Matt Dusk has never been known to mince words.
So why start now?
The 37-year-old Toronto jazz crooner speaks plainly about what inspired him to record his new bossa nova duets disc, Quiet Nights, with Montreal singer Florence K, released Feb. 12.
“Most of the time when people listened to this [kind of music], or at least when I did, it was ‘Bossa nova, red wine and sex,'” said Dusk, who’s already planning to record a Christmas album next.
“I mean that was always what it was. But I find singing this music with a female makes it just a little bit more intimate and romantic. And Florence is very good because she speaks Portuguese as well so it’s reminiscent of that period because the bossa nova did come from Brazil.”
We caught up with Dusk, in his usual smart suit, dress shirt and tie (courtesy of Italian brand Pal Zileri) in T.O. recently to discuss Quiet
Nights, impending fatherhood and being known as “the other guy.”
What inspired Quiet Nights?
It was the [1967 album Francis Albert Sinatra Antonio Carlos Jobim]. I’ve always loved to do those songs but the opportunity arose. My manager and I were talking about doing something different.
Do you feel jazz is on the upswing again because of the success of something like Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett’s duets collaboration?
The one thing about jazz music or say popular crooning or the American songbook is that it’s like the opera. It’s timeless. It’ll be around forever. The reach isn’t necessarily very broad. But there is a large community that supports it. So you’re never going to be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine doing jazz. Maybe you might if that year it was the flavour of the month.
Do you always feel like you’re being compared to fellow Canadian crooner Michael Bublé?
[I’m] ‘the other guy.’ That’s how I sort of describe it. The funny thing is as I get older, [I’m] less and less compared to Bublé and more and more compared to Sinatra. It’s a wonderful compliment either way.
Do you and Bublé know each other?
We do. I haven’t talked to him in about three years. But we’ve hung out for weekends a couple of times. It’s kind of like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. I think I’m more Dean. I think he’s more Frank.
When will you tour Quiet Nights?
I’m always on the road. I think we’re doing something [in Canada] in the fall because from now until June I’m in Europe and the states.
How many dates are you away on average each year?
150 to 200. It’s very interesting. In my life right now there are so many things going on at once. My father passed away two years ago and it kind of changed the dynamic of my life. And priorities shift. So I just naturally became the patriarch of my family. I’ve got a younger brother and my mom. My brother [John Michael, a Famous PEOPLE Players cast member] needs a little care so I’ve got to take care of him and my mom, I want her to be free. She spent her whole life taking care of other people. We’re now all moving in together. So we’re building a house [in Etobicoke.]
That will be some juggling act between your professional and personal life given I hear you’re expecting?
We do have a kid on the way, finally. So it’s due June 24.
Do you know the sex of the baby?
We don’t know. The funny story is that I wanted to know. Julita, that’s [my wife’s] name, she didn’t want to know. And I was like, ‘Alright. Whatever. We’ll find out.’ So then I was at a dinner with some friends and they’re like, ‘So, is it a boy or a girl?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know.’ My friend goes, ‘Well, you have to know. Trust me I’m a parent. You got to get the room painted. Just don’t be a d-k – find out.’ And I said, ‘Okay, you know what? I don’t want to know.’ Listen, what’s another four months?
Do you have any guesses?
We both think it’s a boy but I’d be just as happy to have a girl. I don’t care.
And if he or she chose to follow in your footsteps?
Well, there’s a funny picture of the ultrasound and it’s like this [puts hand up to his mouth like holding something]. And I said, ‘Well, either they have a bottle of whiskey or a microphone!’
Will you ever get married?
It’s funny, my wife – well I call her my wife – we’ve been together for ten years, but all of her cousins on her family’s side, her brothers and sisters, nobody’s married and everyone has kids. So I can’t get married!
What does she do?
She used to be like [a spa] manager so she went on her own finally. It’s opening in March and it’s called Cedar House Spa in Etobicoke.