It’s the age-old question: would you rather be lucky or good?
As it pertains to Chanel le Meaux, the answer is an unequivocal yes…to both!
Chanel is a local singer and performer whose career has come out of the gates like Secretariat.
In scientific terms you would have to describe her rise as meteoric.
She headlines shows with her group -- The Dapper Cads, sings rockabilly with Lil’ C & The Hillbilly Boppers and was recently named lead vocalist for The Squeezettes.
That last group is gaining in popularity around these parts and is single-handedly reinvigorating the reputation of the accordion.
To call her ‘just’ a chanteuse or a ‘mere’ torch singer would only paint part of her portrait.
That would be a shame.
Her onstage attire will clearly bring you back to that bygone, albeit Golden Era when chanteuses reigned supreme.
And certainly Chanel does justice to any number of Peggy Lee (her idol) ballads.
But she also belts out covers of Aretha Franklin, The Pointer Sisters and so many more with equal aplomb.
A growing number of devotees drink in her whole show as you would a bottle of vintage wine.
Chanel’s life could have been completely different.
“It was just dumb luck,” le Meaux said in a recent interview. “This (career) was never my intent.”
Chanel was working as a marketing director at a software company and got downsized like so many others in this tough economy.
“I thought I would be working at a ‘real job,’” Chanel said. “Sometimes you have to throw that plan away and make a new plan.
“It’s more fun to see where life takes you,” she added.
Chanel always liked to sing.
Her mother remarked that she started shortly after exiting the womb.
And she would “occasionally” sing karaoke at different places.
She won a singing competition called: “Win a gig at the Red Mill!”
That meant Chanel did indeed have a gig.
Problem was she didn’t have a band to perform there with her.
So, she scrambled and got Joel Freisinger to play keys and Glenn Allen drums.
Thus, the Dapper Cads were born.
Michael Caldwell would sit in with his distinctive, sultry saxophone and “got absorbed” into the group.
In the meantime, Dave Braun has taken over the drums.
Chanel also performs a track show every month for our veterans at the VA Hospital.
There she dresses like the pin-up girls they used to paint on the planes in World War II.
Chanel got her start as the comic foil singer in the short-lived, Alley Cat Burlesque Revue.
It’s also where she adopted her stage name.
Chanel is for Coco Chanel and her sense of style. Le Meaux (often mispronounced le Mew) was evocative of the sound an alley cat makes.
She sang “Singin’ in the Rain” removing one raincoat after another (always leaving one on).
It matters little whether it was dumb luck or divine intervention, suffice it to say her fans count themselves lucky that Chanel has taken this career path.