Anaïs Patterson – model, opera singer, cabaret performer, and choir teacher of students at Holy Cross, De La Salle and St. George’s Episcopal schools – has a stage presence that is hard to forget. Whether Patterson is dressed in a costume, high fashion or slinky cabaret attire, she commands the stage.
Raised in New Orleans by a single mother, a social worker, Patterson has music in her DNA: Her father is jazz saxophonist Marion Brown. After she earned a degree in vocal performance from Xavier University, she received a master’s degree in voice from the
University of New Orleans. A mezzo-soprano who started out in opera, three years ago Patterson braved the world of cabaret, encouraged by pianist/composer/producer Harry Mayronne Jr. and Le Chat Noir’s Barbara Motley. She performs her cabaret show on Friday nights at King Bolden’s (where this photo was taken). She also performs at Monkey Hill, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and Le Chat Noir. More recently she teamed up with Chris Rose and Red Bean in “The A**hole Monologues,” playing the bemused “straight man” to their funny guys.
Name: Anaïs Patterson Age: 32 Born: New Orleans Resides: Uptown Favorite food: Anything with shrimp in it Favorite book: Right now, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez Favorite movie: “Grease”
Obviously you like to perform – what attracts you to the stage? Cabaret is more like an intimate look inside a performer’s mind. We share our feelings through songs, and the audience feels connected. Lyrics are very important. Opera – while I love all the roles I’ve sung – is all about technique. I never learned about acting or interpretation.
Does costuming help you get into character? I can get into a character without using costuming, but I love to costume. I have an entire closet for costumes. My birthday is around Halloween, so I’ve always liked to dress up.
Did you enjoy being in “The A**hole Monologues”? I had seen the show before, so I knew what I was getting into. I liked being part of it because it made me step outside of what I normally do.
What do you think of “American Idol”? Would you participate in it? My type of singing is not what they are looking for. (However,) I think it’s a good idea because it gives talented singers a showcase where they can be seen, when they didn’t have one before.
What singer or composer would you like to have met or to meet? Leontyne Price. She was one of the first black opera stars. I love her voice, as I do Ella Fitzgerald and Eva Cassidy. I also like Irish folk singer Loreena McKennitt.
Songs you like to sing? “Habanera” from Bizet’s opera “Carmen”; “St. Louis Blues” by W.C. Handy; “Everybody’s Girl” by Kander and Ebb (from “Steel Pier”), and
“Love for Sale” by Cole Porter.
Do you do anything special for your voice? The best thing is rest. No smoking. No heavy drinking of alcohol. And I avoid excessive talking before I perform.
What do you sing in the shower? Just vocal warmups.
I see an engagement ring on your finger. Who’s the lucky man? My fiancé is artist Marco St. John. He has been so supportive and has given me the encouragement to go ahead and do everything.
True confession: I have never been to Paris and I have a weird obsession about going there. I would love to live and perform there .