Posted On 02 Nov 2016
Vocalist Deborah Silver is one of the finest talents seen in quite some time, delivering incredible renditions of the treasured songs from the Great American Songbook. Hailing from the birthplace of the blues, Mississippi, Deborah Silver is a natural born entertainer, best expressed by critic Will Friedwald (Wall Street Journal) stating “I was pulled in by the personality, the charisma – the life force. Deborah is a miraculously three-dimensional performer, which is to say that she hardly sings every song the same way, but there’s an engaging upbeat quality in everything she sings.”
On her latest album, The Gold Standards, produced by music industry legend Grammy winning producer Steve Tyrell (Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Rod Stewart, Ray Charles) and Jon Allen with musical direction by two-time Grammy winner, renowned arranger Alan Broadbent, Deborah Silver transports listeners to an era of sophistication and grace. Silver’s “jewel of a new album” includes a duet with two-time Grammy award winner Jack Jones (of “Love Boat” theme song fame) on an addicting version of “I’ve Got a Crush on You” and “The Glory of Love,” featuring jazz diva Ann Hampton Callaway.
LegendsRadio.com and The Society for the Preservation of the Great American Songbook awarded Deborah Silver the Legend to Be Award as their pick for album of the year by a newcomer.
Whether singing a sultry ballad or belting out a vocal that physically defies the small package it’s coming from, Deborah blends the Great American Songbook with Jazz and Blues gems, Country and Pop hits and Broadway favorites, delighting audiences nationwide from playing at Feinstein’s/54 Below and Jazz at Lincoln Center to music festivals nationwide.
Deborah has had the honor of touring with the Bob Hope USO Tour as her way of giving back to our nation’s armed forces. She is known for her benefit concerts and support of many philanthropic organizations. She has a long charitable history of helping causes including: medical research for diseases, aid to hurricane victims, support for the terminally ill, and care for battered and homeless women and children.
Inspired by her sister battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease to help all ALS patients and their families, Deborah Silver and her daughter, Madison, founded slamALS.org earlier this year to SLAM the door on ALS forever.
For more information, visit her website:
Learn more about Deborah Silver in the following All Access interview;
Thanks for your time! Now that we are well into the fall of 2016, what are some words you would use to describe this year?
Hectic, yet very gratifying!
What have been some of the highlights for you and your music?
Working with such great talent on this album, from producers Steve Tyrell and Jon Allen, to arranger Alan Broadbent; also, the fact that the album debuted on five Billboard charts, including # 1 on Billboard’s Traditional Jazz Chart, # 2 on Billboard’s Jazz Chart, and the Billboard 200!
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician?
I actually wanted to be in the FBI. I read all the Nancy Drew mystery books and wanted to be her. I dreamed of being in adventures and mysteries. Music might have been playing in the background, but I was too busy cracking the cases in my imagination.
Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
My earliest memory is in the backseat of my parents’ station wagon with my sisters, listening and singing along to Barbra Streisand and Dionne Warwick on the eight track. I remember wanting to name my dog “Alfie” after Dionne Warwick’s song, but I was out-voted, and we ended up naming our schnauzer Pepper…at least I got to sing “Alfie” to our little puppy.
Let’s talk about your debut release, “The Gold Standards.” What did it feel like finally putting that out into the world? How long did it take to put together?
It felt like a new beginning, like I was introducing the world to something new, something it had not heard before, and something that I was looking forward to having the world experience. Due to overlapping hectic schedules, the release took longer than anticipated. Trying to coordinate between my schedule and Steve’s was difficult and it took over a year to finish the album.
Is it crazy to see the collection already doing so well in the charts? Were you surprised at all by the success?
I was hoping to possibly, maybe, squeeze into the last spot on the Billboard charts. I was shocked at all of the Billboard charting success. When I looked at the Top 200 chart, I started scanning the list at #200, and when my name was not at the end, I figured there was no chance of charting on that highly respected list. Just for fun, I began scrolling up to see what names were on the list and was elated to find myself at #150, alongside such names as Kanye, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Beyonce (which my kids thought was really cool)!
