Interview with Brenda Hébert
Brenda Hébert: “ Music and being creative and funny, I think, has always been with me.”
It’s so wonderful when someone comes to me after a show and says, “Your voice takes me to another place,” or “My grandmother used to sing that song to me.” That’s when I know I’m doing what I was born to do.
Tell us about your background. Who you are and where you are from.
My name is Brenda Hébert (pronounced ā’ bear). I grew up in Kankakee, Illinois, then lived in and around Seattle, Washington, before I moved to Las Vegas. I’ve been musical and otherwise creative for as long as I can remember. I remember playing my turntable or my radio a lot, singing along with the songs all the time.
At Christmas and Thanksgiving, my dad’s family always got together, and my cousins and I would entertain the adults, putting on a Talent Show for them. I remember doing “Who’s On First” with my cousin Erica one year. Then we even wrote our own skit reminiscent of Abbott & Costello. In the last five years, I’ve had the joy of entertaining residents of Assisted Living and Memory Care homes all over Clark County here in Las Vegas.
Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the listener?
I know when I entertain at Assisted Living homes, I try to sing songs they remember, which makes them smile and sing along with me. If they are singing or humming one of the songs I performed as they head back to their apartments, I feel like I’ve done a good job. I carry that over to my shows to a general audience, too. If I sing a song that isn’t well-known, I still try to keep it upbeat, funny. I mean, sure I could do a show full of slow, sad songs, but I want my audience to be able to forget all the worrisome things while they’re at my shows. As the Emcee in Cabaret says, “Leave your troubles outside!”
What prompted you to be a musician? Did you have any specific inspirations in mind? Were you influenced by a particular person, artist, or genre?
I tried to do “normal” jobs, but I always felt like a round peg in a square hole. LOL
I grew up listening to Barbra Streisand, Helen Reddy, then in High School, I discovered The Manhattan Transfer, then, of course, the early MTV years (when there was actually music on it), and I loved the Girl Rock era of the mid-90s. In the last ten years, I’ve really come to appreciate songwriters like Cole Porter and Kander & Ebb, though, they wrote a lot of fun songs. Oh, and in the last few years, I’ve been listening to Édith Piaf, too. I guess I have a lot of influences.
If you could compare your music to any other existing works, which ones would they be and why?
Well, I haven’t recorded any of my original songs, but the latest ones I’ve been working on are Big Band (in my head, anyway). As far as my performance style, I think maybe a cross between Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli & Kacey Jones.
Tell us about your latest music and what inspired you.
In the last few years, I’ve been listening to Édith Piaf more. I sing “La Vie en Rose” and “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” now, but learning some more by her and other French artists. Also, with the quarantine going on, I’m working on learning how to promote myself and my music online using Patreon and other sites to my voice out there.
How can fans contact you with any thoughts or questions?
I keep my FB fan group pretty up-to-date on what’s going on.
Thank you, Paul, for this opportunity!