The name Caro Emerald may not instantly ring bells, but her songs will.
The Dutch singer has been making waves across Europe since she exploded onto the music scene in 2009 with the jazz number, Back It Up.
She’s so popular in her native Holland she has topped the charts there for longer than Michael Jackson. And she’s seriously popular here as Caro is currently in the middle of a sold-out tour of the UK – she plays Portsmouth Guildhall on September 25.
She’s even due to appear at the 02 arena early next year and her most recent album, The Shocking Miss Emerald, shot to the top of the UK charts.
We speak when she’s three shows in and up in Newcastle getting ready to perform once more. She answers the phone in her thick Dutch accent, and it’s easy to tell how excited she is.
‘It’s so fantastic!’ Caro bubbles.
‘It’s a blessing to be here, especially on a sold-out tour. I’ve been working with the same people for a couple of years now and I’m really happy with the way everything is.
‘We’ve had rave reviews and really happy fans, so that makes me happy. It’s the best welcome.’
But the 32-year-old’s love for music began before she was even a teenager. At 12 years old the songstress performed a jazz song to a crowd and the feedback she received was overwhelming. She soon started singing lessons.
Caro says: ‘I was very young, but it was a time when I realised that singing was my talent. I could have sang classical, but I have a natural thing for jazz music.
‘I knew I was good at it and there were more possibilities in jazz. I grew up more and that’s when I really began to study and appreciate it.’
She adds: ‘It has influenced me so much, even though now I am more of a pop singer.’
Influence her it definitely did, and in 2007 Caro Emerald was called on to cut a demo for producers and she seized the opportunity, recording Back It Up. When she performed the song on a Dutch TV station a year later, the song exploded onto the scene.
Now, the jazz singer is making a name for herself in the UK with her catchy songs and nostalgic Hollywood glamour. Her first album, Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor, sold more than 1.3 million copies across Europe.
She says: ‘Sometimes it’s hard to believe this is all happening. I love being in the British Isles because I seem to always sell out shows when I’m here. The audience is really giving and it’s a nice country to be around.’
Caro sold out many of her shows in the UK when tickets were released in March. She will perform favourites from her debut and award-winning album and songs from The Shocking Miss Emerald.
And it seems there will be a lot going on to keep the audience entertained.
‘It’s a very dynamic show,’ says Caro, ‘and there are parts that are very grand.’
‘We go from old school big band numbers to playing really electronic songs. There’s guitars, percussion and we have a DJ.’
Promoting her second album, the performances are meant to take the audience away to a retro world of glamorous women and the epicentre of style, romance, excitement and dangerous liaisons – Paris .
Caro explains: ‘We wanted something revolving around style.
‘We collected images to make a mood board, and they were all pretty much pictures of really stylish women. There was a lot of grace and femininity, and the album demands that sound.’
When the record went straight to the top of the charts, Caro couldn’t believe her luck.
She says excitedly: ‘I’m Dutch and having a number one album in the UK is amazing. It’s one of my biggest dreams come true.
‘The UK is a country to really look up to when you talk about music. It has the best taste in artists and musicians in the world, and to be part of that is a great feeling.’
Not that she’s forgetting her home country as Caro adds: ‘Holland is very appreciative of the people who make it internationally, so it’s nice to know that.’
So much so that her first album was in the number one spot there for 30 weeks – beating a record once held by Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Caro was so overwhelmed, she didn’t know what to think.
‘That is just crazy. I didn’t know a lot about the music industry so I didn’t know how you measured your success.
‘It was when I realised how huge everything had become, but at the time there was something new every week. I still wonder how is that possible?’
And it seems there is no stopping her. Caro is back in the UK next year with another tour – this time it will stop at the prestigious O2 arena.
Contemplating her success, Caro says: ‘It’s a dream come true and I can barely believe it sometimes. I haven’t even done a stadium or arena in Holland. It will be my first time so I know it will be incredible. I’m just really happy about it.’
Looking ahead, Caro hopes her future will always lie with music.
She says: ‘I would love to be like Diana Ross who, in the end, will always be performing. When you grow older you feel you have to make slightly different music, and I’d like to keep myself going in that same way.
‘I’d love to be able to surprise myself and my audience. I’d like to make music and perform for the rest of my life.
‘I will still make music because that’s what I was born to do.’
WHERE AND WHEN
Caro Emerald is performing a sold-out show at Portsmouth Guildhall on September 25. If you missed out on tickets, she returns to the area in October 2014 with shows in Bournemouth and Brighton. See caroemerald.com.