I am pleased to announce that Ultra-Vybe, Inc. will be distributing The Nearness of You and I’m in Heaven Tonight in Japan.
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“The Nearness of You” will be available for sale on CD Baby for $5, starting Thanksgiving week through January 7th (Orthodox Christmas). I hope you will take this opportunity to add my debut CD to your collection or give the CD as a gift to a friend or relative.
Starting now through September 26th, I will be running an “I’m in Heaven Tonight” CD giveaway contest on my Facebook page. For more information and to enter your response for a chance to win a free CD, please visit my Facebook page:
Well, I have to admit this is not recent news, but between the gigs I did this summer and the kids I didn’t get a chance to do this earlier…
In June the New York Times published, “Cabaret: Precarious but Resilient,” by Stephen Holden. The article was in effect the cabaret version of last year’s “Can Jazz Be Saved?” by Terry Teachout, published in the Wall Street Journal. While one can never predict the future, I hope that the venues, which Holden mentions in his article (Carlyle, Feinstein’s), will still welcome standards singers and performers who give intimate, lyrically-focused performances, when I’m older. Obviously, I have my own selfish reasons. However, I feel strongly about standards as our cultural history, and I think that there need to be venues in which standards continue to be performed live. I also feel very strongly about the craft of what could best be described as “cabaret” performance, and believe that there should be a place for this tradition as well, particularly as an alternative to the fireworks/acrobats/dancers spectacle of stadium shows and the vacant stare/closed eyes throughout gig routine that you see with some musicians. I like to be optimistic that this will come to pass, although I am very aware of what the challenges are. I envision a future in which venues such as the Carlyle and Feinstein’s become showplaces for whomever is the nostalgia/cool alt act for the current generation of 60-, 70-, and 80-somethings. When I’m an old lady, I imagine acts like Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, and Wilco will be playing these rooms. Here’s hoping I’m wrong!!
During the previous month, May, I came across a Yahoo! Music blog post concerning the Sinatra-themed episode of the latest season of American Idol. I don’t watch American Idol, so my comments refer only to the blog post and the corresponding comments. The blogger commented that forcing the contestants into a big band format for this episode did not allow the contestants to sound “current and relevant” and did not allow them to interpret the music in their own style. With all due respect to Harry Connick, Jr., who I think is super cool, I wouldn’t doubt that this was the case. I love the big band sound and I would love to make a big band record, but I do think that the big band sound with reference to standards is sooooooooooooo cliche. There’s no faster way to date this music than to force it into the “big band” box. I know that there are people out there who only want to hear standards this way, but it pains me to think of all the potential listeners who were lost, because they get the impression that the only way to sing a standard is with a big band.
The following comments regarding this blog post were simultaneously enlightening, comical, and depressing to this standards singer. The comments which elicited the most guffaws were the “the copyrights for those songs would be cheaper than for a hit single written in the last five years” and “frankly its just easier to sing older sings that are probably in the public domain” comments. Lower royalties for older songs!?!? Older songs are automatically in the public domain!?!? When I first read these comments, I couldn’t believe how ignorant these people are about the music business. I’ve since lessened my criticism, because I realize that if I wasn’t a standards singer, I probably wouldn’t know that you have to pay royalties to record/publicly perform this music, and that the cost is the same for “California Gurls” as it is for “Our Love is Here to Stay.”
The comments which elicited the most groans were the “Who knows Sinatra songs besides the older generation(no offense)” and “Why not let them sing more current songs so even the audience can reconize the material” comments. Ugh. Ours will probably never be a culture which appreciates art for its intrinsic historic and artistic value, so I know its not even worth thinking about. Ours is a commoditized, commercialized culture with, as I once heard Aretha Franklin say, an “emphasis on youth.” One could make the cynical argument that this American Idol episode was not about how wonderful the songs are or how great Frank Sinatra was, but was in fact just one big commercial for Harry Connick Jr.’s shows on Broadway this past summer. That said, given that there have been other standards/big band episodes during previous seasons of American Idol, there has to be some interest in this genre. If truly no one was watching these episodes, I just don’t think they would repeat this theme. Also, this is a family program, and this music is appropriate for that kind of audience, since it is not lewd.
Thankfully, there were scattered comments in support of this music throughout the posts, such as “If you can sing Sinatra then you’ve got real talent.” My favorite though was “Just like Kelly Clarkson in season one…if you can sing big band…you CAN sing!” To which I say a simple Amen!!
www.sarahdeleo.com has been updated with a new design.
I hope you find it easier, and more pleasing, to view than the prior incarnation.
Pursuing a career in the music business isn’t easy, particularly in a specialty market like standards/jazz. I’m heartened, and blessed, to have the support of so many people, including the Barcelona radio dj Antonio Narvaez Dupuy. In the month of June Antonio did two radio programs featuring my music. On June 14th he played music from my two CDs, The Nearness of You and I’m in Heaven Tonight, during the first hour of his Bona Tarda Noctambuls broadcast. Then, he found out that the following week, June 21st, was my birthday, so he did a special broadcast highlighting singers who influened me – Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Janis Siegel, Sarah Vaughan – and those who I sound much like – Peggy Lee, Julie London – while also playing a few tracks from my recordings. Thanks to Antonio, and all of you. Please listen and enjoy the following podcasts:
Recently, I had the good fortune to reconnect with a grammar school friend, now known in the blogosphere as “Wisconsin Mommy.” She recounts our very 21st Century reunion and a story from our childhood in this recent post to her blog.
I am excited to announce that I have been selected to compete in WNYC’s Battle of the Boroughs: Manhattan Throwdown on Friday, April 2nd. I will be singing “Rockin’ Robin” from my latest CD, I’m in Heaven Tonight.
The event will take place in front of a live studio audience at The Greene Space [44 Charlton Street (on the corner of Charlton and Varick), New York City], and will also be presented as a live video webcast online at www.thegreenespace.org. There are ten (10) acts representing the borough of Manhattan. The in-house audience will vote for their favorite act, and then the top five choices will advance to an online voting round.
Last week I’m in Heaven Tonight received a lovely review on italia.allaboutjazz.com. With the help of the trumpeter on this project, Fabio Morgera, I have translated this review.
I´m in Heaven Tonight
Sarah DeLeo | Autoprodotto (2009)
di Vittorio Lo Conte
Sarah DeLeo is a true surprise, now with her second recording she introduces a mix of modern songs (“Let It Rain” of Patricia Barber) and classics. Her voice is stainless, like one of the great white female singers (like Peggy Lee or Lena Horne) and she’s also accompanied by our own Fabio Morgera. The album is produced with much skill, some songs are accompanied by organ and others by the piano, succeeds in creating moving atmospheres, as an example “No Moon at All,” one of the better moments of the album, with the organ which emphasizes the nocturnal atmosphere, or “Let It Rain,” with the piano of David Cook.
From her web site we learn that she is currently pregnant and will be taking some time off. When she returns to the scene we will again listen to her gladly. These are not times of great orchestras and great singers anymore, nevertheless such a voice is able to attract the attention of listeners even today, because it is extraordinarily communicative.