Every musician dreams of captivating an audience. For long-time Seattle resident Gayle Cloud, that dream played out on the stages of Paris and New York.
Now, after the eight years she spent performing abroad, Cloud has returned home to showcase her singing and song-writing talents. Her “new world” music includes world, euro, jazz and pop influences.
These days, Cloud can be found performing at several Bellevue-based venues such as Vertigo Lounge and Grill and the Twisted Cork 0/8 Seafood Grill.
“I was stunned when I came back to Bellevue after being gone for eight years,” she said. “It’s an amazing metropolis. Bellevue is becoming a very happening place. It use to be so sleepy.”
Cloud was raised in a musically rich environment and began playing piano at the age of seven. She taught herself to play the guitar, flute and percussion.
“I didn’t just play your typical percussion instruments, but more exotic ones like the xylophone, the big chinese gong and the special effects instruments.” The keyboard is her current choice when composing a new body of work.
“For me, music was like breathing. It was always a very important part of my life.”
Steering off the music path for several years after graduation, Cloud took on the role of motherhood and started her own public relations firm. But after years of working long hours and endless days, she was burnt out. She decided to pack her bags and take a one-year sabbatical in Paris. That one year turned into five and that sabbatical turned into a complete life transformation and renewed devotion to music.
“There’s something about the aura of Paris that is so inspiring, it’s so visually enticing and energetically alluring and embracing,” she said.
While in Paris, Cloud was introduced to her mentor, Madeleine Barchevska, who had been commissioned by the French government to use her talents as an actress, singer and artist combined with her degree in psychology to help artists build confidence.
With training from Barchevska, Cloud began performing as a jazz singer on the small stage at the Paris Aller/Retour. Following the closure of the club, Cloud began to hold “salon” shows in her loft apartment, 96 steps up from the streets of the Marais district. The casual concert setting and intimate space was ideal for entertaining a group of 50 to 60 friends.
Not wanting to push her luck with the neighbors, Cloud began searching for a new venue and stumbled upon a new Senegalese club. Performing with musicians of different genres, Cloud slowly absorbed the euro rhythms and influences into her own work.
“I think that one of the real differences between a Europe audience and an American one is that in some regards it’s easier to be an artist in Europe because that kind of calling is looked at as being very honorable, where as in America unless you are extremely famous or a pop icon you’re unknown.”
“It’s a harder path here. The opportunities to make deals are there but getting to those deals is a much longer road,” she said.
From Paris, Cloud moved to New York to pursue a record deal. The move resulted in her debut CD titled “Second Chance.” Now, after being away for several years, Cloud is glad to be back in the Seattle area.
“It took me a little bit of time, but I have found wonderful musicians here and great little venues to play in and I’ve continued to write a lot of original work,” Cloud said. “I find that people have been very warm, inviting and excited about what I’m doing.”
Cloud recently joined a music-licensing agency called Audiosocket that connects independent artists and talent buyers to film, television and new media. Audiosocket owner, Brent McCrossen choose Gayle for her unique sound, powerful soothing voice and musicianship.
“We strive to set a high bar with our roster of represented talent and Gayle has leaped it. She’s an amazing talent,” McCrossen said.
Lindsay Larin can be reached at email@example.com or 425-453-4602.