Interview: Ann Kittredge Celebrates ROMANTIC NOTIONS CD Release at Birdland

Kittredge will celebrate her CD release with a concert on Tuesday, May 14 at 5:30pm

By: May. 10, 2024
Interview: Ann Kittredge Celebrates ROMANTIC NOTIONS CD Release at Birdland
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Award-winning singer Ann Kittredge has performed all over, including Broadway, Off-Broadway (including King DavidDessa RoseNunsense, multiple seasons of A Christmas Carol and multiple City Center Encores! shows). Her debut album, reIMAGINE, came out in May 2022 to acclaim including the LaMott-Friedman Award, and receiving glowing critical acclaim. (You can read Stephen Mosher's glowing review of that album here.)

Her next CD, “Romantic Notions," just came out this week on May 7th. You can hear a preview sample of her sultry rendition of Carole King's classic, “I Feel the Earth Move,” on all streaming sites. On May 14th at Birdland, Ann will celebrate the CD's release by performing selections from it, including "fresh, creative arrangements of classics by Jimmy Webb, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Burt Bacharach, and others."

We spoke about the show, the album, and what's coming up next for the singer.

How would you describe your upcoming album? 

Romantic Notions is an eclectic collection of songs culled from the playlist of my life that delves into the heart of romance and is sometimes found in unexpected places.

What are you looking forward to about your album release show at Birdland? 

OK, really there are two separate, but equal, parts to the evening that I am truly excited about. First, sharing these arrangements with an audience for the first time, and second, reuniting with Christopher Denny, Rex Benincasa, Sean Harkness, Mary Ann McSweeney and Aaron Heick after spending much of 2023 at Eastside Sound Studios with them bouncing off ideas and creating this album.

What was the process of putting together the album and choosing the songs like? 

Well, believe it or not, the romance idea came from John Hoglund. When he reviewed my last album, reIMAGINE, he said that he thought I had a strong romantic flair. I wondered if that was true, so I thought I’d explore that and do an album around that idea. But I wasn’t interested in a straight-on program of songs exclusively about relationships. About a third of the way into recording the album, Barry Kleinbort joined my creative team as a consultant, and in one of our sessions searching for songs, he suggested I listen to the song “Romantic Notions” from Romance, Romance – and immediately I thought, “That’s the title of this album!!! Thank goodness I also liked the song!!! Now I could purposely lean into the word “notions” to give us some liberty in song selection. That was a real moment. We ended up looking in almost every musical direction you can think of to find those gems that we thought we had something to add to. That includes recording a couple songs for the first time that were written by Darnell White and Ahrens & Flaherty. 

You have a pretty wide range of genre represented in the album, from country and rock to Broadway classics. How would you describe your taste in music, in general? 

There is a difference between my taste when I’m the listener and my taste as a performer. As a performer, I am drawn to story-telling, which is pretty expansive itself because sometimes the telling of the story is specific to the lyrics, while sometimes the story-telling is about the style of music and the energy or feel we want to evoke. And there’s also the story-telling of the album as a whole. How does each choice fit with the rest? We actually recorded more songs than ended up on the album because of this. 

What have you been listening to lately? 

Lawrence Welk! Don’t judge me. My mother moved in with me and it’s her favorite show. There are 216 episodes on YouTube, and guess what, I think I’ve seen most of them in just the past several months!!!  But when I can spare a moment away, I can’t get enough of Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra or Anaïs Mitchell. I’m also a huge Justin Timberlake fan.

What's coming up next for you?  

Back to the recording studio, believe it or not. And then I’ve got some out-of-town gigs coming up and I’m hoping to bring my Ahrens & Flaherty Tribute show back in the Fall that Andrea Marcovicci directed, details soon. I’m a volunteer with The Soka Gakkai Int’l, an NGO of the United Nations, and that takes up a good amount of time. But my priority, and the best part of my life right now, is caring for my mother. I am one lucky woman.

Tickets to the May 14th, 5:30 pm show at Birdland are avaialble on Birdland's website.

Find out more about Kittredge, including how to stream or purchase the new album, on her website.

(Header photo credit: Gene Reed)


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