Fuat Tuaç is a vocalist who began his jazz journey by singing in his hometown of Istanbul, Turkey.
In 2011, he moved to Montreal to study jazz and very quickly took up residencies at some of the local bars and clubs, as well as performing and facilitating jam sessions with other musicians.
Tuaç sings in five different languages and has an eclectic repertoire. He released his debut album Late Bloomer in 2017, and he’s currently working on his second album called The Immigrant, due in early 2021.
For the New Music Spotlight, Tuaç told us more about what to expect from this new record.
What has the experience been like putting together this new album, The Immigrant?
It’s autobiographical, just like my first album. I’m going to be singing in three languages: English, French and the immigrant language, Turkish. I will cover some of the standards that I really like, and some traditional Turkish songs will be revisited in the jazz style, and there are some songs that are quite reflective of the COVID-19 period. There are songs that I started writing or finished during this period, and that I’m still trying to finish.
When you’re singing in different languages, are there songs in one language that you’ve loved that you’ve tried to translate to another?
I love singing in all the languages. It’s just beautiful that every language adds a different colour to each song. For instance, the French songs are more connected, the way we sing it. English is more crisp. And I can’t be objective about Turkish, because it’s my own language.
You mentioned that The Immigrant is autobiographical. What themes or experiences did you think it was important to touch on?
I wanted to share my story in Canada as an immigrant. I wanted to talk about my journey in Canada. I wanted to talk about the people I’ve met along the way; my experience inside and outside the jazz world; what I anticipated from Canada and what I’ve found; how people see me and how I see them. I wanted to talk about all of this.
Is there a particular tune or element that really stands out, that you’re especially excited about?
I’m very excited that it’s going to be super eclectic, just like myself. I am definitely excited about my song The Immigrant. I’m also going to record It’s the Most Unusual Day by June Christy; I’m very excited about this song because it’s so uplifting and beautiful, so it’ll probably be the opening song — so that’s your spoiler alert.
You’ve had the opportunity to perform in a number of different places internationally. What’s it like to perform for a jazz crowd in Turkey, versus in Canada?
Every crowd has a different life. Turkish people, they tend to sing along with you if they know the song. Sometimes it’s very funny, because they may overpower you. I had this lovely lady who would come to each and every concert of mine, and I heard the drummer telling me, “If you cannot shut up this lady who sings off key, I’ll go off the stage.” I can’t really forget that day. In Canada, it’s a very responsive audience as well, I would say. What really strikes me is that they pay much more attention when I sing in Turkish, and they encourage me to sing in Turkish. I’ve seen people who were quite moved and touched, even though it’s a completely different language they can’t even understand. I guess they’re just moved by the music and how they interpret the lyrics. So that’s beautiful.
How can people support your music?
Close to the release date, I will have a little crowdfunding. Hopefully restrictions will be lifted and we can have a real album launch concert at a concert venue. Everybody who contributes to this album will be invited as the VIP.
This interview has been edited and condensed.