“I go for a groovy vibe,” says singer-percussionist Debora Galan, “mixing old jazz and Latin jazz standards with lounge music, along with whatever surprises I decide to add in.”
Born in Madrid, Spain, Galan says she was singing at family gatherings before they moved to the U.S. when she was eight. “Both my mother and grandfather sang flamenco and salsa, and that was a big influence on what I listened to and, later, my own music.”
After her family moved to Washington DC, “I learned my first Mexican rancheras and was performing them at school functions. By the time I graduated high school I had already had my first paid professional gig. I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life, and that was my dream from that point on.”
In 1987 Galan settled in San Diego, where she joined the Carlsbad-based variety band OSM and expanded her repertoire to include gospel and contemporary Christian music. From there, Galan went on to perform with Burt Brion, Steven Ybarra, Deborah Flores, and the Fabulous Pelicans. In 2008 she struck out on her own, performing as a soloist with her band Silk.
Debora Galan performs at the Taste & Art Stroll in Del Mar on Saturday, October 2.
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
1) Beejay Baclawski Ondera, Beejay Baclawski EP. “This is my newest addition, and it was in fact a gift from its creator. The songs are soulful and warm, and I like the way Beejay draws you in with her voice.”
2) Concha Buika, Niña de Fuego. “I discovered her music while traveling in Spain. Concha has such a way of expressing sentiment. When you think of the Spaniards and their passion, this woman to me expresses it beautifully in song.”
3) Lizz Wright, The Orchard. “If you’ve ever seen or heard her, you understand the gift this woman has. The richness in her voice, the execution of the melody — the words ‘hauntingly beautiful’ come to mind.”
4) Angie Stone, Black Diamond. “Soul, soul, soul. I’m learning one of her tunes for my repertoire.”
5) Corinne Bailey Rae, The Sea. “I love her sound, and there’s a gentleness to her voice that I really enjoy. I also have her other album and enjoy it immensely.”
WHERE DO YOU TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS?
1) La Jolla
2) Wild Animal Park
3) Carlsbad beach
4) Oceanside Pier
5) San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park
BRUSH WITH FAME?
1) “On a plane going from California to DC, I saw Jane Seymour, who played Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann; and Paige Hemmis and Michael Moloney from Extreme Home Makeover.”
2) “I was dining once at Vigilucci’s in Encinitas, and I saw Kenny G. I didn’t say anything to him. I think they [celebs] probably get that a lot and would like some space and tranquility.”
BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED?
“It was actually something an old boss of mine told me: ‘In particularly challenging times, it’s best to think with a cool head and act with a warm heart.’”
WHO SHOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE?
“Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts.”
EVER BEEN A CRIME VICTIM?
“Yes, my car was vandalized. It was parked on the corner of the street in front of our house, and two jackasses pulled up at three o’clock in the morning and took a bat and a crowbar and busted the windows and put holes in the body. We found out later from police that our car wasn’t the only one. I guess these two geniuses went on a spree that night and vandalized other cars in the area. We got video on them, too, but the investigator on the case still hasn’t called to let me know if they arrested the creeps.”
BEST THING YOU EVER WON?
“I would say my daughter, although I didn’t actually win her. I do feel like I lucked out! She’s been my greatest joy in life.”
FIRST BOOK YOU REMEMBER READING?
“Stone Soup, by Marcia Brown. I read this when I first came to the U.S. as a little girl, when my dad was still teaching me how to speak English.”
WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH THE POWER TO READ MINDS?
“Pray for wisdom. I can’t imagine that knowing what everyone is thinking would always be a good thing. It’d be great when people are in a good place and their thoughts are good and kind, but knowing people’s darkest thoughts could be a little scary. It could get to be a heavy burden.”
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW OR GUESS?
“I always wanted to be a dancer.”■