New York City recording artist Valerie Ghent introduces her French chanson, “La Table Qui Était Seule,” a collaboration with French author Christophe Fourvel.
The song’s genesis occurred during the isolation of 2020 and is addressed to a friend living through quarantine and human disconnection, as well as the endemic loneliness of the contemporary world.
Fourvel explains, “I wanted to create a feeling of ambiguous loneliness, a kind of solitude which could come down to the lockdown but also of personal events and situations. I know the strong connection Valerie has with France. I thought of her and wrote a song speaking about a person in New York who chooses an ‘isolated’ table to feel closer to the distant people she loves.”
While Valerie shares, “When I first read the lyrics, I was astounded by the power and beauty of Christophe’s imagery, the intimate way in which he captured what we were feeling during the lockdown here in New York City. My second thought was, how am I ever going to sing this?! A few days later, I sat at the piano with Christophe’s lyrics in front of me and began to sing. The melody arrived, seemingly of its own accord, and I just followed where it wanted to go. Within 20 minutes the song was complete. It felt truly miraculous.”
Because of the pandemic, Valerie recorded the vocals and piano in her home studio. According to her, “I recorded as quickly as I could because it was a really hot August day—I had to turn off the air conditioner for each take!”
Guest musicians on “La Table Qui Était Seule” include Dave Eggar (cello) and Jérôme Buigues (acoustic guitar}. The original cover artwork is by celebrated abstract painter Jean-Pierre Schneider.
A native of New York, Valerie grew up in SoHo and Greenwich Village, where she began writing songs early on, falling asleep to Ornette Coleman, and recording in her father’s studio. Later, she was a keyboardist and vocalist with Ashford & Simpson and has worked with Nina Simone, Dr. Maya Angelou, Roberta Flack, Billy Preston, and Debbie Harry of Blondie.
With five solo albums, Valerie often tours and records in France, where her single, “Feelin’ Alright” took the top spot on Jazz Radio France.
On his part, Christophe Fourvel is the author of twenty books, including Chronicles of Years of Love and Imposture.
“La Table Qui Était Seule” opens on an austere sparkling piano, followed by the entry of Valerie’s sumptuous voice, initially sad. As the song proceeds, her tones take on lighthearted savors, imbuing the lyrics with buoyant colors. Melancholy returns and once again elevates to delicious flavors of enchanted recollection.
Suffused by surfaces of classical music and jazz, “La Table Qui Était Seule” blends retro aromas with contemporary jazz hues, forming a luscious song highlighted by the bravura voice of Valerie Ghent.