Leap and a Net Will Appear
By Michael Miyazaki for Cabaret Scenes
March 25, 2015
Christiane Noll, though she probably doesn’t know it, is responsible for It Might Be Fun, Sandy Bainum’s new CD that salutes the Bruce Kimmel songbook. Bainum had bought Noll’s The Ira Gershwin Album while in a record store researching some coloratura arias. When she heard the recording, she knew that she wanted arrangements like the ones on the CD. That led her to a bi-coastal phone and e-mail collaboration with music director Lanny Meyers. Eventually Meyers introduced Bainum to his longtime collaborator, Bruce Kimmel, who wrote special material for Bainum’s first two CDs.
“Bruce and I had done two albums together, and when we were talking about a third project, I had been visiting his web site (haineshisway.com), and he had posted some songs he had written. And they were tuneful songs with interesting lyrics, and I said to him, ‘You need to get these out there because they’re really nice! Maybe we should record some of them.’ So that’s how it came about.”
The recording was done at the classic Capitol Studios facility in Hollywood. “It was so thrilling. We were in Studio A and it was just like being in Heaven! Being where there was just such iconic treasure on the wall! At first it was very intimidating for me, but then I was like, ‘What the hell! Everybody comes here to make music. Just go be in the moment and enjoy!’”
One key element was her music director/orchestrator Lanny Myers. “I’m always like a kid in a candy store when I hear the band for the first time. And Lanny is the calm in the storm. He is a consistent, gentle presence—just a subtle brilliance. Not just a brilliant orchestrator, but also as an accompanist. He’s always there to support me as a singer and he’s an orchestra in himself.”
One of the gems on the recording is the debut of a song that Kimmel wrote with Richard Sherman of Mary Poppins fame. Bainum effuses about Sherman, “He is truly one of the most generous, kind-spirited people I have ever met. He is a lovely human being. I feel so blessed to have known him in my life.“ Fellow singers who would like the songs on the recording can take heart: according to Bainum, Kimmel is planning a songbook to accompany the recording.
Sandy Bainum is busy these days, not only with releasing her new CD and doing cabaret work, but also with an active theatrical schedule. When asked how the two influence each other, she replied, “Both of them have helped each other. Part of my journey as an actor is finding that sense of being grounded and in the moment, and always listening and being present and telling the story. And that’s the same thing with cabaret! They’re teaching me a lot of lessons about myself.
“It’s something I’m still exploring and learning about. Somebody once asked me, ‘What is the hardest, most complicated role you’ve ever played?’ And I honestly answered them, ‘Myself.’ I think it’s so hard! When you see a brilliant cabaret performer and you look at the composure and the ease with which she tells the story—it seems so simple! And I think it’s one of the most complex art forms to be done and done well. It’s a journey. And it’s a journey of comfort and confidence that takes time. I’m enjoying the journey, and I find that I get better at it as I go.”
In her album notes, Bainum writes that a favorite motto of hers is “Leap and the net will appear.” When asked why, she responded, “I feel like my journey in this business is trusting my talents, and just trusting my natural sense of street smarts and what feels good to me. I’m a very visceral person and I experience things very deep within my gut. And I sometimes don’t trust that. But [with this album] I said, ‘To hell with it all!’ I love the music. I love being in the music. I love feeling this music. I’m just going to do it. I’m going to take the leap and if something happens, great. I have this. It’s mine. No one can take it away.”
To read a review of Sandy’s CD, It Might Be Fun, go to: