Singer Finds Her Own Voice

The National Post
September 2004
Gord McLaughlin

More than 18 months after the release of her first jazz CD, singer Adi Braun is making her debut at the Top O' the Senator, considered by many to be Toronto's premier jazz venue. With so much time having passed between the recording of Delishious and her Sept. 7-12 engagement, Braun says her repertoire of standards and cabaret numbers is bound to have evolved, because that's just the way jazz is.

"If I sing Cry Me a River today, it's very different," says Braun, 41. "You've lived more, had a chance to flex your muscles more by playing with great musicians. Playing in clubs is all about letting loose."

That's pretty wild talk from the daughter of opera singers and the sister of renowned baritone Russell Braun. She studied classically from the age of 19, when the family moved to Canada from Germany, but was never satisfied by it. She came to jazz a few years ago, after a friend entered her in a local Ultimate Talent Search, which she won on that night.

"Jazz is a mature, sensuous form of music," Braun says. "I guess I was waiting for the day when I would finally have the courage to step out." She's not the only family renegade, as younger brother Torsten is a budding rock musician about town. Her big-voiced brother Russell joined Adi on-stage at the Parry Sound Festival this year for a Manhattan-themed mix of her jazz standards and his Sigmund Romberg operettas. "We teamed up on a Cole Porter song and, I daresay, he did opera scat."

She's also been appearing around town at the Montreal Bistro on Sherbourne and Revival on College, and at other festivals across Ontario. Last fall she performed in Germany, where a newspaper critic glowingly described her as a power-frau.

"People have said I'm late blooming," Braun says. "I say, let's take out the word late. I think I'm only blooming now."