Ruth Leon is a writer, critic, director, and currently the Artistic Director for London’s Crazy Coqs cabaret room. Here she explains what it takes to be a cabaret star and how you can get booked to perform at the Crazy Coqs.
I caught up with Ruth in American Bar at Zedel’s (forgive the background noise!) when she’d just returned from New York’s Cabaret Convention. She was buzzing with news from over the pond and we compare the cabaret scene’s on both sides of the Atlantic. Warning: Seven minutes into this interview we picked up some interference on the recording. It’s an annoying buzz from a mobile phone! I apologise. If you can, bear with it. I was loathed to bin the recording because Ruth has some amazing advice on how you can work at London’s wonderful Crazy Coqs cabaret room.
Ruth talks about the remarkable success of Crazy Coqs and what makes it special. Most importantly, if you want to perform at the venue yourself, Ruth tells us exactly how to do it. She explains how she goes about finding new acts to fill the limited number slots available. This advice is gold and the main reason I still published this Podcast despite the annoying buzz.
One piece of advice she has for new singers is simply, “Get out there and sing whenever and wherever possible.” Michael Feinstein told me the same thing as did Jeff Harner, so I guess it must be true!
Ruth also says, “Cabaret is a conversation between the artiste and every member of the audience. Unless you can connect with every member of the audience, it doesn’t matter how well you can sing, they might as well be at home listening to the radio.” She calls it the “me too factor”. When she sees a performance she wants to say to herself, “oh yes, me too”. It’s about finding an emotional connection. That’s where you’ll find the magic of cabaret.
Recorded in London 5th November 2013.