Unlike the other artists that I have featured, I now have a musical subject that even my parents can enjoy.  Finally! 

Putting jokes aside however (my parents do read most everything that I write), San Diego, CA-based jazz singer, Sacha Boutros, is worth writing about.  More importantly, she is worth listening to.  Her album, Simply Sacha, is as refreshing as it is timeless.  

I stumbled across her voice accidentally and after listening to the first few bars of her rendition of “Speak Low,” I was taken back to the decades before my birth.  Suddenly I was lost in the arms of a handsome lover, and whispering sweet nothings into his ear.

As cheesy as that may sound, the description is appropriate.  Long gone are the days of romantic lyrics.  Music was simpler back then.  Arrangements weren’t overpowered by heavy production effects and the words were subtle, sweet and sentimental.  By comparing what was then to what is now, you probably didn’t hear too much about how many licks it took to get to the center of a ______ (fill in your own blank). 

Boutros is all about good music and good lyrics.  Although she performs a lot of covers, she also engages herself in writing and producing as well.  Years of piano playing, accompanied by opera training that has strengthened her four-octave range, come together as the perfect recipe for a satisfying and delicious treat.  This treat, which can be delivered in multiple languages, is her voice.

“I can sing in five languages – Spanish, English, French, Italian and Portuguese.  When I wanted to learn how to sing, I studied opera,” said Boutros.

Although performing is her fulltime job, Boutros didn’t actually start singing until her last year of college.  Boutros, who is of Mexican and Lebanese heritage, was an athlete who admired soccer players as she grew up.  She attended college on athletic and academic scholarships. 

“I didn’t have any music idols until I hit my 20s.  Growing up, I admired soccer players – Mexican superstar players,” said Boutros.
Now with a blossoming music career, Boutros has delighted her hometown of San Diego with gigs at venues such as Anthology, Westgate Hotel and Prohibition.  She has entertained her way up the California coast and back again, developed a following in Hawaii, and warmed the hearts of Alaskans.  In 2009, Boutros toured Japan, and her album hit #8 on their jazz charts.

Working as a one-woman business, Boutros does her own online marketing.  If venues can’t design her flyers, she will.  Although her schedule is demanding, she refuses to back out.  Her love of performing was solidified after meeting Nancy Wilson in San Francisco.

“It was such a surreal experience, sitting in this room with this woman – one of the biggest female stars.  I burst into tears and told her that she was everything I thought she was.  She told me, ‘Darling, I sing my ass off!’ She is a living legend,” said Boutros.
Wilson offered Boutros advice, but stated that it was easier back then to reach success.  Although it is harder to “make it” in the music business now, it is imperative to “just keep doing it.”  Boutros does continue to work hard, and despite the ups and downs that she has already experienced, there is nothing else like music to keep her going. 

Meeting Wilson and hearing what words she had to share was just one of many memorable experiences.   After graduating from college, Boutros was introduced by Frankie Laine at his 90th birthday celebration.  She was also taken under Red Halloway’s wing and met Tony Bennett in San Diego.  The young jazz singer has already met legends and Simply Sacha has received rave reviews, much like my own.

Her versatility reaches a wide array of fans.  Older people are drawn to her covers of old standards and jazz, while younger fans enjoy her songs sung in Spanish.  Describing herself as a “natural romantic,” Boutros writes a lot of love, whether she is in fact in love or even out of love.  Her lyrics are truthful and she knows that her fans appreciate that. 

Seeing people happy is what makes her happy.  She speaks to them through song.  Music, to her, is like the gift of giving.  Her mother once told her to “hold onto your dream and not let anyone take it.”  That is a simple bit of advice for anyone really.  It is simple enough to follow.  It is music to my ears.   



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