'One Krazy Kat!'
Luba Mason has embarked on an exquisite journey of the soul with her new CD, KRAZY LOVE. A rich musical travelogue that explores the arc of modern day relationships and infuses them with her love for the music of Brazil.
Luba Mason is one of those singers with a sweet sound and serious vocal training – and a list of impressive credentials as a Broadway actress and singer. Her new CD features her clear, smooth vocals on ten Latin-tinged jazz songs, eight of them originals, and draws on the talents of a top-notch band. Mason shuns the breathy, coy delivery we’ve come to expect of Brazilian vocal jazz, but without sacrificing any of the music’s romance and sensuality.
As well as gracing Broadway, Luba Mason is also no stranger to the nightclub circuit, having performed sold-out shows at LA's famed Catalina Bar & Grill, Vibrato and the Cinegrill. Back in New York, she has headlined at the world famous jazz club Birdland, as well as being a featured artist at next year's Panama Jazz Festival.
Recently I had a chance to ask Luba about her new album and her career.
Reading through your impressive resume I see that as well as singing, playing the piano and song writing, you dance, and act in such diverse mediums as Broadway musicals and television dramas. You are multi-talented, but where did it all start for you? "I have to say when I started taking piano lessons when I was 5. I love music and I love to play piano, my piano teacher was also my voice teacher so I took voice lessons as well. My love of music was evident but my desire to perform live came from when I saw my first Broadway show in 6th grade. I saw the Elements of Singing Acting and Dancing all in one medium and that excited me."
Your voice does sound classically trained; does that present any problems when singing soft samba-tinged jazz songs? "No. If anything, my classical training has enhanced this style of singing. My classical training has given me techniques to control my voice in any way I want to sing."
You wrote 8 of the 10 songs on the album, sometimes by yourself, and some with co-writers. There seems to be a lyrical theme running through it, perhaps you might expound on the themes? "I believe my songwriting is an emphasis on the melody. There is a strong lyrical melodic sense to each song. I think that’s where my ear goes first. I believe there is an easy flow to the songs."
I love the photo on the cover of the album. But, is that your cat or did it come from an agency for cat models?! "It is my cat Kookie!!"
What is your own personal favourite song on the album? And perhaps you can explain why that is? "As they say, it’s like asking who your favorite child is. It’s a difficuly question but I love all the songs on the album. If I had to pick one though, it would be track 4 – A Summer’s Night because it was the very first song I ever wrote 10 years ago. It was the song that when I played it for Renato, became the pivotal point in the direction of the album. Renato loved the song so much he suggested we write more songs so that’s why this particular song is very special to me."
Renato Neto is your main collaborator on the album, as co-producer and song writing partner on some of the tunes. He also wrote the arrangements and played on the album. Most will know him as the keyboard player in Prince’s band; how did you hook up with him? "We have a mutual friend in common who was the drummer for my last release. When I told Tal (drummer) that my next project would be a Brazilian project, his face lit up and he said you must meet Renato Neto. He is the go to guy for Brazilian music and is originally from Sao Paulo and he is one of the best musicians around."
"It wasn’t easy to meet with Renato due to his hectic schedule but I almost stalked him at one of his performances and waited outside during one of his breaks in which I then finally approached him and told him about my project and the fact that I knew Tal, he agreed to meet with me. From that point on, it was a matter of our tastes matching and really feeling each other out if we could work together and it was obvious from the first meeting that we would get along very well and we respect each other’s taste in music and as musicians."
You’re also known as Ms Reuben Blades. Is this a help or a hindrance to your career? "So far it’s been a very big help! Not only is he my biggest fan and supporter but he has influenced me musically and opened up the world of Latin Music to me. His experience in the world of music is something I’ve benefitted from and I have learned a great deal from him."
You appear to be a fantastically busy lady, but when relaxing at home, what music or musicians do you like to listen to? "I feel it’s important to listen to as many different and diverse musicians and styles as possible. Currently, I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz and just loving my Kurt Elling CD “Night Moves.” His voice is phenomenal and so special so that’s been a current fave as of late."
Now you have finished recording the album, what do you have lined up for your next project? "I’m currently focusing on touring and supporting the new release this year. In the back of my mind, I am thinking about my next album!"
You have acted on stage with some very famous people, such as Mathew Broderick and Brooke Shields. Do you have any juicy anecdotes that you can share with Exclusive Magazine readers? "In live theatre, anything can happen. And one night during the show “How To Succeed…” with Matthew – there was a set malfunction and we had to improvise our scene with nothing on scene – no set. It was just the two of us. But the show must go on and being with a pro on stage like Matthew, it was very easy to just feed off of each other in the scene. We added several extra lines."
"We made the audience laugh a lot because they obviously knew something had gone wrong. But I think it was one of the highlights on stage for me because I surprised myself at how well he and I could carry off the scene and almost make it better than it was," she laughs. "It was one of the scariest but yet most fun moments."
Interviewed by Peter 'taB' Walker
'Krazy Love' CD Purchase Link
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