Cécile McLorin Salvant was born and raised in Miami, Florida of a French mother and a Haitian father. She started classical piano studies at 5, and began singing in the Miami Choral Society at 8. Early on, she developed an interest in classical voice, began studying with private instructors, and later with Edward Walker, vocal teacher at the University of Miami.
In 2007, Cécile moved to Aix-en-Provence, France, to study law as well as classical and baroque voice at the Darius Milhaud Conservatory. It was in Aix-en-Provence, with reedist and teacher Jean-François Bonnel, that she started learning about jazz, and sang with her first band. In 2009, after a series of concerts in Paris, she recorded her first album "Cécile", with Jean-François Bonnel's Paris Quintet. A year later, she won the Thelonious Monk competition in Washington D.C.
Over the years, she has developed a curiosity for the history of American music, and the connections between jazz, vaudeville, blues, and folk music. Cécile carefully chooses her repertoire, oftentimes unearthing rarely recorded, forgotten songs, with strong stories.
She enjoys popularity in Europe and in the United States, performing in clubs, concert halls, and festivals
These works with ink on cotton are part of a larger exploration of the formation and diversion of identity. The depictions of otherness in late 19th century cartoons and advertising are some of the foundations of this work. I am interested in the cycles of appropriation and reappropriation in culture and how those cycles develop a narrative with which people recreate themselves for the public. From which materials do we fashion our ragtag mask? What level of awareness and control do we have in forging it?