On her debut CD ‘Girl Talk', 21-year old vocalist Monika Borzym delivers a fearless take on an eclectic range of songs, and in doing so, delivers a jazz vocal album for a new generation of fans. Set for October 18th digital release in the U.S. via Sony Poland, ‘Girl Talk' features the music of a diverse range of controversial, legendary and/or esteemed female artists, including Amy Winehouse, Fiona Apple, Rachael Yamagata, Estelle, Regina Spektor, Erykah Badu, Abbey Lincoln, Feist, Joni Mitchell, Marisa Monte, Björk and Dido.
As Produced by Matt Pierson and arranged by Gil Goldstein, ‘Girl Talk' manages to introduce Polish-born Borzym to American audiences as a new voice in modern jazz, and she proves her chops as she's accompanied by an arsenal of world-class musicians. Borzym elaborates: "Aaron Parks was one of my first choices, he's an absolute genius, a true idol of mine. Then for the drums we went for Eric Harland, he's one of the greatest drummers in his generation, I believe his contribution to the sound of the record to be absolutely priceless. Lenny Grenadier on the double bass was Matt's idea; they worked together on many recording sessions, including those with Brad Mehldau. Matt also suggested the legendary Gil Goldstein -- initially I imagined he'd absolutely be beyond my reach. He's worked with so many superstars; he's arranged records for Sting, Chris Botti, collaborated for years with Pat Metheny. We put together a true dream team, I was in seventh heaven, I really didn't want to leave the studio."
As for the process of selecting songs, the Borzym/Pierson team started with an empty canvas, and found their way to the women on the final album: "We didn't plan on the Girl Talk project. I have a background in standards but Matt suggested we try more contemporary material. The initial playlist definitely included a lot of men, but once we noticEd Strong range of female songwriters in the mix, Matt suggested we go in this direction. We added more women to the track listing, took away the men, and ended up with this new album."
Borzym's roots as a jazz chanteuse found a home in the complex songwriting she gravitated towards for ‘Girl Talk' - she observes: "The level of songwriting suggests these ladies have a deep level of understanding of harmony, and I can't see how they are all so advanced without being involved with jazz somehow, at least as a listener."
More about Monika Borzym:
Monika Borzym discovered jazz at an early age, and is a natural musician, but her upbringing could have sent her in many different directions, thankfully she took a more studied path. "My dad listens to new romantic stuff, Tears For Fears, Toto, there was never MiLes Davis playing in my house. My mum listened to Celine Dion, and Whitney Houston mostly, I sang along at elementary school, luckily they never pushed me to do Idol like stuff."
Monika's influences, once she moved on from Whitney, include the obvious greats, and some lesser-known artists. "It all started with Ella Fitzgerald, she was my first mistress and my greatest one. Then I got fascinated with Carmen McRae, who was more obscure, and far more intense when it comes to the lyrics. I also find great inspiration in Anita O'Day, and absolutely in MiLes Davis; I generally love the trumpeters, Chet Baker, Terence Blanchard, I worship the ground they walk upon. I adore Bill Evans. Also, I've been in love with Radiohead since my lower secondary school."
In 2008, following an intense Eastern European schooling in all aspects of classical and jazz theory, composition and performance, Monika started spending time in the states, and eventually received a scholarship from the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. While there she studied under numerous world-renowned jazz musicians, including Lisanne Lyons, Larry Lapin, Dante Luciani, Greg Gisbert, Chuck Bergeron, Ira Sullivan, and Shelly Berg.