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Kat Edmonson: 'I Hear Myself As An Instrument'

Kat Edmonson's new album is called <em>The Big Picture</em>.
Courtesy of the artist
Kat Edmonson's new album is called The Big Picture.

Singer Kat Edmonson has always looked to the past for inspiration. Her music video for the song " Rainy Day Woman," for example, evokes the technicolor days of the 1960s; with her short-bobbed hair and big eyes that peer out from under an umbrella, Edmonson looks as if she stepped out of Breakfast At Tiffany's.

Speaking with NPR's Scott Simon, Edmonson — whose new album, The Big Picture, comes out Sept. 30 — says those old movies and musicals are how she got interested in singing to begin with.

"I fell in love with the marriage of cinema and music together," Edmonson says. "I remember being 4 years old and thinking that I was just like Gene Kelly on the screen."

These days, however, she draws another comparison: Billie Holiday. It's an enviable association, and one Edmonson says she can't accept outright — though she does see one similarity between herself and Lady Day.

"What I understand that she was trying to do with her voice was to emulate a horn, specifically Louis Armstrong playing the trumpet," Edmonson says. "And much of my approach to singing has been similar. I hear myself as an instrument, playing with the band."

Hear the rest of the Edmonson's conversation with NPR's Scott Simon at the audio link.

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