Meet the Band: LiLi Roquelin (vocals, piano)
The French Connection: Singer-songwriter LiLi Roquelin was born in France and played in a few pop-rock bands there before she moved to Northeast Ohio in 2002. While at Kent State, she met the guys in the hard-rock group Hate Dies Hard and joined the band as a vocalist. "My interest in music originally comes from my father," she says. "He's a guitar player and he taught me singing by ear. I started writing poems and lyrics when I was 12." After moving to New York in 2007, she started to take piano lessons and would eventually launch a solo career there.
Solo Sessions: Her first solo EP came out in 2008; the self-titled album featured "I Saw You," a trip-hop tune she wrote with Sean Bilovecky from the local hard-rock ensemble Disengage. The music video even won a few prizes at regional film festivals. In 2010, she released her first full-length, Will you hate the rest of the world or will you renew your life?, then followed it up two years ago with Beautiful Sun.
Why You Should Hear Her: Much like Tori Amos or Ingrid Michaelson, Roquelin plays pop music with an experimental edge. The title track is a sparse number that puts her quivering voice up front in the mix and sounds a bit like Bjork. "Bliss of My Soul" sounds like a more contemporary Joni Mitchell tune. "My music is generally pop rock," she says. "I think my lyrics are mostly emotional in terms of the message I try to put out through the songs. In terms of sound, I do like to mix ethereal vocal styles. I arrange everything on the record. It was a big challenge to direct all the ideas." Other songs such as "Try to Remember" have a mellow, Portishead-like feel to them. "I have this chill-out kind of vibe that goes with the inspirational song," she says. "I find strings compliment the emotion. I have some more aggressive tracks on there too. From having been with a rock band and working with Sean Bilovecky, I still have some of the alternative sound of Cleveland with me."
Where You Can Hear Her: liliroquelin.com.
Where You Can See Her: LiLi Roquelin performs at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 13, at Brothers Lounge.