BWW Interviews: Linda Eder Returns to Sarasota with a Concert at Van Wezel
When Linda Eder takes the Van Wezel stage Thursday night, it'll be far from the first time she's played Sarasota.
"All of my memories of Sarasota are always tied to feeling like I'm on vacation.. like a resort. I've had nothing but wonderful experiences there," she told me in a recent phone interview.
"Even though I'm coming to do a show and a concert is supposed to be work, it never really feels that way. It always feels like I'm getting away from it all, like I'm coming to enjoy myself. That's always the way it's been."
Any local tried and true fan of the Broadway star and recording artist probably knows that Eder performed in a production of Svengali at Asolo Rep in 1991. She had already been a recurring champion on Star Search by that point and had sung on the concept album of Jekyll & Hyde. Since then, she's toured multiple times, cultivating an extremely loyal fanbase with her exceptional vocals. (And I mean exceptional.)
"The concert I've been doing lately is one that I've put together called Memory Lane," she explained. "I have those certain songs that I know people want to hear."
In case you're late to the Eder lovefest she's talking about songs like Vienna, Man of La Mancha, Someone Like You. Stop what you're doing immediately and watch these.
So back to her upcoming concert. Eder assures us that we'll be hearing some of our favorites in her setlist.
"I've also been putting in some songs from my past. Songs that were key for one reason or another. And I go way back... back to my first high school performance in The Sound of Music. I also have an arrangement of 'Don't Cry for Me, Argentina' that I used to sing when I was first performing in nightclubs."
The clubs she refers to are the casinos of Atlantic City early in her career. Flash forward to present day, where Eder has recorded over 25 albums, including fifteen solo recordings.
Her most recent was a holiday album, Christmas Where Are You?, and was completely self-produced. Funding her own album proved to be challenging but rewarding for the songstress.
"It made me excited about creativity again. When you work with people, you make concessions. When someone else is paying the bill, you tend to bow down. Over the years, whether it's been song choices or whatever aspect of the record, there's always an element of that. Record labels are good at making you feel like they want your involvement. And they do to a certain extent, but make no mistake. They're in charge. So this was just completely freeing."
Eder admits to having some apprehension being in the drivers seat.
"I had a few sleepless nights right before the record went on sale, wondering what the heck had I done. Will people like this? Is this going to work? They always say that life is about the journey and whatever makes you excited. And doing it this way is so much more fulfilling because you're putting yourself out there. The buck stops with you. And the fear of that is what makes it feel exciting."
Turns out that Eder had nothing to worry about. She released the album on her own website to great reviews and fan support. "Every year it's more of a coming into my own which really started with [her 2008 album] The Other Side of Me. What it does is free me up to do anything."
That sounds just perfect to us.
You can see Linda Eder at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Thursday night at 8pm.
Find out more tour dates at LindaEder.com. ------Joey Panek, HowBoutJoey.com