René Marie is a jazz musician who not only stands out as an accomplished musician, but also as a strong woman aiming to help change America’s landscape for the better. Her latest album, "I Wanna Be Evil (With Love to Eartha Kitt)" pays tribute to Eartha Kitt's similar strength while showcasing René Marie's unique power and versatility. René Marie will take her smooth jazz and admiration for Eartha Kitt to the New Orleans Jazz Festival on April 26.
Related: Read more on the all-AXS Jazz Fest Guide
Unlike many performers you might find at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, René Marie got her start after her 40th birthday when choosing music over a turbulent marriage. After her debut album "Renaissance" (1998), she toured as Ella Fitzgerald in a regional play and has continued to sing, act, and record albums ever since. She's now on her tenth album and stars in a one-woman play she wrote for the All for One Theater Festival at the Cherry Lane Theatre.
As a unique, risk-taking woman with strong musical roots in jazz, it makes sense that Marie would look to Eartha Kitt as an inspiration. They both live by the "Kittism," that "the price you pay for being yourself is worth it." Marie's tribute album, "I Wanna Be Evil (With Love to Eartha Kitt)" includes cover songs like "Peel Me a Grape" and "Santa Baby." René Marie finds success in drawing attention to important issues and bold artists such as Eartha Kitt and views her as one of America's strongest icons who was sensuous and powerful as well as outspoken and genuine. The tribute has reached the ears of Eartha Kitt's daughter, Kitt Shapiro, who said,
"It’s wonderful that such a talented artist like René Marie has recorded the first tribute album to my mother, helping to keep her memory and spirit alive. These classic songs deserve to be heard and loved by all generations."
René Marie made several appearances on the Billboard charts and won Best International Jazz Vocal CD by France's Academie Du Jazz. She also leads Slam!, an online vocal therapy project. To listen to a combination of jazz, soul, blues, folk, and gospel in her always sensual, emotional performances, look no further than René Marie.
René Marie — With Love To Eartha Kitt
Jazz Fest Performance: Saturday, April 26, 2014
Go see this if: You want to hear smooth, sensual jazz in true Eartha Kitt style