BWW Interview: Singer Tiffany Bailey Presents JAZZ with POP
Singer Tiffany Bailey took time out of a busy rehearsal schedule to talk about her concert at Upstairs at Vitello's on April 17, the release party for her first cd Jazz with Pop.
How long have you been singing professionally?
For 4 years, but I've been singing my whole life...lots of pop music. I was really into Whitney Houston and Pat Benatar. Cyndi Lauper...actually, a lot of all kinds of music. ..Depeche Mode, The Cure was really kind of my bag.
Your dad is a fine jazz musician, correct?
Alan "Buddy" Bailey plays the jazz trumpet and flugelhorn. He started playing as a young child. His parents were cool about him being a musician. His mom, my grandmother, was very much into music. Growing up, my dad and I worked on so much music together, from the time I was 3 years old. We would sing and play, tell creative stories, we would do video skits. My dad was into horror movies. (laughs) "Twilight Zone" episodes, horror flicks and we would make our own skits. Music is where we definitely connected.
Tell us about your dad's background.
He played in the navy. In the mid 60s when Richard Glasser and Jerry Wilson and my dad did a tour of the orient, all the army and navy bases, they played their instruments and sang as The Soundmen. In the 70s and 80s they played as The Soundmen all over L.A. They used to play on the Princess Louise Ship that was docked. They played at all kinds of venues and clubs all over Los Angeles.
Some of those times in the navy must have been rough.
It was not the best of times. We grew up in a Jewish family. There is such a high level of worry in the culture itself. Worry is like misuse of the imagination. We have gold medals in worrying; it's like a sport. That inhibits happiness. My dad is a worrier. Interestingly enough, he had a surgery induced stroke a couple of years ago form a heart valve surgery. It changes things in you. He had to basically rehabilitate himself. Now, he's so much more relaxed. Our music collaboration is so much more put together, a wonderful experience. He tends to get a little bit in his head but is still a fantastic musician. He is back to doing what he loves to do.
What assets do you possess that come directly from your dad's influence?
I used to find jazz intimidating, because of the scatting. I avoided it for a very long time. I did pop and some musical theatre. My dad introduced me to the Manhattan Transfer, Chet Baker, Dianne Schuur and the Carpenters. I loved Karen Carpenter so much I tried to mimic her.
What was your first introduction to musical theatre?
My grandma took me to my first musical, 42nd Street. OMG, it blew my mind. I was maybe 11 or 12. We also saw Cats. We would listen to the records of both shows, and I would sing "Memory" and the title song from 42nd Street. Later I saw Wicked twice. I love "Defying Gravity". I started to lean toward musical theatre, but I had such strong alternative influences.
In high school I was in a show choir. We wore sequin dresses and did jazz standards. My parents were so supportive. I gained self-confidence from wanting to fit in. I continued with pop music. I would do Whitney Houston and people would ask me if I was lip-syncing. What a shocking experience! You hear good things about your singing, but something inside yourself has to blossom. My father and I didn't talk a lot, but we did creative things. Now I'm mending my relationship with him. With this cd, he tells me that it's not about him, but about me. It opens up a whole giant avenue and offers me new choices. I get to know who I am and what I love. Getting to collaborate is just incredible.
How is the cd progressing?
We have one song left to record. Jazz with Pop is my love of jazz and pop music. And of course Pop is my trumpet dad. It started out originally as a tribute to Chet Baker. There are other avenues that I want to explore that make me happy. We're looking back historically at what I love. We do Earth Wind and Fire "Don't Worry About a Thing". Manhattan Transfer. "Hopelessly Devoted"..a real myriad of Brazilian, jazz standards, even vaudeville.
Why did you choose Upstairs at Vitello's?
I did my first one-woman show there 2 years ago. Two for the Road. I love the intimacy at Vitello's. It's like being in your living room...and the sound is great.
Who is your favorite composer?
Richard Carpenter. The way that he puts the songs together...I feel the simplicity, the kindness of the words, you remember what they're saying...and they are singable. It brings a level of joy. I also love Gershwin and Vince Guaraldi who wrote Peanut's theme for Charlie Brown.
A favorite song?
"A Song For You" by Leonard Cohen. The intensity of what it's saying is so prolific. If someone else wrote the words, I find my own heart in them. Also, Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All". I can take words that I relate to, that I would say.
In conclusion. What do you want to be remembered for as a singer?
She had a good heart. She loved and cared about people. Integrity means more than anything to me.
Tiffany Bailey - Jazz with POP. Wednesday - April 17, 2019. Doors open 6:30 pm. Show starts 7:30 pm, Upstairs at Vitello's. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tiffany-bailey-jazz-with-pop-cd-release-tickets-56953616801