Braun’s Rules of the Game album is filled with love stories from some of the best songwriters past and present. She provides a beautiful interpretation of Gordon Lightfoot’s "Beautiful," has fun with Fats Waller’s sassy "Honeysuckle Rose" and is sultry on Shirley Eikhard’s torch song "About Last Night." As she coos Duke Ellington’s "I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good," you will be hoping it is you that she has it bad for. Other great love songs that chart the landscape of this album include, Cole Porter’s "You Do Something to Me", Ann Hampton Callaway’s "You Can’t Rush Spring" and Edith Piaf’s "Hymne a L’Amour."
In a ‘come hither young man’ tone, Braun deepens her voice and says, "When I’ve got a song that I can focus on such as "I’ve Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good," I think those more languid songs (give you) a chance to draw on your sensuous side. I have quite a few very sassy songs in my show as well."
With all the technological wizardry at the fingertips of producers today, audiences are from time to time disillusioned when they attend a live performance for one of their favorite artists. Such is not the case with Adi Braun as evidenced by Michael Williams of San Francisco’s Octavia Lounge, "Adi worked magic with her gorgeous, soulful voice, sophisticated and sensual beauty and sly sense of humor. She made such an impression on the audience that almost everyone (in the audience) ended up buying her CDs."
Of the songwriter’s and songs that are represented on this CD Braun says, "They are all love songs and they are in the moment, but they are story tellers. There is something in the simplicity of "Beautiful" (Lightfoot) or Shirley Eikhard’s "If We Had Never Met." There is a whole lifetime in three or four minutes and that fascinated me." She says the first time she heard Canada’s Eikhard she thought, ‘Who is this woman who sings with such depth and soul?’ Although Eikhard had a very successful career as a singer, she may be most recognized for writing the Bonnie Raiit hit tune, "Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About."
The gift for story telling has not eluded Braun and that was apparent in her recent performance at Octavia Lounge. Williams says, "You can’t help but be drawn into the little journeys she takes you on with every song, whether it’s a heartfelt ballad, a sexy blues number or even swinging up-tempo jazz. Adi always sings from her soul and you feel that when you hear her sing."
Six years ago Braun left a very established career as a premier classical singer to pursue a lifetime dream of singing jazz. Talking about her ambitions Braun says, "It is nothing that happened overnight. In my heart it happened from the day I was eighteen. I was living in Germany and had actually made a pretty good pop demo tape with a musical theater coach in Cologne Germany." For many years Braun chose instead to follow in the footsteps of her parents who both were renowned opera singers.
"I would say in my vocal heart I have always had more of a tendency towards any music where you can improvise, pop and jazz in particular," she says. For Braun, it was just a matter of reconnecting with those musical notions once she decided to pursue her dream. One of the benefits of her classical career is her ability to sing in Spanish, German, Italian and English. To borrow from an old phrase, ‘The world is her stage.’
She has won more than just the favor of her audiences, as critically acclaimed jazz diva Ann Hampton Callaway recently commented about Braun, "I admire how she has bravely broken the mold of ‘the family trade’ opera because she had to follow her inner calling. Just by following her inner compass, she is finding true north as a singer and a songwriter and from that vigilance, earning much critical acclaim and a multitude of fans on both sides of the Canada/US border."
The fact that you excel in one genre of music does not necessarily imply that a transition will be easy to another. Braun needed to make adjustments vocally, obviously in the selection of charts and lyrics, as well as fine tuning her business instincts. She gives a great deal of the credit for her success to her partner Linda Ippolito who co-produced Rules of the Game and gets involved in many of the business aspects of Braun’s career.
Braun says, "When you train your whole life without any sort of artificial amplification, you are your own amplifier and resonator. You train your voice to sing for a hall from several hundred to several thousand (people). A little bit of scaling back has to happen (when singing jazz). You also don’t have to sing in as high a stratosphere. You use very different colors and parts of your body to get a sound across. That was a bit of an adjustment that I happily made. People often ask me, ‘Don’t you miss singing the high notes?’ The high notes are great if there is a place for them emotionally. A low note can be a high emotional note too."
Despite the fact she has remained living in Canada, Braun has quickly gained acceptance in the United States as a jazz singer. During the autumn of 2006, she performed in New York City and on the west coast. Early in 2007, Braun will be performing in Western Canada.
The aforementioned gigs have come through hard work. "(In classical music) you are never a self-promoter. Once you get to a certain level of excellence, they had a whole differently tiered system whereby you had your agent and then the opera houses book, book, book. You never had to (invest) private money or produce a classical album yourself. You either get your label or they get you. It’s a very different ballgame," she says. However Braun is quick to point out that there are significant benefits that accompany being your own publicist, booking agent and road manager. "It gives you a lot of room to be much more creative," she says.
Singing standards will always account for a portion of Braun’s repertoire, however, she perceives her future in jazz as lying in another direction. "Concentrating more on my own songwriting and giving birth to that voice is absolutely necessary and integral to my moving forward. That part has to be more cultivated," she says.