Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Songs I Love to Sing: I'd Rather Be Blue

I'd Rather Be Blue was written by composers Fred Fisher & Irving Berlin with lyrics by Billy Rose. It came out of Tin Pan Alley being published 1928. It is just one of those great songs with personality, a catchy tune, and clever lyrics. I love this era of music. This particular song was recorded by Fanny Bryce. I first heard it in the movie, Funny Girl, where Barbra Streisand played Miss Bryce. (It is the famous roller skating scene.) My family have always been huge fans of Barbra Streisand and her version was a regular staple in our home. Barbra has a way of putting her stamp on every song she sings, so when one sings a song she has recorded it can be a challenge to the listeners to accept another artist covering the song and for the artist to put their own stamp on it. This recording was for my dad on his birthday this year because he is one of the most devoted Barbra Streisand fans I know! I felt I could put my own spin on it, but still have some "Barbra-isms" to make him laugh. This song is probably okay to do in an audition or for a concert, though usually I would stay away from songs that Barbra has done. I definitely would stay away from her signature song, also from Funny Girl, People. I am always impressed when an artist can take a song that is so well known by an another artist, and make it all their own. Wouldn't that be a fun challenge to choose songs based in that idea and just completely do your own arrangements? hmmmm....I am always up for a challenge. But, for now enjoy this bright, and fun little ditty that hopefully will bring a smile to your face and spring to your step.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Songs I Love to Sing: I Won't Mind

Sometimes there are songs that one comes across that not only resonates, but seem to fit like a glove. "I Won't Mind" is one of those songs for me. As you may recall in the very first post on this blog I shared how I lost my ability to sing for a time due to a traumatic event involving the death of my brother. During my vocal and emotional recovery I still continued to do musical theater and I had to rely heavily on my acting talents to get through this time. As I slowly regained my vocal abilities, and technique, the connection I was able to make with songs and the capability to interpret them in the same vein as a monologue stayed with me. I still constantly strive to perfect my vocal proficiency and how I convey a song to an audience. But, with material like "I Won't Mind", which is structured as a monologue set to music, it is ideal for a performer like me.

The song was written by Jeff Blumenkrantz for an unfinished musical, The Other Franklin. It was to be about the relationship of Benjamin Franklin with his son, William, around the time of the American Revolution. This song is sung by William's wife, Elizabeth, who was never able to have children of her own. She sings it to her godson in his nursery while everyone else is the next room celebrating the christening. The Other Franklin is an abandoned project that will never be produced, but this song (fortunately for us) was recorded by Audra McDonald on her album, How Glory Goes. She also sings it regularly in her concerts. Through her album I was introduced to the song and it will now be one I sing for auditions and in performance as long as I am able. I love it...enjoy!