BWW Interviews: Eden Espinosa on Her Debut Album LOOK AROUND; Release Party Set for Tonight
Wicked and Brooklyn star Eden Espinosa is hosting a CD Release Party tonight, December 17 for her debut album, Look Around --- available December 18 on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and EdenEspinosa.com. Joining Eden and her band at Dim Mak Studios in Hollywood, CA will be: Tracie Thoms, Ty Taylor, Sarah Mears, Stefanie Sidler and Paul David. Eden brings an innovative and deeply personal interpretation to some modern Broadway hits. Working with her production team, she has endeavored to create a sound that is accessible to both die-hard Broadway fans and pop music listeners alike. The rich organic soundscape, developed by producer Joseph Abate, is a testament to the beauty and depth that can be achieved by coupling quality musicians with artful recording technique. I had the chance to catch up with Eden prior to the CD Release Party - here are some excerpts from that interview.
DG: You've waited quite a while to release a CD. Why did you wait so long?
EE: Part of the reason why - I guess, in hindsight -- I guess fear was part of the equation. But I also just sort of felt that I didn't have anything to say yet -- or I didn't have a stamp to put on anything yet. And I wanted it to truly come from me and my artistic interpretation of things -- and that didn't really come to fruition until I started working with this producer - who happens to be my husband, (She laughs) So, it just didn't feel right until recently.
DG: Was there a particular inspiration for this CD?
EE: It was just really owning the fact that what I do for a living is cool to me and interpreting other people's music is kind of a strength that I have found in myself and so it was just really melding the two sides of myself - the musical theatre side but also loving the pop side - and kind of just bringing them together. Just coming up with new interpretations of modern Broadway songs that we all know and love and giving the Broadway fans a new perspective on songs that they know and also hoping to bring people who may or may not love the Broadway sound into - you know, if they hear this version and say "that's from a Broadway Show, that's kinda cool" and check out these shows that they may or may not know. It's just modern Broadway tunes with a new perspective.
DG: Do you have a particular favorite song on this CD?
EE: You know, it's so funny. My friend just asked me that last night and I - it depends on the day. (She laughs) I'm so in love with these arrangements and kind of the new life that's been breathed into these songs. A few favorites would be "I Miss The Mountains" from Next To Normal, "One Song Glory" from Rent, and probably this original song called "Stone Cold Sober". Those three are stand outs to me - but I love them all.
DG: What was your process of selecting the songs for this CD?
EE: You know, we've been whittling down songs for over a year. We started just making play lists on I-tunes and there were probably close to 200 songs and then we would just whittle them down. Originally there were going to be some pop covers on this album as well and we decided just to make it a Broadway album. So we started whittling songs, whittling songs, more and more and more and it just came down to these nine songs. It was actually just eight songs but at the last minute we added my friend Ty Taylor's song, "Stone Cold Sober". It's been a long process of - you know, finding ones that really spoke to me and I felt really connected to the lyrics and the music.
DG: So, how long have you been working on this?
EE: Overall? Well, I first started talking about doing an album - probably four years ago. And it's really taken me this long to feel, you know - but when we decided on this project, it's been about a year. I played a Cabaret Festival in Adelaide, Australia in June and so we basically played the album there live and that was my concert - kind of like my out of town tryout. And so, we've been working with these arrangements since probably May and we started recording in late August, early September and here we are today.
DG: What does this album say about you?
EE: The sound that was created for this album is very much an expression of not only the producer and the arranger, but me as well. I love the sound of the album - the instrumentation - it's very organic. It's my interpretation and my expression of these songs. It also says on another level that Broadway artists also have other sides of artistic expression rather than just on the stage, you know? I think sometimes we get pigeon-holed, especially when we do concerts or cabaret, that it's just a piano and its got to be a theatre sound - but a lot of us have another side to us and other ways that we like to express ourselves - vocally and artistically - and I think that's what this album is for me.
DG: You're doing a Release Party Monday in LA - what have you got in store?
EE: We have SO MUCH in store - it's going to be an amazing time. We have the fabulous Tracie Thoms as my special guest. She'll be providing some entertainment at the top of the evening. I'm going to sing the entire album with the musicians that recorded it - they're all New York based musicians that are coming out especially for this evening, Ty Taylor will be sitting in and playing on the song he wrote with me. Just a fun night of great food and drinks and great music - it's going to be a great party, I'm really excited.
DG: Is there any song that you wished you had put on the CD that you didn't?
EE: Ummm ... no. I think every track on this CD - I don't have any regret of "I wish I would have out that song on this album". I don't have one that I wish was on here that isn't.
DG: What's next for you?
EE: We've been so consumed with this project and making it exactly what we wanted it to be - when an audition comes up, I go on the audition but there's nothing set in the future - hopefully I can do some touring and some concerts with this music. But, I'm just happy to finally get this album out and happy to se what the New Year brings me.
DG: Tell me something people don't know about you from reading your resume.
EE: Oh, gosh. Let's see. Directly from my career?
DG: Or not. Just something that your resume doesn't show.
EE: Ok. Let me think, That's a hard one. Gosh. This is hard. Let me see. I don't know. I tend to be a very open book - sometimes to a fault - so I feel like I'm very forthcoming with the fact that I'm a nerd and I'm kind of socially awkward sometimes. (She laughs). I guess the fact that I'm much more sensitive than people would think. I mean, I guess maybe that. I think people think "she's pretty tough and really confident and she really has it together" and I really don't. (She laughs). It's something that I work on every day. To be confident and together - but I have to work at it.
DG: So, who is your favorite singer?
EE: It's kind of a tie - I'd say Eva Cassidy is one of my favorite singers. Celine Dion is another. They are my heroes.
DG: Christmas is almost here. What are you doing for Christmas?
EE: Well, both my husband and I are from Southern California - so we're going to be spending the holidays with our families. But two things I am most looking forward to between Christmas and New Years - my annual visit to Disneyland during Christmastime. I'm such a Disney girl. I grew up going to Disneyland and I worked there for many years and I'm such a nerd about it. Christmastime at Disneyland is my most favorite. And some friends are going to Big Bear for the New Year so we're going to rent a cabin and play in the snow and have some fun.
The entire playlist of LOOK AROUND follows:
1 - I'm Not That Girl, Wicked
2 - Stone Cold Sober, The Existents
3 - Petrified, Taboo
4 - I Know The Truth, Aida
5 - I Miss The Mountains, Next To Normal
6- With You, Ghost
7 - Once Upon A Time, Brooklyn
8 - One Song Glory, Rent
9 - Look Around, Will Rogers Follies
There is still time to join Eden at her Release Party on December 17. For further information visit: www.edenespinosa.com.