Belinda Munro: ‘The stage is where I feel most comfortable’

Belinda Munro is part of a great tradition of soul singers, a line that includes icons such as Mary Wilson, Gladys Night, Anita Baker, Whitney Houston and Natalie Cole, whose legacy she honours in her current tour around Australia. Anyone who has seen her on stage, knows that Belinda Munro is a commanding presence with an irresistible voice; along with her partner in life and art, jazz trombone master Vincent Gardner, they are a powerful combination, perfectly blending the soul-gospel-jazz idioms, delighting audiences wherever they perform.

What should the audience expect from your shows?

Expect a journey of Natalie Cole’s life, through my interpretation of her songs – as well as some of the songs associated with her father, Nat King Cole.

What are your expectations from the audience?

To be free and enjoy themselves, to go where the music takes them.

Why Natalie Cole?

Natalie Cole was one of my musical influences and after her passing last year, I started working on a tribute to keep her music alive. Through this project, I hope to create a deep appreciation for Natalie’s creativity and artistry.

Who are your influences?

I have many musical influences, but some of the ones that have influenced my vocal style are Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Phyllis Hyman, Etta James and Mahalia Jackson.

How would you describe the dynamics between you and Vincent?

He’s the yin to my yang! We have a mutual love for music and for each other’s musicianship. We love working with each other and that translates onto the stage.

How does it feel being on stage?

The stage is where I feel most comfortable.

How did you discover the power of your voice?

I started singing in church at the age of three and my voice was always the loudest in every group or choir I joined.

How did you get into jazz?

I got into jazz through my studies in school, but Vincent taught me much more about the music and its history.

What is your greatest aspiration?

To reach and touch people with my voice and to have them feel my music like I do, which is food for the soul.

Which tune best describes your current state of mind?

Spirit in the dark – Aretha Franklin (RIP)

Belinda Munro and Vincent Gardner are currently on tour in Australia. They will present a tribute to Natalie Cole on Friday 19 August at the Paris Cat.