Interview: Orfeh Is Making Her Long-Awaited Café Carlyle Debut

Catch the acclaimed singer-songwriter at the historic Carlyle Hotel for three shows only on March 21, 22 and 23

By: Mar. 19, 2024
Interview: Orfeh Is Making Her Long-Awaited Café Carlyle Debut
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Acclaimed singer-songwriter Orfeh is making her Café Carlyle debut this week, with a residency that runs March 21, 22, and 23. Orfeh will be singing “the music of divas that influenced her life, career and singular voice.” This will be Orfeh’s most intimate concert yet, in the historic Café Carlyle on 35 East 76th Street at Madison Avenue. You won’t want to miss seeing this iconic singer, whose career traverse both the top Billboard hit charts, Broadway stardom (with shows like Legally Blonde), and film and TV (guest roles in Sex and the City, Chappelle’s Show). We spoke about the upcoming show and a taste of what Orfeh's fans can expect from it.

How does it feel preparing for your upcoming debut residency at Café Carlyle? 

We are having the most wonderful time curating a very specific and special show for our Café Carlyle debut! As a born and raised New Yorker, this just feels like a rite of passage that’s been a long time coming, and my MD, Steven Jamail, and band/singers, including Nikki Kimbrough, Tim Kodres, Jeremy Yaddaw & Colin Dean and I have put together a show (along with our long time director, Charles Randolph Wright) that we’re really looking forward to bringing to the hallowed stage at Café Carlyle. 

In your residency, you'll be singing the music of some of the divas who inspired you. Where did the idea for this show come from?

I most certainly will be bringing you some of my favorite singers along with some of the favorite songs that they are known for … I wanted to throw it back to a time where singers really sang… And it’s not just the fab divas. There are some surprise songs that we haven’t done before at all that are just some of our favorites that we do amongst ourselves when we’re road tripping and having some good times on our own and we decided, well, why not put this in the concert and I think everyone’s going to be pleasantly surprised. Our logic is always if we love the songs the audience will as well hopefully the passion and joy is infectious.

How does it feel looking back at the singers who inspired you when you were younger and thinking about singing them now, as a veritable diva yourself?

Well, that’s very kind of you to say. I’m honored to be thought of in that way, and I am one of those people who never forgets who my “teachers” were, who my inspirations were and every concert I do, there are always artists (past, present & hopefully, future) whom I’m going to pay homage to! The voices, and the artists that informed who I am as an artist, respecting them is very important to me.

When you were listening to some of these songs for the first time, did you ever imagine you would get to the place you are now?

I knew that singing was in my blood from a VERY young age… it kept me alive as a child … I didn’t quite know what that looked like, but I certainly always wanted to be a singer/popstar, so I dreamed and then I worked really hard. I guess that was a pretty good combination. [laughs]

What was the process like of putting together the set list for this show? I imagine there were a LOT of great numbers to choose from!

You know, we’re very cognizant of the space we are in with every concert we do and we’ve been doing this a very long time… We take space and seating and stage and the sound of the space into consideration and then we go from there … when you’re at Café Carlyle, there will definitely be a different set and different choices than if you’re at a less intimate venue; you have to read the room literally and figuratively, so that informs what our set list will be each and every time. We base our set list decisions first and foremost on what we think and audience will love. 

Who, or what, have you been listening to recently?

Oh, I listen to everything new, not so new et cetera... I’m very up on brand new artists. I am still lucky enough to be a Grammy nominator and voter so I am privy to a lot of artists that may not be mainstream yet and I’m pretty good at predicting who gets there… I still have my true favorites like Craig David, Prince, Whitney... I have a spinning instructor who is absolutely obsessed with Taylor Swift, so I’m very well-versed in her catalog nowadays and you know now and again, I feel like I need to listen to some Tom Jones and Karen Carpenter too. It’s very eclectic but good music is good music and that’s what it comes down to!

Tickets to Orfeh’s Café Carlyle debut are available online via Tock. General seating is $130 per person. Premium Seating is $180 per person. Bar seating is $100 per person.

Café Carlyle is located in The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel (35 East 76th Street, at Madison Avenue).

For more information and updates on these exciting events, follow Café Carlyle on Instagram @cafecarlyle and Facebook.