Haitian-French songwriter and singer Sarah Jane Rameau released Lost Breed, her debut album this past spring, and it was about time. Well, no creative should be rushed, but after being served with so much of her work like the song “Jardin d’Hiver” (Winter Garden), it had become almost vital for her to feed the fan base she had amassed with her lush voice. The album in question has ten tracks, including the lead single “Hotel Room”. Let’s see what went into preparing it….
Kreyolicious: Your album is out. How long did it take for you to prepare it?
Sarah Jane Rameau: Finally, my album is out. I spent two years working on it. The writing process took longer, and the production started in October 2016.
Kreyolicious: The last time we convoed, you were completing your studies in architecture…
Sarah Jane Rameau: Yes!… I am finally an architect! One more string in my bow! I moved back to Haiti during these past two years where I launched an architectural firm called La Fabrik Architecture and Urbanisme”, with my architect-urbanist husband. We had a really great experience and we have learned so many things in the process. In the mean time, I took the opportunity to expand my musical career. I have played at the 10th Edition of the International Jazz Festival of Port-au-Prince, played and made friends with the greatest in the Haitian Jazz Industry and musicians and artists of the new generation…We had an unforgettable stay which ended with an album signing concert for the launching of my album Lost Breed. Now, La Fabrik has moved to France for a while, to acquire more knowledge, and to expand its wings. I, on my part, will continue to promote my album and remain focused on my music career.
Kreyolicious: One thing about creatives is that they sometimes tend to get obsessed. How do you know when a song is done?
Sarah Jane Rameau: It’s true that artists have a hard time finishing a project. I like to set up deadlines for my work. I love to improve my projects, don’t get me wrong, but, I try to overcome this obsession. Because let’s face it: when do you really know a project is really perfect? When do you stop? I love watching my growth through my work. As I create, I see an evolution and with time, I can look back and compare. Then I aim for higher progress…Plus, a song is never finished. It may be set in stone, like in a CD or vinyl, but in a live performance, the possibilities of modification are unlimited…
Kreyolicious: Is there song on the album that almost didn’t make it on there?
Sarah Jane Rameau: I was thinking of “FreakShow”, because this isn’t the kind of song that I am used sing. It’s the alien of the album. Although, since it was a concept-album, FreakShow totally had its place! It’s the part of the album where I put in evidence the conflicts of the Haitian society. Through an “Alice in Wonderland” story interpretation…I (as Alice) get dragged in a hole by the society (the rabbit), and get trapped in a freakshow where masks are permanently worn and where hypocrisy dominates. Freakshow couldn’t not be on Lost Breed.
Kreyolicious: An album is a collaboration. How did you connect with the musicians featured on yours?
Sarah Jane Rameau: As I performed in Haiti, I tied bonds with great talented musicians such as Ferdinand Jean Baptiste, Hermand Duverne, Josué Alexis, Johnson St Cyr, Maxime Lafaille and Johnbern Thomas. When I started working on my album, I had no doubt as to who I wanted to work with. We have such a great synergy when we perform together and our energies are always in sync.
Kreyolicious: Would you advise those who are just beginning their recording careers to seek out mentors?
Sarah Jane Rameau: I always think it’s great to have a mentor. They’ve been knowing the field for years. They give you pointers, constructive criticism, instructions, help you broaden your cultural field in music and help you see many details that you, as young starter, you wouldn’t even think of. There’s a lot you can learn through them, and you also can also share your knowledge with them. They have a legacy to transmit, and you to embrace and to incorporate. As for me, Reginald Policard is my mentor and I have learned a lot with him throughout this time. And I can only be grateful for everything he has taught me.
Kreyolicious: Your songs have so much depth. You ever feel that you put too much of yourself on your recordings…?
Sarah Jane Rameau: Thank you! The lyrics and the music comes from my heart. But actually, I never feel what I put out in my recordings is too much. On the contrary, I think I restrain myself from being blunt…But this album had to be a bit PG… I could have said more. [Wide smile]
Kreyolicious: Your album is out. What are the next steps for you?
Sarah Jane Rameau: Next step is making it heard by many, in and out of Haiti..make more fun visuals…And work more. [Smiles wide]
CLICK HERE to visit singer Sarah Jane Rameau’s website.