occupation: vocalist extraordinaire
found at: Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford)
What is the one thing that has defined your life so far?
At what point in your life have you been happiest? Saddest?
I'm happiest right now. Hard to say when I've been saddest because I don't look at life in those terms, really. It's a process and there are happy and sad events that take place, but I cannot really identify a prolonged sad period of time. I've definitely had some challenging circumstances over the years, however. I simply refuse to be brought down for very long.
What's your guilty pleasure?
People Magazine. I finally reached a point when I could no longer deny it. Used to buy it off the rack. Now I'm a subscriber.
Best and worst thing about your career?
Like many freelance musicians, for most of my life I've had to have a job in order to support my career. The worst thing about my job is that it's taking up time when I could be focusing on my career, while the best thing about my job is that it allows me to keep my house. The best thing and the worst thing about my music career is that it is so unpredictable!
What is the biggest misconception people have about what you do?
That I'm a jazz singer who sings standards. I'm conservatory-trained in opera and musical theater, I play the guitar and piano, and have performed everything from folk music to Motown to Handel oratorios. In other words, I'm a musician! My current project is Bistro Blue, featuring songs from the Great French Songbook. Sometimes I perform while accompanying myself on piano, with Jeff Eyrich on upright bass — for larger venues and concerts, I incorporate a very talented Connecticut-based guitar duo, Handler & Levesque, with Jeff on bass.
Who do you most admire and look up to in your life?
Tough question. Different people for different reasons — some living, some not. The Dalai Lama is one. Eleanor of Aquitaine, Thomas Jefferson, Temple Grandin, my friend Billy's mother, Dolores. There are many more. I really try to find something to admire in everyone I meet. Not always easy to do, but it is possible.
What is the most requested song audiences ask you to perform? Which doesn't mean it's necessarily your favorite.
Probably “La Vie en Rose” (and it just happens to be one of my favorites).
Any especially memorable duets you've performed?
Years ago I performed at a benefit concert and sang a duet with Jack Lawrence, who wrote the lyrics to “Beyond the Sea,” “Tenderly,” “All or Nothing At All,” and many more well-known songs. He just passed away about a year ago so it made me think of it. Jack was well into his 80s at the time of that concert, and had more energy than some of the other performers who were half his age. He and I sang one of his songs, “The Poor People of Paris.”
If you didn't live in Connecticut, where would you be?
Probably Brighton, England or Toulouse, France. I have very good friends over there and love both of those cities.
Favorite weekend activity in the area?
Consignment/thrift/antique shops, walking around the countryside in the springtime, to name a few.
Moment you realized you were an adult?
Probably the first time someone addressed me as “ma'am,” and I turned around and realized they were talking to me. I call it the Ma'am Transition. Every woman goes through it. I was probably around 30 years old at the time.