Those that feel that Jazz is a dead genre in Brooklyn’s music scene clearly haven’t looked hard enough. In fact, all one needs to do is pop their head into The Keep, an eclectic bar/salon on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border, and they might find themselves encompassing an aura that isn’t felt too often in the information age. As retrospective as a speakeasy while also possessing the social exuberance of a dive bar, The Keep holds a regular impromptu jazz jam session every Wednesday night, and one of the event’s most frequent regulars happens to be one of the most recognizable millennials working in the jazz scene today.
“What I love about my career is that I play here at the Keep for tips, but the next day I’ll be performing for The Mad Men premiere in Los Angelas,” says Tatiana Eva-Marie, the French singer who currently fronts for The Avalon Jazz Band. “I feel it’s rare, and very charming.” Tatiana has been a performer at The Keep since it opened, and owes it all to her own curiosity. Living only a block away from the bar, she would frequently walk past it when it was in its beginning stages, and would poke her head in to gaze at the antiques and curios that were decorating the bar. This led her to meeting the owners, and when it came up that she was a musician they found an immediate opening for her talents.
It’s a chance encounter that follows a repeating trajectory that Tatiana has found throughout her career and her life. “The secret to my success has always been about saying yes, and thinking about it later.” Born to musician parents (with her father being film composer Louis Crelier, and mother being violinist Anca Maria), Tatiana was brought into the musical world at a very young age. At the age of 4 she made a duo album with famous children’s performer Henri Dès, and then released her own solo album two years later at the tender age of 6. Still, despite her musical upbringing, Tatiana decided to “rebel” against her parents by pursuing an education based more around acting and medieval poetry. Ironically though, this only called her back towards being a musician.
With her mother being Romanian, Tatiana grew up listening to a lot of gypsy based music and influence in her household which helped her make money while in school. She would often perform as a dancer for the eastern mafia (factual), performing pieces that combined gypsy jazz with more traditional folk. “Some of the first people to play jazz in France were gypsies,” Tatiana explains. “It all keeps coming back.”
It was through her acting ventures, however, that Tatiana truly found her place as a musician. While working in theater, she was offered the opportunity to write and direct her own play, and she of course said yes without hesitation. She would go on to write and direct two musicals, Rhapsodia and The Magic Violin, which encompassed her knowledge on medieval studies and jazz. Both plays were largely successful at the Avignon Theater Festival.
In the year’s since then, Tatiana has moved to America, where she has flourished as a musician and played a number of high-profile events (including a personal performance for the prince of Saudi Arabia). Even though Tatiana ultimately went with a musical focus for her career, she still has found that it has allowed her to pursue her other passions. “I still translate Medieval Poetry just for fun,” Tatiana says. “Also while on tour I always try and visit old castles.” As anyone who has been an adult long enough can attest to, Tatiana seems to be incredibly lucky to be so content with her career. It’s not often that one’s career can tie into one’s background, personal history, and self interests so seamlessly, but it seems to be just that for Tatiana. For that reason, she is undoubtedly a very bright spot of aspiration for anyone seeking success in New York’s massive art scene.
For more information on Tatiana Eva-Marie, check out her official website.