As much as I love documentaries, typically I do not find the musical documentaries as interesting as the serious subject matter engrained in non-fiction films, especially political/issue-based documentaries. Thankfully I came across “Lucky Girl” which softened my callous heart toward the niche doc genre. Credit to this achievement is due to the fact that Ms. Jacqui Naylor’s voice is infectious and soothing, but her moments sharing the intimate side of life expressed in “Lucky Girl” were genuine and at times engaging. And Jacqui Naylor might become more recognizable to more individuals soon. Although she has been recording albums for a while, her song “Rise Up” is featured on the Obama-Biden Website, is very high profile exposure.
This is some background on singer Jacqui Naylor. She initially entered college to study marketing, but after hearing the album Sarah Vaughan Sings George Gershwin in a music appreciation class, Naylor became seriously interested in vocal jazz. She went on to record several more Ruby Star releases in the 2000s, which have been praised by the likes of Vogue, Wall Street Journal and New York Magazine, for her signature “acoustic smashing” technique, singing jazz standards over rock classics. Naylor tours regularly in the US, Europe and Asia.
I corresponded with Jacqui Naylor and asked questions about her vocal style, how her Buddhist faith influences her work, and her next project.
Kenny: Why was it an appropriate time in the career of Jacqui Naylor to have a documentary made about her? Did ARTiDOCs approach you?
Jacqui: The ARTIDOCs team approached me and I’m glad the timing worked out with the tour and making of the new recording. Mostly I feel really honored that they wanted to make it and that so many of the people close to me were willing to participate. I see the film as a snapshot of a particular time in my life and how I got there. For something I did not commission or direct in any way, I think they did a beautiful job of creating a heartfelt piece that reflects my nature and sense of community.
Kenny: Your music is difficult to categorize. How would you describe it?
Jackqui: I like to say I am a singer-songwriter with jazz roots.
Kenny: I really liked the human element of the marriage in your film. Why was this included in the film?
Jacqui: I think they wanted to include the human element of marriage in the film because my partnership and marriage with Art is a very important aspect of my life. It’s a nice story that we met through music but over more than a decade, our relationship has evolved into so much more. We really have a happy life together that is artistic and community oriented.
Kenny: How does your Buddhist faith influence your music? Why wasn’t this explored more in the doc?
Jacqui: My Buddhist faith and practice influence my music in all ways. There is no separation between my practice and my life and music is really just a reflection of life. For example, I think my albums over the years tell the story of my journey in faith……faith in myself. My music reflects an inner realm that has become more confident and happy. There is a reason the album and film are called Lucky Girl. I am. I think the film makers wanted to show how Buddhism influences my life by just showing me as a person, my relationships and how I behave on a daily basis.
Kenny: What are your next career steps/goals after this documentary?
Jacqui: We are working on a new album, which will be recorded live in the end of September called Dead Divas Society, based on many of my favorite singers. Of course I will include one original, “I’m Not Dead Yet.” The album is scheduled to be released nationwide in Spring 2013.
“Lucky Girl” is worth watching and especially engaging for those music fans who enjoy various musical styles blended together to form something unique yet nostalgic. According to the ARTiDOCs site, the documentary “Lucky Girl” was distributed by “Bay Area film making duo, Marcelina Cravat and Jules Kobelin create aesthetic high definition ARTiDOCs that explore the unique journey and spirit of artists and creative concepts. These portrait style documentaries promote a deeper understanding of how we are all artfully connected.”
Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding.
He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.