An Interview With Grammy-Nominated Jazz & Pop Vocalist, SYLVIA BENNET!
Posted On 27 Oct 2017
Sylvia Bennet is a Grammy nominated ‘A’ list jazz/pop vocalist and songwriter who has performed at Presidential Inaugurations and opened for such renowned artists as Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, Jackie Mason, Dizzy Gillespie, Barry Gibb and David Brenner. She was first discovered by the legendary Lionel Hampton. She has since captivated audiences and critics alike with her sultry, honeyed tones and seductive blend of jazz and pop.
Sylvia and Lionel Hampton’s first recording project was the Grammy nominated Sentimental Journey. A second project, There Will Never Be Another You, was a CD/DVD tribute she dedicated to her beloved mentor and would be followed by eight more CDs: Songs From the Heart, It’s Christmas Time, Smile, Sonríe, C’est Si Bon, Best Love Songs, It’s All About Love and For You.
It’s All About Love, was Sylvia’s first all original, contemporary jazz album. The project produced three hits before its release date in April 2016 reaching #24 on the 2016 SmoothJazz.com Year–End Chart. Sylvia continues her journey into smooth original music with the brand–new album FOR YOU which delivers another successful set of contemporary, sensuous songs from the Miami–based vocalist and songwriter. It features the successful collaborative combo with Ms. Bennett’s longtime producer and writing partner, Hal S. Batt. The renowned Miami producer and Afterhours Music studio owner has worked with some of the biggest names in Miami recording history including Ricky Martin, Julio Iglesias, Regina Belle and many more. Hungarian violinist and bandleader Peter Ferencz, from the Smooth Jazz Pop ensemble, Peet Project, joins Sylvia in a romantic duet on Two Hearts One Soul with a dreamy melody that sweeps you off your feet. Modern love songs, jazzy chilled arrangements, heart string-tugging vocals and sophisticated musicianship… FOR YOU is for all of us!
In addition to recording and creating new products for the Sylvia Bennett Gift Collection, she loves to perform in front of a live audience and has created a range of shows that cover everything from Broadway to pop and from swing to international. She sings in English, Spanish, and French – but regardless of the language her goal remains the same: to bring people joy through music and song!
Learn more about the Sylvia Bennet in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood? What is a song you are loving these days?
I’m in Newport Beach, CA listening to the rhythm and sound of the ocean. Since I’m a hopeful romantic any love song will definitely get me out of a bad mood. The current song I’m into these days is Ed Sheeran “Shape of You.”
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Was there a time where you thought of doing something completely different?
I feel like I was born with a musical note in my throat. Music has always been a part of who I am. I sang my first song in front of an audience at a wedding when I was seven years old. There never was a time where I thought I wouldn’t be a musician.
Musically, did you approach this year any differently then you did last year? How has 2017 been treating you and your career? What are you most excited about for in 2018?
I approach every year the same with the joy of being able to share my music with everyone. So far 2017 has been a wonderful year. I’ve enjoyed much success with my latest release “For You” and I’m looking forward to sharing my holiday release “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” in November. For 2018, I’m working on putting out another album of love songs.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown has affected you and your music today?
I was born in Italy, grew up in Philadelphia and have lived most of my life in Miami. I think that the multicultural influence of Miami has inspired me the most.
With all your experience in this business, I am curious to know if what drives you to continue making music has changed at all through the years? Do you think that you are constantly growing as an artist year after year?
My drive to continue making music has not changed; If anything, I’m even more passionate about it now. I never stop growing as an artist because I’m always looking for my next project.
What was it like putting together your latest album, “For You”? How did it all come together? What are some of your favorite tunes on this collection?
“For You” came about from the success of my first all original CD “It’s All About Love.” I enjoyed the process of writing songs, with my producer Hal S. Batt, so much that I couldn’t wait to go back to the studio. My two favorite songs are the title song “For You” and “Two Hearts One Soul.”
I was incredibly impressed with all the amazing musicians that you have performed for and with over the years? Can you pick a favorite experience performing? What was it like singing at a presidential inauguration?
It’s hard to choose just one experience. I was blessed with the opportunity to work with many great legends like Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, and Barry Gibb. A memorable experience was when I performed the song “Through the Years” at Bob and Dolores Hope’s 50th wedding anniversary, but, as a naturalized citizen, nothing can be more emotionally and professionally fulfilling as singing at two presidential inaugurations with my mentor, Lionel Hampton.
Ultimately, what do you think makes for a perfect show for you? What can fans expect from one of your concerts?
A perfect show is when the audience is into me as much as I am into them. Fans can expect me to sing from my heart, give them my all, and to become part of my show. I love coming off the stage and singing right to them.
With the summer over now, what was something fun or new that you tried this summer?
I had my usual wonderful summer in Carmel California, but I must say the most exciting new experience is coming up in November when my husband and I are going on a photo expedition in search of Polar Bears, north of the Arctic Circle in Churchill, Canada.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? Do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these hard times?
It gives me great joy that my music can give hope and love to the listener for at least a little while during troubled times. I think some of the music created today will reflect the current turmoil, but I think more of it will give people comfort.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I have always been inspired by Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler and more recently, Celine Dion. I would love to work with Lionel Richie, Tony Bennett and Barry Manilow.
What do you hope fans continue to take away from your new and older music?
The one thing that is consistent in both my old and new music is love. I feel that life is better lived when you believe in love.
What advice would you give to a young person who is thinking about becoming a musician one day?
My advice would be to be true to who you are and passionate about what you do.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself, your music or the show?
Being discovered by Lionel Hampton was a life changing event. We were fortunate to receive a Grammy nomination for our first recording “Sentimental Journey” which led to us to record a second album together, “There Will Never Be Another You.” I am indebted to him for teaching me so many things but especially that fans are an integral part in allowing us to fully express ourselves as performers. I’m grateful for a fulfilling career that allows me to continue to create music and perform all over the world. I would like to thank my fans for letting me into their ears and hearts. Their smiles are my inspiration.