Wednesday, January 11, 2017.
While Storm Large might be best known for her sultry vocals, the internationally hailed vocalist’s greatest challenge wasn’t a concert, she says.
It was laying out her personal story in a memoir and one-woman show, “Crazy Enough,” recounting the raw stories of her past, including drug addiction and her complex relationship with her mother.
“It was the hardest, scariest thing I ever did,” Large says. “Because it scared me so much, it scared me not to (do it).”
Her risk paid off.
Both projects received widespread acclaim, with her memoir named Oprah’s Book of the Week and the show breaking box office records.
“You’ve got to take chances and do stupid, crazy things sometimes,” she explains of her success.
This is how Large approaches all of her artistic endeavors: Diving in, regardless of reservations.
“You might think, ‘I have no right to do these things, I can’t do these things,’” she says. “But if your intentions are good and you think you can help and do something that will matter, you should do it.”
Taking on the World
Large applied this fearless approach when hit band Pink Martini asked her — last-minute — to join a world tour singing in 17 different languages.
“(At the start), I had to learn 10 songs in five languages in four days,” Large says.
The tour even kicked off performing with the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
How did Large manage?
“I don’t remember,” she admits with a laugh. “All I know is I walked out on stage and when I walked off, people were clapping and trying to tell me I did a good job.”
She learned the songs in multiple languages by phonetic mapping and practicing with native speakers, she adds.
“Learning languages is the same part of the brain as is musical orientation,” she says. “If it’s catchy, you’ll remember it.”
Reality TV, Carnegie Hall and Cabaret Jazz
The tour – on top of her success on reality TV competition “Rock Star: Supernova” – led to more uncharted waters.
The founder of Pink Martini insisted on Large performing with the Oregon Symphony, which led to her singing with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall.
She has since performed with many more acclaimed orchestras, including The New York Pops, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in Dublin.
“I never imagined myself singing with symphony orchestras,” Large says. “I love doing it all.”
New performing opportunities have helped her learn the advantages of different venues, she adds.
Her favorites include The Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz.
“It is one of the finest rooms, sound-wise, light-wise, vibe-wise,” she says.
Also working on a new play, Large welcomes new adventures as they come.
“Taking chances challenges you, and that’s what being creative has come to mean to me,” she says. “It’s saying ‘I don’t know how to do this,’ and you figure it out.”
“Storm Large: Stormy Love” runs at 7 p.m. on January 27 and 28 at The Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz. For tickets and more information, visit: http://www.thesmithcenter.com/event/storm-large-stormy-love/
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