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Ann Hampton Callaway talks about her jazz album ‘Finding Beauty,’ and New York shows

Jazz and pop singer Ann Hampton Callway chatted about her new album “Finding Beauty” and her upcoming shows at 54 Below in New York.

Ann Hampton Callaway
Ann Hampton Callaway. Photo by Bill Westmoreland
Ann Hampton Callaway. Photo by Bill Westmoreland

Jazz and pop singer Ann Hampton Callaway chatted about her new album Finding Beauty and her upcoming shows at 54 Below in New York.

This album was produced and arranged by Trey Henry and Paul Viapiano. 

Aside from being a singer-songwriter, she is also a pianist, poet, recording artist, Tony-nominated Broadway performer, and a 2023 Women Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee.

She opened up about being a recording artist in the digital age.

Finding Beauty album

“It was a freer artistic unfolding of long-distance brilliant creativity,” she said about the song selection approach for Finding Beauty. “Trey Henry is a great arranger and we had worked together in concerts and I have always loved his arranging. I approached him about a song ‘Look For The Love’ that I had written and I wanted to hear his take on it; I thought it turned out so beautiful.”

“The album came together in a gradual, interesting, natural, and holistic way. Then, we looked at my back catalog and Trey was inspired by particular songs, and I told him I would love his spin on them.”

“Trey is such a fantastic arranger and producer that this was a breakthrough for me to put my faith in him and Paul Viapiano, relinquishing my usual arranging of all songs on albums. We worked together finding songs that were of a quality and had relevance to the time that we are in,” she added.

She noted that it became a “large, interesting, very personal and passionate record of collaborations with people that I love. This is my probably my favorite album that I’ve ever made,” she admitted.

Favorite songs on the album

She listed “At the Same Time” as one of her personal favorites on the album, which Barbra Streisand also recorded back in the day, and it had originally been featured in the 1987 world peace event The Harmonic Convergence. “This song is at the heart of who I am,” she said. “It is profoundly important for me that the song is finally out and I love Trey’s arrangement of it. It’s a meditation on what unites us.”

“My second favorite is ‘Love and Let Love’ with the great Kurt Elling, and I just adore him. We had so much fun singing together. It’s a daring pride song and an inspirational one,” she added.

“There are other songs on the record that are fun, romantic, poignant and sexy, but these two aforementioned songs are very important to my soul,” she acknowledged.

Upcoming shows at 54 Below in Manhattan

She noted that she is excited for her upcoming “Yuletide Revelry”  shows at 54 Below in New York with her sister Liz Callaway, which run on December 24 and then December 26 through December 30.  

Then, she is happy to return on January 12, 2024 to perform “Finding Beauty-Inspired Classics and Originals” as part of her new CD tour. “Those will be wonderful to perform,” she foreshadowed.

The digital age

On being an artist in the digital age, she said, “There are some good things about it, and bad things about it. I feel like the digital age has lost some of the soul of music and the intellectual value of our songs and our performances have just plummeted.”

“On the other hand, if you really work hard and with intelligence and creativity, you can reach more people perhaps. It’s a very strange time to make an impact on people with your music,” she added.

“I am extremely grateful to make records and to discover other artists, and work together with people. But it can be a challenging to be a musician as a business person. You just try to make the best out of it,” she acknowledged.

Dream duet choices in music

On her dream duet choices in music, she remarked, “There are so many people that I would love to work with. I would love to do something with Stevie Wonder, Yo-Yo Ma, and of course, Barbra Streisand, whom I’ve written many songs for. I think our voices would sound amazing.”

“One of my biggest dreams is to go around the world and make music with people that I don’t know… and make a portrait of what is going on in the world in one year, that’s one of my bucket list wishes to do,” she added.

“The Nanny Named Fran” theme song

She is known for writing and singing the theme song for the Emmy-nominated TV series “The Nanny,” which starred Fran Drescher. “That was wonderful,” she said.

“I love Fran Drescher, she is such a sweetheart and I was glad that I was able to write something lasting. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, and what my accountant calls ‘my finest work to date.’”

She shared that she loves being a part of Fran Drescher’s Cancer Schmancer nonprofit organization.

“As a cancer survivor, I believe in what Fran is doing — she has a lot of influence in legislation and education. She is an incredible leader for women’s health and teaching people what is toxic and what isn’t, and how to live a healthy life,” she elaborated.

Stage of her life

On the title of the current chapter of her life, she said, “Dreams do come true but not always in the timeframe that you would expect them to.”

Success

Regarding her definition of the word success, she said, “For me, success means being true to myself and having beautiful, powerful and authentic relationships with people that I love.”

“Using my gift as generously as possible and making a difference in the world. We are all living in a very important turning point in history, so success for me is being a vessel of love, and a messenger for the good,” she concluded.

Finding Beauty is available for pre-order on digital service providers by clicking here.

To learn more about Ann Hampton Callaway, check out her official website and follow her on Instagram.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 20,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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