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BWW Interview: Dawn Derow Releases WHITE CHRISTMAS Single and Video

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Though part of a bigger project, Dawn's new single was perfect to release right now.

BWW Interview: Dawn Derow Releases WHITE CHRISTMAS Single and Video Dawn Derow is no stranger to hard work. She is, in fact, one of those people who love the work, which is why she has spent her time in 2020 keeping active online and in person with some concerts that have not only kept her happy, they've kept her connected to her fans. Her new single and video are part of a 2021 album that stems out of a theme show she started in 2017, and even though the album isn't a holiday cd, this track is something Derow felt was necessary at this time in our lives.

I reached out to Dawn to ask about her ongoing projects, her new single, and her passion for artists supporting each other through sharing and caring.

This interview was conducted digitally and is reproduced here without edit.

Dawn Derow, welcome back to Broadway World. You and I chatted at the start of the shelter in place order - how've you been these last few months?

Hi Stephen! Overall, I'm doing pretty well. For the first time in 20 years, I have given up my NYC address and moved up to the country to North Salem, NY. It's about an hour drive from the Upper West Side. I am now a suburban resident with a very big back yard. Honestly, it's a beautiful place to be quarantined, and my dog Maddie loves it as well!


You certainly didn't waste your time in quarantine, did you? How many online shows did you produce this year?

Let's see, I did four of them in the spring for Tin Pan Alley, one of Provincetown's famous piano bars. I assisted and co-hosted two vocal master classes with my longtime friend and Broadway star N'Kenge before summer. On October 3rd, we hosted a backyard musical event that was streamed on Facebook. You can find a couple of these performances on my YouTube channel as well.


You also had the good fortune to be able to perform live a few times - how's the world of live performing during social distancing?

BWW Interview: Dawn Derow Releases WHITE CHRISTMAS Single and Video Few and far between! It breaks my heart knowing so many of us have lost tons of gigs, not only for the income but the absence of a live audience is soul-crushing.

Before quarantine, I had really built up some serious momentum. I had my own shows booked and was also invited by many others in the community to join their lineups as a guest singer. I miss that connectivity and collaboration with my fellow artists.

During quarantine, I had two Cape Cod gigs that I was lucky to keep. One took place in July in my hometown of Eastham for about 300 people. It was held outside on the lawn of the Windmill Green, you can watch it on my YouTube channel. On October 17th, I went back to the Cape for a gig with the same group of musicians from July at the Cultural Center. This was an indoor event, so instead of the standard 150-person audience, we had only 35, audience members. I sang behind what looked like a clear shower curtain.

As I mentioned, October 3rd was a very special event. I collaborated with Peter Calo and Lauren Fox to create a new show called "Backyard Troubadours". My partner John Williams and I hosted this at our home in our backyard. We had exactly 48 people, just under the COVID-19 cut off of 50 people max. The show will be up on my YouTube channel soon, so make sure to subscribe now! It's all about celebrating the music and artists who debuted or famously got their start at West Hollywood's infamous venue, The Troubadour. I gotta say, this show was hot! Lauren and I sang lead along with Peter Calo, who also played guitar. We also had Jeff Eyrich on bass and Todd Isler on drums. I have a good feeling this show will be back when the weather warms up again.


You are a health and fitness instructor - did you take your coaching career online, too?

Yes, thank god! I lost a couple of clients who didn't want to continue working online. But for the most part, my clients didn't miss a beat, jumping right into FaceTime or Zoom sessions. I've also put together a few new videos highlighting different exercises and movements for the body. My next video, which will be out soon, is called "Foot Functionality." It's all about foot mobility, ankle flexibility and strengthening the muscles under your feet for better stability.

In addition, I started a weekly stretch class as well. We have about 9 people that show up every Sunday and now also on Wednesdays. Even Sidney Meyer takes class! These are clients I have met from a couple of different places. They tune in from Boston, Brooklyn, Cape Cod, and Manhattan. I charge $12 a person to jump in and get mobile, so if you are interested please email Me at dawnderow@yahoo.com.


Your most recent work is a video of you singing some Christmas music that will be released as a download. What brought this new release into the light?

White Christmas is part of a larger project coming out next year. My Ship: Songs from 1941 is the one-woman show I started in 2017, for which I won the "Best Female Vocalist" award from MAC in 2018. My director Jeff Harnar also won "Best Director" for both the Bistro Awards & MAC in 2018 as well. I hear he's nominated for a BroadwayWorld award this year! I missed the deadline for submitting otherwise I would have put My Ship: Songs from 1941 in for Best Show. It's had much out of town success and this show keeps on sailing smoothly.


