POP INTERVIEW: Jazz Singer/Music Producer Steve Tyrell

Steve Tyrell is everywhere you look! He performed on screen in both installments of Father of the Bride. He helped produce the 1969 Oscar-winning song, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” the Mystic Pizza soundtrack and songs for Dolly Parton, Bette Midler, Mary J. Blige, Ray Charles and Diana Ross. One thing you won’t catch this record producer/singer turning up the Ke$ha button on his Autotune and dance tracks on himself when you see him live at the Carlyle Hotel throughout 2014.


Is being a music producer anything like being a movie director?
Yes, record producing parallels movie directing in many ways. Since there is no such title as director of a record, the record producer is responsible for many of the artistic decisions involved in making a record. It is also, and most importantly, the record producer’s responsibility to try and obtain the best performances possible from the artists, musicians and sound engineers involved.

What is most fun: producing and songwriting behind the scenes…or performing?
These are two different jobs that are both fun and rewarding. When you walk into a recording studio, there is nothing between the speakers. And when you leave, you have created a body of music that could last forever. Performing is a privilege that not everyone is lucky enough to experience. I am always thankful that I have had the good fortune of performing on stages all over the world and experiencing the sensation of performing before a “live” audience. Every night and every show is different.

When you performed last year, The New York Times said, “Mr. Tyrell sounds nothing like Dean Martin, but he has vestiges of the same blasé attitude.” What do you think you sing like?
I don’t consider myself a great technical singer with a beautiful sound. I just the sing the songs from my heart.

Why do you like performing at The Carlysle?
It is a legendary place and probably the most famous “night club” in the world. When I was asked to take over the holiday season nine years ago for the legendary Bobby Short, I was thrilled to have been offered that opportunity, and I still am.

Is the space more intimate than other venues?
Yes, the Cafe Carlyle is like singing in someone’s living room – a person’s home who has a whole lot of money!

You are known for singing “The Way You Look Tonight.” Am I right if I feel the song has some sadness to it?
I don’t think so. Dorothy Field’s beautiful lyric captures a feeling of joy and appreciation for the moment she’s in. I believe it loves what it’s seeing and never wants to forget the experience: “Someday, when I’m awfully low, and the world is cold, I will feel a glow just thinking of you and the way you look tonight.”

Glee covered that song. Is this the best way to introduce standards to younger generations?
Any way is a good way if the messenger is conveying the song to a generation that has never heard it, i.e. Michael Bublé, Rod Stewart, as well as Glee and American Idol, etc. These great standards have been around 50 to 70 years and will stay around forever if people continue to expose them to new generations.

You have worked with truly amazing ballad and pop artists. When you switch over to someone from a different genre, like Mary J. Blogs, what do you change?
Nothing really in that capacity. I am serving as a record producer, and just like the director, I’m trying to get the best performance I can from Mary J., or anyone for that matter. Great artist like Mary J. Blige have instincts that can take a song to another level, so most of the time I just try and stay out of the way.

When you aren’t listening to jazz, what do you like?
Bruno Mars, I think he is the real deal. John Mayer. I loved Adele’s album, and the song she wrote for Skyfall. Ray Charles, The Eagles, James Taylor, Rod Stewart, Michael McDonald, James Ingram, Aretha Franklin, are amongst my homies that I have always listened to.

Nicole Russin aka. Richárde

Nicole Russin, also known as her alter ego Richárde, is a bestselling chef, experienced print journalist and beauty/editorial model. You may visit her official website at NicoleRussin.com.

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