Of all the jazz standards in the world, was it difficult picking and choosing the songs to cover on this collection? Would you consider these tracks your very favorites?
Yes and no. Some songs I knew I had to put on the album like “Ain’t Misbehavin” (which is my all-time favorite) and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” Others were more of a journey to get onto the album, as my producers and myself started with a very long list and discussed and listened to each one, narrowing it down from there. We ended up bringing in two songs at the very end. Steve picked one, “Teach Me Tonight,” because he thought it was a perfect match for me, especially since he liked Amy Winehouse’s version so much. He told me to pick the last song, and so I brought in a very old tune, “The Glory of Love,” originally recorded by Benny Goodman in 1936. Many artists recorded it after that and we loved the very simple and heartfelt version by Jimmy Durante in 1969. I kept hearing it in my head with a bit more 2016 than 1936 or 1969. I am happy how it turned out and love that the song features jazz great Ann Hampton Callaway.
What was it like working with such big names in the business like producer Steve Tyrell, Jon Allen and Alan Broadbent? And what was it like singing duets with vocalists, Jack Jones and Ann Hampton Callaway?
Think about the names that just got rattled off, Steve, Jon, Alan, Jack and Ann…how could it have been anything other than a pleasure cruise that seemed to have no destination? It was not only fun for me, but it was a learning experience, witnessing these masters of their craft in action. The best part about them all is that I can truly say that they all have hearts of gold, and I am now proud to consider them amongst my friends.
Can you elaborate a little on your organization slamALS.org and how all the proceeds of “The Gold Standards” are going to it to help fight ALS?
I founded slamALS.org with my daughter as a grass roots worldwide challenge to slam the door on ALS forever. We hope to inspire people to have fun while helping slam this horrendous disease by making a video slamming something, sending a donation and challenging others to do the same. One hundred percent of all proceeds benefit Project ALS, a nonprofit organization, and are allocated to research a cure for the nearly half-million people worldwide currently battling the disease, such as my sister, Marjie. Several celebrity SLAMbassadors have joined our team including Vanilla Ice, Larry King and Tommy Tune.
I’d love to know more about all of your experiences touring with the Bob Hope USO Tour. What has that been like for you? Do you find that your music reminds our nation’s Armed Forces of a similar and happier time?
I was ecstatic to have been picked for the Bob Hope Tour. Being able to give back and support our troops who were putting their own lives on the line everyday was an honor, and seeing them have that small break to smile at one of my performances was incredibly satisfying. I am not sure what my music reminded them of, but I certainly hope it made them as happy to hear as it made me to deliver.
What if anything has surprised you about the music industry? What do you think has been your biggest challenge? And what do you think has come really naturally to you?
The fact that a mother of two, who had given up singing to raise her family, could come back into the industry and debut at #1. The biggest challenge for me is the same as it is for almost anything, time management. The only part of this that has come naturally is what has always come naturally for me, the music itself.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Sara Vaughan, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra…need I say more?! I also love Ray Charles and Harry Connick. I grew up in Mississippi with an eclectic taste in music about as wide as the Mississippi River but my first love was R&B music, especially Luther Vandross and Aretha Franklin. I am inspired by Harry Connick who has been able to do it all: sing, act, host, and write all while maintaining his top priority, his family. I would love to work with anyone who shares my passion for what they do and how they do it.
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you unwind from it all?
My goal in life is to one day be bored! I am the busiest person I know and if there is someone busier, I don’t have the time to meet them! What does unwinding mean?…
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
Seriously speaking of unwinding, I hope that people can unwind with my music!
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I know that my music may be interpreted in different ways, but my goal is for people to be able to sit back, relax, and smile. If that happens, then I’ll have done my job.