Sacha Boutros attended the University of San Diego on an athletic and academic scholarship. "I played soccer growing up; I learned how from hall-of-famer Jean Willrich." She played soccer semiprofessionally for ten years.
Going pro wasn't in the cards, however -- singing jazz was. The December 2006 issue of Riviera Magazine named her as one of the "hottest music artists to come out of San Diego." Sacha has performed at jazz festivals across the U.S. and in Mexico. "I learned to sing with my grandfather in church," she says.
Along the way Sacha has learned to speak French, Italian, Spanish, English -- and a bit of Arabic, Portuguese, and Swiss-German. "I am always learning," she adds. "I am classically trained; yes, sir, I sing opera and have a four-octave range."
Her CD Speak Low will be out this September. "It has jazz, Latin bossa nova, swing, and pop. It's in five languages and features Geoffrey Keezer, Red Holloway, and Chuchito Valdés, who I wrote a song with. Half of the album is original."
Sacha will perform at Tapenade La Jolla on Thursday, August 16, at 5:30 p.m.
TRICKIEST PROBLEM PLAYING LIVE?
"What I hate is when I am playing somewhere and people are loud. Funny, because they are there to hear music. Once I was singing downtown [San Diego] and there was no mike. The people were very loud. I started singing 'The Days of Wine and Roses,' and in between the first two 'A' sections I yelled, 'Shut the fuck up!' so loud that you could hear a pin drop in the room. Then I kept on singing and smiling. You should have seen the people's faces. The musicians were so happy; they were nodding their heads behind me. They listened after that!"
WHAT'S IN YOUR CD PLAYER?
"Jon Hendricks, John Coltrane, Tony Bennett, Jobim, Luis Miguel, Bill Evans, Judy Garland, Lola Beltran, Sinatra. I have satellite radio, and it does not stray far from the Sinatra station."
BRUSH WITH THE FAMOUS?
"Many, many brushes. I spent a few days at a spa hanging out with director Paul Mazursky --that was fun -- and getting kissed by Julio Iglesias after I opened for him was a blast. I had Roger Ebert at a concert once -- he gave me the thumbs up, that was cool. Red Holloway is a good friend -- through him I have met many people like Bill Cosby and Etta James. Red has so many amazing stories that I can't get enough of. I get to hear about Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, who was his best friend, and his mischievous stories about him and George Benson."
"I have opened for Julio Iglesias and Marvin Hamlisch, but I would say the best gig was the one I got paid the most for. I play at a spa in Mexico -- I would say it is the best because I have an audience that listens."
"Nothing has ever been that bad...although I have had some pianists with terrible attitudes. Once one of them threw the chart up in the air and started bitching. It was hard to get through the gig. His energy was bad and everyone felt it."
"Sitting under the lemon tree at my house in Bonita. I remember being little. I think I was not even one yet; my mom could not find me, and I remember crawling under the tree. I was a happy kid."
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -- Mahatma Gandhi
"Went to dinner with a big group at Olé Madrid. I went to San Diego High School; the party was at USD. It was lame. I had more fun later -- a bunch of friends went to downtown to Café Bassam and hung out all night drinking coffee and smoking cigars."
WHERE DO YOU SEE MUSIC GOING IN THE 21st CENTURY?
"To shit! Acoustic music is just barely hanging on. Standards are getting older and older, and if you are not singing rap, pop, or hip-hop, it seems as though you can't make it in this business to the level of stardom. Music will soon be completely digital, and record stores will be a thing of the past. However, with everything online now it is easier for independent artists to self-produce their own albums and have a chance to compete with bigger artists if they work the 'net and their music is good."
FAVORITE SAN DIEGO HANGOUT?
"The Red Fox Room. This is my favorite place. More so when Shirley Allen was there -- she was amazing. She passed away. She taught me so much. I saw her three to five times a week for years. I went and sang there as much as I could with her; she had the most amazing musical style. People don't have that sound anymore or know that many songs. The place is great: old round tables, dark inside. It's a bar from the 16th Century that was brought over from England."