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  • Photo du rédacteurRalph Ruiz

Patty Brard discussing Yacht Rock on "Khalid & Sophie"

Yesterday, Patty Brard was invited on BNNVARA/NPO 1's talk show "Khalid & Sophie", hosted by Khalid Kasem. The program drew 589.000 viewers (market share: 16.6%) and reached #18 on SKO's Dag Top 25 (the daily list of the 25 most popular TV shows conceived by Dutch audience measurement company Stichting KijkOnderzoek). Click here to watch the section of "Khalid & Sophie" featuring Patty.

Media personality Gerard Ekdom, the former Luv' singer, Dutch folk-rock Tangarine discussed the revival of interest in "Yacht Rock". What is this music genre? Yacht Rock (originally known as the West Coast sound or adult-oriented rock) is a broad music style and aesthetic commonly associated with soft rock, one of the most commercially successful genres from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. Drawing on sources such as smooth soul, smooth jazz, R&B, and disco, common stylistic traits include high-quality production, clean vocals, and a focus on light, catchy melodies. Its name, coined in 2005 by the makers of the online video series Yacht Rock, was derived from its association with the popular Southern Californian leisure activity of sailing. The Doobie Brothers, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, Donald Fagen, and Toto are among the acts which represent Yacht Rock.

Here's how Gerard Ekdom defined this music style: "Picture this! It's 1982. You have a sports car. You live in the neighbourhood of Miami and you're driving to the beach with palm trees. You see the deep blue sea. It's sunny. You're listening to the perfect radio song. That's Yacht Rock". He added: "It's perfect pop music. It's perfectly produced with the best session musicians in the world. Quincy Jones or David Foster did it. In lots of these records, you listen to the same musicians. One of them was Paulinho da Costa who played the percussion on some of these songs".

Khalid Kasem called Patty Brard "the Dutch Queen of Yacht Rock". Gerard Ekdom showed the sleeve of the "Hold On To Love" single on camera and said: "Here's a single by Patty from my collection, "Hold On To Love". If you read the credits on the back cover, you see which session musicians played on this record. These are names which also appear on the records by Toto and Steely Dan. How did Patty do it?"

La Brard recollected her Californian years in the 1980s. "I've no idea how I did it. Hahaha. I was not impressed. I was in love and I married a man who was a music publisher. He first met me when I was part of Luv'. Suddenly I lived with him in Los Angeles. He suggested I should do something on my own. At first, I didn't know what to do as previously, I had been a member of a female trio. He told me to record serious music. He was part of this scene with musicians I didn't know. Sheila Escovedo, better known as Sheila E., and Pete Escovedo stayed in our house. At the time, they didn't have enough concerts to afford a hotel room in Los Angeles. Richard Page of Mr. Mister was a friend of mine and recorded background vocals for me," Patty explained.

The Shownieuws diva told an anecdote about singing lessons: "In Los Angeles, it was normal to meet this kind of people. It's like here when you drink coffee with Gerard Joling. Sorry for this comparison. I was part of a certain world and I was about to record a solo album. I thought I should take some singing lessons. I was looking for the best vocal coach. Seth Riggs was the perfect teacher. I enjoyed his lessons and I often went there. One day, I heard a lady knocking on the door. She said: "How long are you going to sing? 'Cause I need to leave in an hour". I was vocalizing. I realized it was Bette Midler who was waiting for me. On another day, the coach asked me: "Pat, can you stay for an extra hour? Michael Jackson cancelled his lesson as he won a Grammy Award".

Excerpts from Patty's TopPop special in 1981 (including Hold On To Love, All This Way and Survivor) were shown.

When asked what the reactions to Patty's Yacht Rock records were in the Netherlands, the diva answered: "Some people said: "She has a wealthy man who paid her for the best musicians. She cannot sing. In retrospect, if I analyze what I did back then, I sound like a scaredy-cat who performs very good tracks. I wish I could re-record these songs now that I'm more self-confident. But I made a terrible mistake. My ex-husband and father of my daughter, who initiated this project, gave me the 24-track master tapes. But I threw them away. It's a scandal, I know".

Patty remembered who recorded next to her at the studio in Los Angeles: "I was in the studio with Paulinho da Costa and other big names in the industry. In the neighbouring studio, another album was recorded. Some men showed up to see who was recording next to them. It was me. These guys were the Porcaro brothers of Toto. I didn't know who they were".

Patty posted a couple of backstage pictures on her Instagram story.

Gerard Ekdom, Tangarine and Patty Brard backstage at "Khalid & Sophie"

In early 2021, I wrote a detailed article about the 40th anniversary of Patty Brard's solo career launched with the support of the Los Angeles-based record producer Carlo Nasi, heir to the FIAT empire. Click here to read it.

Patty married Carlo in 1983 and both had a daughter named Priscilla. Patty's debut solo single "Hold on to love", written by Barry Richards and Bobby Hart of the Boyce and Hart duo that wrote hits for The Monkees, was released in February 1981. It peaked at #19 on the Dutch Top 40 and #14 on the Nationale Hitparade in the Netherlands. It reached #4 on the BRT Top 30 and #7 on the Ultratop in Belgium as well as #12 on the South African charts. The track was taken from the "All This Way" album, recorded with prestigious session musicians including Richard Page, Paulinho do Costa and Billy Preston. The LP reached Nr. 35 on the "Nationale Hitparade LP Top 50 in Holland.

Patty later released two other albums recorded in Los Angeles: You're In The Pocket (1983) and Red Light (1986). These records flopped due to the Dutch media circus around Luv' after Patty's departure to America and a radio boycott. It was insinuated that the prima donna didn't have any vocal talent and Carlo Nasi spent a lot of money to promote his wife's music. A pity that the press focused on the gossip instead of Patty's 1980s solo music. In 1989, Patty and Carlo divorced.

Although Miss Brard got rid of the master tapes, her "yacht rock" albums from the 1980s are now available on digital platforms (Deezer, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and YouTube...).

Source: BNNVARA, NPO 1, SKO, Patty Brard's Instagram account, Luv' weblog archives...

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