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(2013 - Fall/Winter Issue)


Halifax native Holly Cole has seen much of the world in her almost 30-year career as one of Canada’s pre-eminent jazz and pop singers who draws rave reviews from fans on three continents.

With 16 albums to her credit (latest is called Night), she’s performed throughout Europe and has visited Japan 25 times where she joins Anne of Green Gables as a top Canadian export.

In June, the triple-Juno recipient won the 2013 Ella Fitzgerald Award at the Montréal Jazz Festival for her “versatility, improvisational originality and quality of repertoire.” As winner of this prestigious award, she joined many of her idols including Liza Minnelli, Tony Bennett and Aretha Franklin. From her Toronto base, she continues to record albums and perform internationally.

How do you pass the time on long flights?

Maybe a movie or listening to music by Mahler, Stevie Wonder, Sarah Vaughan or Gladys Knight on my headphones. Usually I try to sleep. I always take a sleeping kit on board consisting of my blanket, earplugs, eye mask, pillow, noise-cancelling headphones, and then I cocoon.

How do you handle jet lag?

Not well. I’m a night person so getting back on schedule is difficult. Sleeping as much as I can on planes followed by exercise works best for me. I head for the hotel pool as soon as I arrive in a new city. It’s good exercise, especially for a singer. It helps regulate breathing and hydrates my body.

What are your favourite destinations?

Montréal is my favourite city in the world. It combines the best of European and North American culture. I marvel at the fact they were able to get all the sexiest people in the world to move there! In the U.S., it has to be San Francisco. In Japan, I just love Fukuoka and, in Europe, Vienna is awesome, especially its concert hall. Its sense of history is very moving.

Do you have a favourite hotel?

The Hotel Okura in Tokyo. Its architecture is stunning and the interior is serene. Best of all, it has an Olympic-size pool—a big factor for me.

How much do you pack when you travel?

You’d think I’d learn but I overpack like crazy! In Japan, we do two shows a night, six nights a week, so I need plenty of stage clothes. I take at least two huge suitcases because I have to.

What’s your favourite mode of travel?

In Canada, I’d love to travel by train more but it’s not a viable option, although it should be. In Germany or Japan, bullet trains are the way to go. They’re very fast and run like clockwork. So, within Canada, the band and I travel mostly by air. Bus tours are okay, too, just not during our winters.

Where do you go for relaxation?

No question, Nova Scotia. I was born there and my grandparents had connections with both the South Shore and the Minas Basin in the Bay of Fundy. I love the open ocean beaches on the Atlantic but the huge tides in the Minas Basin are awesome. When the tide is out you can walk for miles on the ocean floor. It’s very humbling.

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