legend Stephen Sondheim on Latest Album:
Move On: A Sondheim Adventure –
Available February 22 on Mack Avenue Records
Album Opens a New Chapter in Aimée’s Critically Acclaimed
Career with Eclectic Takes on Sondheim Songbook
“Mary Me A Little” Exclusively on WBGO.org
The genius of Stephen Sondheim stems from the revered composer’s ability to plumb universal human emotions even in the form of the most outré characters – be they cannibalistic barbers, presidential assassins, or fairy tale witches. The acclaimed vocalist Cyrille Aimée discovered that gift first-hand as she took a deep dive into the Sondheim songbook for her scintillating new album, Move On: A Sondheim Adventure. What began as a celebration of a legendary Broadway songwriter became a work of cathartic autobiography as one song after another captured her deepest personal feelings.
“I get goosebumps just thinking about it,” Aimée says. “At the moment that I was working on this album I was going through a lot of life changes. The more I listened to the songs, the more I realized they were really connected to what I was going through. At a very rough time, these songs were saving me.”
While its narrative arc is a self-contained story, Move On: A Sondheim Adventure (February 22 viaMack Avenue Records) is just the beginning of a new chapter in Aimée’s remarkable journey. It’s the French-born singer’s first release since disbanding the acclaimed band she’s led for the last several years, to which she bid a fond adieu on her last album, Cyrille Aimée Live. It’s also her first studio album since moving from Brooklyn to New Orleans, the latest music-rich city that she’s been able to call home.
That move ended up being accompanied by even more uncertainty than usual for such a major relocation, as a break-up meant that she unexpectedly had to make it alone. The course of that relationship provided the through line for the songs on Move On, which traces the course of a romance from dreaming together (“Take Me To The World”) through vulnerable commitment (“Marry Me A Little”) to heartbreaking assurances (“No One Is Alone”) and finally the uncertain future (“With So Little To Be Sure Of”).
Aimée’s Sondheim Adventure began in 2013, when she was invited to participate in a tribute concert for the Broadway legend at New York’s City Center, co-starring with Bernadette Peters and backed by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Her show-stealing performance was widely praised, but the most memorable compliment came from the composer himself. “You made me cry,” Sondheim told Aimée backstage after opening night.
“That was pretty powerful,” Aimée recalls with a touch of understatement.
Aimée was almost completely unfamiliar with Sondheim’s work prior to that life-changing experience. Broadway musicals aren’t a prominent part of the culture in her native France, where she grew up introduced to a wealth of diverse music by her French father and Dominican mother: everything from Michael Jackson to French chanson, Flamenco to country-western. She famously spent her childhood sneaking out to sing in nearby gypsy encampments, then honed her talents singing on street corners in Europe and braving the notoriously tough audiences at New York’s Apollo Theatre.