LAURINBURG — For one little girl, childhood trips to visit family in Wagram would one day provide a backdrop to a final gesture of love for her grandmother — though she never imagined she would make that gesture in the role of a professional jazz singer.
Performing in Scotland County for the third time on Friday at the Storytelling and Arts Center of the Southeast, Eve Fleishman sang several pieces of her own composition — both new and from her album “Peace or Drama” — as well as a handful of jazz standards.
Of the intimate group of some 35 listeners, about half had heard Fleishman before.
“Her music is just warm and appealing and I thoroughly enjoy it,” said Mary Mack Zeigler of Laurinburg.
“She’s very creative in her artistic endeavors,” added Bonnie Glenn. ” She’s just quite pleasant to listen to.”
Fleishman, who now lives in San Francisco, made her local debut in 2006 at Montpelier Presbyterian Church in Wagram after years of requests from her grandmother, Lillian Buie.
“She always wanted me to come and perform a concert for her friends — which she called her buddycakes — and she kept asking me to come and it was sort of out of the way,” said Fleishman.
Buie’s death came shortly after that concert as Fleishman prepared to return to her home in Nashville, Tenn.
“It was kind of like her sendoff to me,” said Fleishman. “I feel like she got me here to sing and celebrate her leaving.”
Born in North Carolina, Fleishman grew up from the age of four in Gainesville, Fla., and she discovered a love of jazz while in college at Florida State University, where she also found a formal outlet for her singing talent in the school’s jazz pop ensemble.
“At the time it was the early 90s so Harry Connick, Jr. was becoming really popular then and he would sing all of those old jazz songs and the soundtrack to When Harry Met Sally,” she said. “That’s when I started falling in love with those really old songs.”
She began to study music in 2003 at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. and from there moved to Nashville, where she remained true to her passion for jazz.
“People always ask me if I do country music and I really don’t,” she said. “I went there because at Berklee they open your eyes to the fact that Nashville is kind of an international center for musicians, and especially for songwriters. There are world-class musicians there because that’s where the work is.”
Drawing her songwriting inspiration from nature as well as from books, films, and art, Fleishman said that her first concert in Wagram was the indicator that she had found her calling.
“I remember thinking after I finished performing, if I die tomorrow, I would feel satisfied with my life — like I had done something important,” she said. “I think giving the gift of music to people is at the heart of me. Living the life of a musician is not always easy, but it’s something I feel compelled to do.”