Call Redialed: NEW Luba Mason Interview: Bistro Awards, New Music, "Girl From The North Country"
I have been lucky to interview Broadway and recording artist Luba Mason several times over the years. She always tells it like it is and that is one of the things I love most about Luba, outside of her extraordinary talent.
This time around Luba and I discuss winning a Bistro Award (ceremony will take place Monday, 3/11), her new album TRIANGLE (due out later this year), + her time in The Public Theater’s run of Conor McPherson & Bob Dylan’s Girl From The North Country as well as those rumors about a Broadway transfer!
1. It's great to talk with you once again Luba! Always love interviewing you!! We certainly do have a lot to talk about. Let's start with the exciting news that you will be getting a Bistro Award, Vocal Bistro to be specific, on March 11. This award is "a testament to your beautiful fluid voice, cool-to-fiery dramatic range, and assured but charming stage presence." What does this award mean to you? That the music/cabaret community has acknowledged my work! I've been around a long time and I'm thrilled that the Bistro board has taken notice.
2. Can you share with us what song you will be singing on the night of the awards? I will be singing a classic, standard from my upcoming album TRIANGLE called "Say It" by Frank Loesser and Jimmy McHugh. A stunning ballad...
3. You also have a new album coming out later this year. What can you tell us about it - when it will be released? The style of music? Speaking of...the title of the album is TRIANGLE and the line-up has never been recorded before : Voice, Vibes and Bass. I've got a couple of pros playing with me on the album : Joe Locke on Vibes (one of the top players in the country), and James Genus on Bass (who has been touring w/Herbie Hancock and is the bass player in the Saturday Night Live Band).
And by the way, we recorded and videotaped it "live" at the legendary Power Station in NYC so there will be a Live CD Recording as well as a Live DVD Concert Video available released later this year.
I wanted to challenge the line-up with an eclectic repertoire - somewhat of a continuation of my "MIXTURA" concept from the last album. So there will be jazz, pop, standards, a bolero, a musical theater song and even a heavy metal song included in the song list!
4. What is your favorite part of the process in recording an album? Since this was a "live" recording, this process was totally new for me and nerve -wracking!
We only had two shots at the recording; a "dress rehearsal" recorded in the afternoon and the actual live recording in front of an audience in the evening. You sing the wrong lyric or hit the wrong note, too bad! Plus I had to look good because I was being video taped. Geez...too much pressure!!!
My favorite part is when the concept actually falls together with the musicians in rehearsals. I get goose bumps...
5. Which part of the recording process don't look forward to/can’t stand? The promotional part once the album is finished. This is exhausting and relentless. The music business has changed so much that labels no longer help you much in this area. Musicians/singers not only need to sing, write and produce their product but now need to be proficient in social media and other outlets to promote their albums. Lots of work!!!
6. In fall 2018, you were part of the Public Theatre's production of Girl From The North Country. What did you enjoy most about being in the show? That I was part of such a quality show: a great script written by a great playwright who also directed us (Conor McPherson), with music by a Nobel Prize winner (Bob Dylan), had one of the loveliest and talented casts that I have ever worked with (too many to mention by name) and produced by The Public Theater which was a class act.
7. What did you relate to most about your character? Her arc in the show included many aspects of different characters I have played in other shows over my 30 year career. I got a chance to be funny, dramatic, furious, sing, cry and of all things PLAY THE DRUMS which I had NEVER done before in any show!!!!
8. There is talk about a Broadway transfer. Can you update us on that news? Don't have any official news yet on the Broadway transfer but we have been assured we will hear in the next few weeks.
9. What was the best part about performing Bob Dylan's music? Did you have any interaction with him? If so, what did you learn from him? Making the song my own...and playing the drums doing it. He was not around for our rehearsal process. I was not a die-hard fan of his before the project but after hearing his material day in and day out, I realized what the fuss was all about. He was quite the writer and storyteller...
10. Rapid Fire Questions:
Coke or Pepsi? Coke
Peanut Butter: Crunch or Smooth? Smooth
Twizzlers or Red Vines? Twizzlers
Favorite go to Emoji when texting? 👊 (fist punch!)
