Interview with Norm Drubner: From Mark Snow to Singing Career
(Published: July 08, 2014)
Q: Have you always wanted to be a jazz vocalist. When did the interest begin.
A: No. Approximately 3 1/2 years ago I was riding in a car with Mark Snow, who is a well-known composer for movies and TV shows (at present he writes the music for Blue Bloods and Elementary, both on CBS). At the time there was a CD playing in the car with a vocal by Chet Baker.
I began singing to the CD and Mark remarked that I had a very nice jazz voice and why don't I make a CD. I laughed and said I only sing in the shower, and that I don't play an instrument or even read music. In any event, he convinced me to give it a try.
Q: How would you describe the process of making your first album.
A: I selected a group of standards from The Great American Songbook, which somehow I knew and Mark got me together with a piano player. We had two sessions together, the second just to figure out when I would come back in the song and any music tags.
About a month later Mark drove me to Stamford, Connecticut to the Carriage House Studios. I was introduced to the musicians, the engineer, and with no rehearsal or any other preparation, I found myself in a booth with earphones. Somehow, in one day we did 10 songs and ended up with a CD called I'm Old Fashioned.
Q: How do you feel you have evolved throughout your various CDs.
A: With each succeeding CD, I have gotten a better sense for my voice and sound. Most important, because of some performance coaching that I have been receiving in New York, I am learning how to really sing the phrases and lyrics rather than just sing the notes. Hopefully, that is evident on my latest CD, Let's Fall in Love.
Q: Growing up, what artists had the greatest impact on you.
A: Chet Baker, Nat King Cole, and surprisingly, The Four Freshmen.
Q: How did you decide which songs to cover on your Let’s Fall in Love album.
A: As with all of the albums, I only perform standards from The Great American Songbook. In this particular album I wanted to include several songs that are not so familiar to everyone such as “Maybe You’ll Be There,” “The Day Isn’t Long Enough,” and “If You Were the Only Girl in the World.” I also tried to keep a good balance between upbeat songs and ballads.
Q: What performances on Let’s Fall in Love are you most proud of and why.
A: For one, “Funny Valentine.” I think it's Chet Baker’s best, and I think my phrasing and approach to this much-recorded song was special. I also thought “Where or When” was made more interesting by singing the title used but very well-written verse. Also, “Isn’t It a Lovely Day (To Be Caught in the Rain)” was a surprising favorite from the 1935 movie Top Hat. This was one of the best by Irving Berlin and Fred Astaire, and I think my rendition makes it seem very fresh and new.
More Information: http://www.normdrubner.com
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