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Stephanie Sellars | Girl Who Loves

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United States - NY - New York City

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Jazz: Retro Swing Moods: Solo Female Artist
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Girl Who Loves

by Stephanie Sellars

Classic jazz standards and one original song in a vintage style with a modern twist. Includes two duets with Tony Middleton, lead singer of The Willows (1950s) and collaborator of Burt Bacharach, Della Reese, Nell Carter and others.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Bei mir bist du schön
3:30 album only
clip
2. Naughty Baby
3:19 album only
clip
3. It Had to Be You
3:11 album only
clip
4. You Go to My Head
5:27 album only
clip
5. Hey There (feat. Tony Middleton)
5:02 album only
clip
6. I Can't Give You Anything but Love
4:55 album only
clip
7. Sway
5:54 album only
clip
8. Why Don't You Do Right?
4:04 album only
clip
9. Unforgettable (feat. Tony Middleton)
3:52 album only
clip
10. I Want to Be Bad
6:05 album only
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11. If I Only Had a Heart
2:41 album only
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12. Non, je ne regrette rien
3:00 album only
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13. Girl Who Loves
4:47 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
What is Girl Who Loves? First, it is a song written for a movie. Second, it is the title of the album featuring the song. Third, it is the story of a girl who loves jazz, and her musical journey through love — the excitement, seduction, uncertainty, sadness, cynicism, vulnerability and joy of loving men, women, and herself over two decades.

I’ve been singing since about age nine, yet my career has taken many directions. At twenty-two I moved to NYC to pursue my dreams of singing, acting, and writing. I produced and performed my own shows in cabarets such as Danny’s Skylight Room and The Duplex while regularly dropping in at open mics and jam sessions at places such as Lenox Lounge, Cleopatra’s Needle, and Birdland. I sang in musical revues directed by songwriter Philip Springer (Santa Baby, How Little We Know), studied jazz styling with Mark Murphy, and recorded a few demos. Yet I found it difficult to stand out in a changing music world and decided to focus on film and writing instead. In 2008 I was accepted to the graduate film program at Columbia University, and although music took a backseat, I continued to perform at parties and events when the opportunity arose. Through a decade of film studies and movie-making, I held onto the desire that I would eventually return to singing in a bigger way than before. But, when? And how?

It wasn’t until after making my first feature film Lust Life Love in 2018 that the idea of recording an album floated into my head. I had recently co-written the song Girl Who Loves with composer Jay Lifton to play over the film’s credits. I loved collaborating with Jay and Simon Taufique on the film’s score, a hybrid of vintage jazz and modern electronic music. Being at Pulse Music recording studio with the musicians and engineers ignited a spark in my creative soul, and after months of mulling it over, I finally asked Jay, “Do you ever record jazz albums at Pulse?”

Sometimes, but not often. And yes, he would love to! So I gathered some of the best musicians in New York, scheduled two days in July 2019 and we made it happen so quickly I wondered why I didn’t do this sooner. But the timing couldn’t have been better in the mid-summer with my film complete awaiting festivals and a whole lot of life experience behind me. As for the songs, they came to me within minutes. With the exception of Girl Who Loves, these songs have been with me a long time. It Had to Be You and Bei Mir Bist du Schön go back to my teenage years, when I discovered swing jazz through Harry Connick, Jr. and the 1993 movie Swing Kids. Naughty Baby is a lesser known Gershwin gem that I discovered in the 1992 Broadway production of Crazy for You, and carried with me till I was a “naughty baby” in the city, and made it my own as the sultry title song of my first solo show. I resurrected three more tunes from the Naughty Baby show: Why Don’t You Do Right?, I Want to Be Bad, and If I Only Had a Heart. The other songs on the album have been longtime favorites that resonated musically and emotionally. Over the years, these songs grew along with me, taking on the qualities of people, situations, and feelings in my life.

I wanted the album to have a live, intimate sound. So we placed the core musicians (Tadataka Unno on piano, James Cammack on bass and Brian Fishler on drums) in one room while I was set up behind the engineers. I could see Jim through the glass so we were able to communicate visually as well as musically. Even though we worked out the arrangements in advance, a lot of spontaneous things happened during the recording sessions that made their way into the final mastered album.

Tony Middleton and I had a lot of fun with our duets. It’s tricky in today’s world of “me too” to have an older man and younger woman pull off a duet without sounding too sexual. I came up with a concept for Hey There that subverts conventional male / female romantic expectations. Unforgettable is more about mutual admiration than anything else. We approached these songs with a lot of freedom and playful banter in the style of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. I met Tony in 2017 at The Roxy Hotel where he was performing with his band. We spoke afterward and I’ve been a fan ever since. He’s one of the most underrated singers in the jazz and R&B canon and I’m honored that he is a part of this album. I’m also honored to have worked with such incredible musicians – Tada, Jim and Brian – as well as the amazing players we added later in the mixing stage.

It was such a pleasure making Girl Who Loves and I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed singing it.

Vocals: Stephanie Sellars
Piano: Tadataka Unno
Bass: James Cammack
Drums / Bongos: Brian Fishler
Guitar: Vinny Raniolo
Vocals: Tony Middleton (5 & 9)
Trumpet: Jon Sneider
Trombone: Mark Miller
Clarinet: Aaron Heick
Accordion: Dallas Vietty
Percussion: Jay Lifton, Stephanie Sellars

Produced by Stephanie Sellars and Jay Lifton
Recorded and Mixed at Pulse Music, NYC
Engineered by Jonah Scott and Jay Lifton
Mastered by Kevin Blackler at Blackler Mastering, Brooklyn, NY
Assistant Engineer: Byungseok Beau Lee

Photography: Dina Shirin
Hair / Makeup: Annette Bragas

Special Thanks
Tony Middleton, Jay Lifton, Jonathan Hart Makwaia, Phyllis Cortese,
Peter Daniel Straus

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