Madeleine Peyroux

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Madeleine Peyroux
Madeleine Peyroux in 2008
Madeleine Peyroux in 2008
Background information
Born (1974-04-18) April 18, 1974 (age 47)
Athens, Georgia, U.S.
GenresJazz, pop
Years active1990s–present
LabelsAtlantic, Rounder, Decca
Associated actsThe Lost Wandering Blues and Jazz Band

Madeleine Peyroux (born April 18, 1974) is an American jazz singer and songwriter who began her career as a teenager on the streets of Paris. She sang vintage jazz and blues songs before finding mainstream success in 2004 when her album Careless Love sold half a million copies.

Music career[edit]

A native of Athens, Georgia, she grew up in New York and California.[1][2] In interviews, she has called her parents "hippies" and "eccentric educators" who helped her pursue a career in music.[3] As a child, she listened to her father's old records and learned to play her mother's ukulele.[4]

When she was thirteen, her parents divorced, and she moved with her mother to Paris. Two years later she began singing with street musicians in the Latin Quarter. She joined a vintage jazz group called the Riverboat Shufflers, then The Lost Wandering Blues and Jazz Band, with whom she toured Europe.[1][5]

Discovery and breakthrough[edit]

Peyroux was discovered by a talent agent from Atlantic Records, which released her debut album, Dreamland (1996). She recorded cover versions of songs from the 1930s and '40s (Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Fats Waller) with a group of seasoned musicians: James Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, Leon Parker, Vernon Reid, and Marc Ribot.[1] A year later she covered the song "Life is Fine" for a Rainer Ptacek tribute album.[6]

In 2004 she released the EP Got You on My Mind with William Galison.[7] Her second full-length album, Careless Love, was released by Rounder Records and produced by Larry Klein. Careless Love was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) after having sold half a million copies. It included songs by musicians such as Bob Dylan and Hank Williams.[8] Klein produced her next album, Half the Perfect World, which was recorded with Jesse Harris, k.d. lang, and Walter Becker.[2] Half the Perfect World reached No. 33 on the Billboard magazine Top 200 albums chart. Klein and Becker returned to work with Peyroux on her album Bare Bones (Rounder, 2009). She wrote all the songs on the album, co-writing some with Klein and Becker and Julian Coryell.[1][9] Two years later, Standing on the Rooftop was released by Decca Records, produced by Craig Street,[10] and recorded with Christopher Bruce, Charley Drayton, Meshell Ndegeocello, Marc Ribot,[11] Jenny Scheinman, and Allen Toussaint.[10]

In 2006, she performed a live session at Abbey Road Studios in England which was released on the album Live from Abbey Road.[12] During the next year she won Best International Jazz Artist at the BBC Jazz Awards.[13]


In 2013 a New York Times music writer compared her vocal style to that of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Edith Piaf.[14] Her song "A Prayer" appeared in the television show Deadwood (2005), and her version of "J'ai deux amours" was included in the film Diplomacy (2014).[15]



Albums and details Peak positions
  • Date released: 1996
  • Record label: Atlantic
Careless Love
  • Date released: 2004
  • Record label: Rounder
5 54 33 28 18 91 7 71
Half the Perfect World
  • Date released: 2006
  • Record label: Rounder
26 42 41 31 15 55 19 25 38 41 12 33
Bare Bones
  • Date released: 2009
  • Record label: Rounder
64 42 49 40 18 75 33 28 39 46 12 71
Standing on the Rooftop 43 77 75 61 64 81 35 22 57 56
The Blue Room
  • Date released: 2013
  • Record label: EmArcy/Decca
54 42 50 28 65 67 31 82 43 62
Keep Me in Your Heart for a While: Best of Madeleine Peyroux
  • Date released: 2014
  • Record label: Rounder
Secular Hymns
  • Date released: 2016
  • Record label: Verve
137 53 53
93 70 64 96
  • Released: 2018
  • Label: Pennywell, Decca

Collaborations and guest appearances[edit]

With William Galison

With The Lost Wandering Blues and Jazz Band

  • Spreading Rhythm Around

With The Sachal Ensemble

  • Song of Lahore (Universal, 2016)[19]


  1. ^ a b c d Collar, Matt. "Madeleine Peyroux". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b [1] Archived February 11, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Madeleine Peyroux strips down to the Bare Bones | The Courier-Mail". 2009-03-07. Retrieved 2012-04-22.
  4. ^ [2] Archived November 8, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Musician Madeleine Peyroux (Vocal) @ All About Jazz". Archived from the original on 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  6. ^ Swartz, Mark (January 2003). "Madeleine Peyroux". Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Got You on My Mind". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA". RIAA. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  9. ^ "Peyroux Goes 'Bare' On New Album". Billboard. 2009-09-14. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  10. ^ a b Jurek, Thom. "Standing on the Rooftop". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Shore Fire Media Press Release". Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  12. ^ [3] Archived October 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ [4] Archived November 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Haller, Val. "If You Like Billie Holiday, Try Madeleine Peyroux". The New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  15. ^ "Berlin Film Review: 'Diplomacy'". Variety. 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  16. ^ "Madeleine Peyroux discography". Lescharts/com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  17. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Albums Fusionnes - SNEP (Week 38, 2016)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  18. ^ "Anthem by Madeleine Peyroux on iTunes". iTunes Store (CA). Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  19. ^ Piccalo, Gina. "Pakistan's Sachal Jazz Ensemble rises above the risks in 'Song of Lahore'". Retrieved 2 September 2018.

External links[edit]