An interview with the singer Nellie McKay

April 23, 2010 No Comments

Nellie McKay’s “Normal As Blueberry Pie – A Tribute To Doris Day” album is available now.

We want to wish Nellie a very Happy Birthday for today (13th April). Below are some questions which we’d love you to answer please for the ‘Discovering Doris’ website:

How did you first discover Doris Day and what did she mean to you as a teenager?
I found ‘It’s Magic’ – an album compiled from her movie recordings – in a record shop and her smiling face seemed so reassuring and kind, I had to buy it. I listened to it all the way home – she took me out of this world to a lovely, romantic movie land – a picnic in the sun.

Has that changed now in your adult life/after recording your tribute album?
I guess I’m still a teenager at heart – her voice is a warm caress, giving you hope and good feeling.

What is your all-time favourite Doris Day song or album and why?
I love ‘I’ll String Along With You’ – it’s understated, gentle and terribly romantic.

What inspired you to record Doris Day’s music for your 4th studio album and did you find this project in any way difficult to get off the ground because her music isn’t currently mainstream?
My A&R, Mitchell Cohen, suggested it and pushed for it and I am very grateful as I would never have had the moxie to do it myself. I think there are a lot of people out there hungry for tributes to Ms. Day – they have so much love for her.

This album project became one of your most successful, as it reached #5 on America’s Billboard Jazz chart. Were you surprised by its runaway commercial and critical success?
Thank you! I’m always surprised if we sell one copy, but I think in this case it had to do with the overwhelming affection people feel for Ms. Day.

Have you sent Doris Day a copy of your CD? And, if so, has she commented on it?
We are just now sending her one – we are very slow. I figure she’s very busy with her Animal Foundation – fighting for animals takes a lot of time! But if and when she hears it, I hope she likes it – I hope her doggies like it too.

Outside of America, Doris Day’s 2nd most successful music market in the world is the United Kingdom (where you were born). Will you therefore be bringing your tribute album to the UK or indeed any other international countries?
I hope so! When I visited Ireland a few years ago it seemed every lady I met had a special place in her heart for Ms. Day. And my Uncle Patrick, in England, idolized her from the time he was a small boy.

Will you follow up with any similar such album projects? If so, whose music would you like to record next?
Ms. Day recorded enough songs to easily fill a tribute set, so maybe another to her! Otherwise I would like to do an old-fashioned warbly album, in the style of Irene Dunne or Kitty Carlisle Hart.

Do you have any final words which you’d like to say to Doris Day’s fans from around the world?
You have the best taste. Isn’t she marvelous? Doris Day forever!

What are your general plans for the future?
Honestly, to try to keep one’s chin up and stay on the bright side of life, like Ms. Day.

Thanks to Nellie McKay and her agent Carla Parisi for agreeing to do this Q&A interview (conducted by  Stephen M).

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