Why did you pick White Christmas for your holiday release?

It was written in 1940 by Irving Berlin, making the song 80 years old this year. But Bing Crosby first performed it on the Kraft Music Hall Radio show in 1941. This original recording was either lost or taped over. The performance occurred only 18 days after the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. After that, World War II soldiers would holler and beg for Bing Crosby to sing it wherever he went as they longed for their family and friends around Christmas time. Bing always felt that "White Christmas" was too sad and nostalgic. He tried to avoid singing it, but how could he refuse this request of those serving our country in a time of war.

My trio and I were lucky enough to go back into the studio to finish recording on September 29th. Led by Ian Herman on piano, we also had Tom Hubbard on bass, Daniel Glass on drums, and the track was produced by Paul Rolnick. I brought in filmmaker and cameraman Michael Stever to record and document our day as we finished recording the tracks. I wore my Grandmother's vintage green 1950's dress and her gold-laced gloves to The Samurai Hotel Recording Studio in Astoria, NY. I'm all about the vintage costumes. It's like stepping into a time machine and helps me connect with the feelings surrounding the origins of this classic holiday single.

In post-production, producer Paul Rolnick and I decided to release "White Christmas" as a single. We hope to bring a little joy & peace to those during this insane year of the "new normal 2020 pandemic mania!" This song always leaves me with a warm, fuzzy feeling after singing it. I asked Michael Stever to help piece together a music video for the release and mix in some vintage scenes, like a village snowball fight. It's my favorite part! I hope you enjoy the music video and the single.


You just mentioned Michael Lee Stever. What would you like our Broadway World readers to know about the filmmaker who has been nominated for a Broadway World Award this year?

Michael Stever and I have been working together since we met back in 2012. He's creative and works quickly to get you a product you can be proud of. I adore him, he's become one of my closest friends in this community. And I know he adores me because he always "captures me in the best light". He's filmed most of my cabaret singing career. All you BroadwayWorld voters should check out his stuff, subscribe to his YouTube page, and then vote for him!

Put a picture in my head of what Christmas for your family will look like in 2020.

It's a bit different this year, right? In a year of so many uncertainties, I really wanted to bring people some joy and cheer through such an idyllic holiday classic, and one of my favorite holiday songs. What better way to be reminded of holidays past and to come than with the ever-hopeful "White Christmas."

This year, my boyfriend and I will decorate a little, and maybe see my parents. Christmas is a big deal in my family, but due to COVID, everything is up in the air. You just have to take it day by day and do your best to stay safe. Which means for many, annual traditions might be thrown out this year. We may just end up lighting the fireplace, making some Christmas cookies, opening some wine, and singing Christmas Carols to each other this year! That would be fine too.


Could this recording lead to an entire Christmas album?

Maybe in the future! But for now, my focus is on My Ship: Songs from 1941 and releasing it in 2021. Just wait till you hear the rest of the tracks, they sound incredible! I'm so blessed to have such an amazing "crew on MY SHIP!"


Dawn, you are quite vocal and passionate about musicians having the support of their fans, their friends, and their colleagues. What was the salient thought that drove you to take up this crusade for awareness?

Sharing is caring! Here's what I think the Cabaret and Broadway community should do to support each other right now. Think of it like a chain letter! Remember those? All you have to do is ask 10 people on your list to follow you, subscribe, like your page on all the social media platforms. Then, you would place your name at the bottom of that list and mail it to 10 friends and they do the same. Next thing you know, you have a growing audience! Word of mouth is so important for musicians, even more so this year!


What are some of the ways that people can support musicians all year round but especially now when their industry is in the straights of dire?

Buy our music! Follow us on social media, like and comment on our posts. Tell your friends, and share, share, share. Like I said, "Sharing is Caring!"


Where can people patronize your work and find White Christmas?

White Christmas is now available to buy and stream on all platforms! Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify, CD Baby, and more. You can also watch the video and subscribe to my YouTube channel! I'm also on Facebook and Instagram as well.


Dawn, thanks for the lovely chat. Have a wonderful holiday season.

Thank you, Stephen! I hope this song and video leaves everyone with a warm, nostalgic, fuzzy feeling inside this holiday season.

Links:

"White Christmas" Video: https://youtu.be/rqnAr0IoP_s

Dawn Derow Website: https://www.dawnderow.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dawn.derow/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dawnderow/

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/DawnDerow

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DawnDerow

Photos:

Leaves Photo - Photo Credit: Matt Baker

White Christmas Photo - Photo by Michael Stever. Graphics by Hector Coris.


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