More on Luba:
Vocalist Luba Mason is "a powerfully emotional song interpreter" (All Music Guide), blessed with "a celestial voice" (Los Angeles Times). The classically trained singer, pianist, dancer and actor who was nominated for the prestigious 2015 DRAMA DESK and LUCILLE LORTEL theater awards as "Best Featured Actress in a Musical," also has an impressive Broadway pedigree that really knocks you out with not only her stunning vocal range but also her extraordinary versatility as a performer. Luba is beyond category.
A native New Yorker born in Astoria, Queens and first generation American of Slovak descent, Luba grew up in a bi-lingual household, Slovak being her first language. She started classical piano at age five and continued for 12 more years while singing in several church choirs prompted by her piano teacher after discovering her talent for singing at the end of a piano lesson. Becoming ever more interested in singing, Luba began to study voice with teachers from The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music recommended by her older sister who was studying opera there. Having sights on Broadway, Luba was later accepted to Circle in the Square Theatre School and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in DRAMA. Straight out of school, Luba was plucked by Tommy Tune to sing and dance on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning "THE WILL ROGER’S FOLLIES." She went on to impress director Trevor Nunn, who cast her in the American premiere of "SUNSET BLVD." But it was director/impresario Des McAnuff who placed Luba front and center as sex bomb "Hedy LaRue" next to Matthew Broderick’s "J. Pierpont Finch" in the celebrated first Broadway revival of "HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS…." Featured roles in Paul Simon’s "THE CAPEMAN" and opposite the legendary comedian Sid Caesar in "SID CAESAR & CO" preceded Luba’s return to center stage as she starred in the Broadway production of "JEKYLL & HYDE" and then, as "Velma Kelly" oppositeBrooke Shield’s "Roxy Hart" in the smash musical "CHICAGO." Tapped by Rubén Blades (her cast mate in "THE CAPEMAN") as a guest vocalist for his 2003 Grammy Award-winning CD "MUNDO," Luba's seamless segue from the New York stage to the Hollywood scene, gave her a chance to tackle dramatic roles in guest-starring parts on "PERSON OF INTEREST," "FOREVER," "LAW & ORDER," "NYPD BLUE," "NEW YORK UNDERCOVER," and opposite Jeff Goldblum in the psychic detective series, "RAINES."
As a recording artist, Luba has released three critically–acclaimed albums: COLLAGE (PS Classics), a beautiful marriage of Latin, pop, jazz and poetry; KRAZY LOVE, (Sunnyside Records), "Exquisite, Seductive, Saudade" - (Sting), where Luba debuts her impressive songwriting skills executing a cool, Brazilian mood with an intimate acoustic sound, featuring bassist Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets), Renato Neto (Prince), world renowned flautist Hubert Laws and her husband - 14 time Grammy Winner Rubén Blades. Luba's new release, MIXTURA, features a new musical format she has trademarked: MIXTURA® - "a blend of different musical currents." The record was produced by Jimmy Haslip and Luba with guests Al Jarreau, Randy Brecker, Dori Caymmi, Kenny Loggins, Vadim Neselovskyi and others. The CD is released by Kobalt Music.
Having toured the US and abroad, Luba has been a featured performer at the PANAMA JAZZ FESTIVAL opening for Wayne Shorter, Danilo Perez and Chucho Valdez and has headlined HAVANA, CUBA’S 40TH INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL as well as COSTA RICA’S INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL. In the U.S., she has performed sold out shows at LA’s famed CATALINA BAR & GRILL, YOSHI’S in Oakland, the BLUE NOTE in N.Y., BLUES ALLEY in D.C., WORLD CAFÉ in Philadelphia and the REGATTA BAR in Boston. She has also headlined at VIBRATO and the CINEGRILL in L.A., DIZZY’S COCA COLA, FEINSTEIN’S, BIRDLAND, B.B. KINGS, IRIDIUM and THE METROPOLITAN ROOM in N.Y. In 2015 Luba and her husband performed together on stage at RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL in Paul Simon's sold out benefit for the "Children's Health Fund's 25th Anniversary" alongside Mr. Simon, Edie Brickell, Sting, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder and numerous other luminaries. Last November, Luba joined her husband at JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER with Wynton Marsalis and his band in one of the highlights of the evening singing Otis Blackwell’s "Fever."