In November 1991, I arrived in Paris to work as an au pair. I didn't know anyone there other than the new family, but a friend from New York had given me the number of his German ex-girlfriend. Her name was Andrea. She wore only black and carried a knife in her boot at night. She spoke perfect French and rolled her own cigarettes. And she was relaxed and kind.
The night Andrea and I met, it was at her favorite bar, L'Art Brut located in the heart of Paris, right near the Georges Pompidou Center. We sat down with our drinks next to two Americans who started chatting with us. Their names were J Michael and Kevin and they were funny and flirty. It was a fun night and I remembered feeling that I had done the right thing in coming to Paris.
They invited us to a party that weekend at a friend's flat. And there, Andrea and I got to know a group of photographers, architects, painters, and dreamers of all nationalities; German, Dutch, Lebanese, Russian, French (after all,) Italian and a couple other Americans. We formed a crew and would see each other more or less every weekend.
A couple months later, Andrea had to return to Germany for good and I starting spending more time with our international friends.
We often met along the Seine (river) or in their flats and played jam sessions. One evening, three of us were at our friend Scott's singing from a Chris Isaak songbook and they asked me if I had ever sung before. I told them no.
From that night on, Scott introduced me at each of our many parties as "La Chanteuse".