Actress and singing sensation, Cynthia Basinet, knows a thing or two about show business and romance. Her passion-filled music could take audiences to heaven and back on a clear moonlit night.
Basinet is an ex-Ford supermodel, a mother, an activist, was partnered with a high profile actor in Hollywood, is a Nobel Peace Prize nominated humanitarian, a pioneer and entrepreneur of internet music distribution and has a sultry iconic jazz blues voice that is regularly mistaken for being vintage Marilyn Monroe.
Cynthia Basinet is living proof that when you’ve got it, you’ve just got it, as she has limitless amounts of talent and chutzpah!
We arranged to meet in Pinkberry to grab some peppy vitamin ‘C’ and to meet with her in person you quickly discover that she’s kind of a hybrid of smart & sexy; funny & quirky; discerning & playful; colorful & vibrant and alluring & wise. She’s like her music – emotionally raw and rather thrilling too.
Other stars seem to think so as well. Heidi Klum, Kylie Minogue and The Pussycat Dolls all have covered her hit version of the Christmas classic, SANTA BABY, a staple hit worldwide for Basinet for a decade now.
The song was Basinet’s Christmas card gift to "a famous actor whose movie comes out at Christmas." As "C’s" muse, he once occupied her heart and attention momentarily to inspire one of her greatest songs to date.
She delicately spoons pommegranite pips across her full singer’s lips, without once uttering his name. Her silence is bittersweet, luscious and pithy resting on her tongue. I admire her poise instantly. "C" is one classy lady.
Of her voice and golden ability to connect her vocal arrangements poignantly to the substance of a song’s lyrical essence, leading jazz critics have said these iconic things of Basinet: "Her midnight blue voice can conjure up black and white images of ill-fated romance. Set to a crestfallen piano backdrop, [she] expresses deep-seated feelings of love lost; the heartbreaking ache in her vocals reveal real, honest pain."
The accolades go on: "For Cynthia Basinet, her voice itself is an instrument; in terms of emotional power, it’s a lethal weapon. Sensual, emotionally damaged and world-weary, Basinet’s vocals have the makings of a film noir femme fatale." www.allaboutjazz.com
In UNCOVERED, her latest cd of exquisite recordings, Cynthia Basinet is more rawer and real then ever! Her rendition of BLUE MOON makes time stand still. LA’s The Place Magazine takes you up close and personal with the star in a special one on one interview. Indeed, we give you Cynthia Basinet UNCOVERED. Enjoy!
LATP: How essential is it for you to portray a sense of uncovered and raw emotion in a Cynthia Basinet song?
CB: It’s a metronome for the truth.
LATP: You have a great affinity for the blues, tell us a little bit about this and where does it stem from?
CB: I believe it was Catherine Deneuve, who had expressed her feelings of depression and said something like, if you’re smart and you’ve seen injustices in the world, it’s going to almost haunt you. In this light, I think we all take on the blues for those in need around us. It’s what you do with it that defines character and that’s when it starts to get interesting.
LATP: You’ve had a very interesting life, from supermodel to a Nobel Peace Prize nominated humanitarian. When you sung for West Sahara refugees, did they immediately respond to the ‘blue note’ sincerity of your voice?
CB: Well, I believe it to be a two-sided dialogue. It was one of the most overwhelming experiences I have ever had. It was like a warm grace in the wind that blew my skirt, tussled my hair and wafted my voice out into the crowd and when I breathed back in it was with their (the Saharwian women) warbling response. The time there has been the only time I didn’t feel some huge weight sitting on my shoulders. It was life changing and amazing!
LATP: Having a high profile romance… is this a recipe for the blues?
CB: Someone once said it’s like loving a ghost. I think it just depends on which one it was. Typically the issue is a) privacy; so things can take on an unaltered flow and b) most aren’t who they are in public and visa versa.
LATP: What are your top tips for being in a high profile relationship and surviving it?
CB: I think if you can’t say "yes" to the experience then why choose to be here in Hollywood? Like anything in life and choosing to love a partner you are attracted to, if it feels right you just roll with it naturally.
LATP: When you first discovered you could sing, what was the moment and how did you feel?
CB: Wow. It just always was. It’s like this deepest love that is your deepest secret and it comes out in every breath you take. Only with me it’s set to music.
LATP: To convey vulnerability as a singer and express it, how do you do this and convey it through your voice?
CB: Hmmm. I think a lot! And musically, it’s a lot of training.
LATP: LA can be a tough city. Do you get out of LA and replenish yourself?
CB: I can stare at people crossing the street and it replenishes me but yes, I have had the fortitude this year to enjoy a little R&R.
LATP: Where did you last go on vacation?
CB: Maui. Three weeks ago. The weather was so the opposite, making it such a treat. I love to listen to local radio and TV whenever I go somewhere and to also just happen upon some ‘off the beaten path’ great restaurant.
LATP: As well as being a singer and an actress, you are also a mom. What advice do you give to your child about life?
CB: Well, I’m not sure how it is for most parents, but it seems that the life and advice I thought I gave my son, is not how he seems to see the same journey. In that moment you know you are a parent. All I can say now is life is so short, just go for it and do it with dignity, even if it takes a little longer.
LATP: They are playing your music in New Zealand and Australia. How does this make you feel?
CB: Somehow the two areas have seemed as if they were an extended version of the California I grew up in, so it feels like oh, folks back home are listening to my music and loving it. Then when I see someone in the UK hearing me, I wondered how it worked with them?
LATP: You pioneered and believed in the importance of internet music sales from the beginning. What have been the pros and cons of this for you as an artist?
CB: Internet music distribution is the most environmental and cost effective route to launch an artist in the 21st century. However, with that territory comes the wild west as far as any rules go, or for that matter, a fair sense of play.
The idea that you can send a "playlist" of songs (or videos, etc) to someone else, of all these artists, who have families, lives, charities, passions, responsibilities is insane. Most importantly, the principle of they who did the work, should be honored and let them participate in the profit.
Basically, I’m not expressing anything that the current Writers Guild Association strikers are not trying to at this time in America’s entertainment history. It’s the same thing in music. For me, it was difficult as I was launched musically on the internet without an image in the beginning. Thus one was appointed. In my case, my hit Santa Baby, is mistaken for being a jazz recording of Marilyn Monroe, who never recorded the song, but it’s me.
LATP: Critics at the All About Jazz Site list you as a greater artist then Michael Buble and many other singers… how do you feel about this?
CB: It’s nice to know you’re in good company and people enjoy what you enjoy.
LATP: Where to from here?
CB: To the MOON, Alice. To the moon."
We will not sell or distribute your e-mail address to anyone else.
Written by Staff Writer