LiLi Roquelin’s career came about as a mix of nature and nurture.
Raised in the French Riviera, she learned about music from her dad, a multi-instrumentalist who is also a fan of British rock bands like the Beatles. When she formed a band in school and performed on stage, her path was set.
From France, she moved to Cleveland, getting involved with local bands like Phizzy Lager and Hate Dies Hard. Those experiences gave her the confidence to pursue her own solo work.
“I really proved to myself that I had more skills then I thought I did. That was very encouraging,” she said.
Five years ago, she moved to Astoria and launched her career.
“I’m not leaving Astoria. I take part in some live music events they have once in a while. I like the community feel of these events when they do them,” Roquelin said.
The neighborhood has played a large role in the creation and promotion of her latest album, “Beautiful Sun,” which came out in 2012. Roquelin started the project by recording demos in her home studio. From there, she brought them to different studios in the City and had musicians track down what she had composed. Once all the pieces were assembled, mixing engineer Marc Urselli (Eric Clapton) put all the elements together.
The result is a cohesive album that radiates with strong, catchy melodies, both instrumentally and vocally. The music moves from jazz to rock to minor key pop, with her voice guiding the various styles along. Unlike the electronic components of her past work, Roquelin wanted “Beautiful Sun” to be more natural.
“My piano playing has evolved as well as my singing. I used more real instruments on the tracks as opposed to the two previous solo works, which were much more electronic,” she said. “I felt the songs were so special. I’m really, really proud of this album.”
Astoria Park is now being used as a backdrop for the music video for “The Only One.” This one-shot piece has Roquelin walking down a path while various men that she does not know appear around her. At the end of the video, the guy she runs into turns out to be ‘The One.’
“I had originally written this draft for my friend’s wedding. It’d been five years and he still hadn’t proposed to her. I took the song and made it a rock song. I changed the verses and made it a little darker,” she said. “When I released the album, two weeks later, he proposed to her.”
The video for “The Only One” will premiere on Nov. 21.
“Beautiful Sun” is now available through all major retailers. For more information about Roquelin and future tour dates, visit www.liliroquelin.com.