Resilient jazz singer Anna Danes finds her wings

anna danes

Resilient jazz singer Anna Danes finds her wings

Emboldened by her own recent diagnosis, the chanteuse aims to empower and educate others with “Find Your Wings,” set to take flight during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  

SAN DIEGO (24 August 2016): It was against all odds that Anna Danes found herself standing in Capitol Records Studio A, in front of the same microphone used by her role models, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, recording an a cappella song that she wrote for her sophomore album. In the dimly lit studio in the heart of Hollywood, the woman who escaped communist Poland as a child and overcame the pain and loneliness of a loveless marriage by discovering her voice just three years ago poured her broken heart into the intimate album closer, “I Love You,” as producer Dave Darling sat spellbound at the recording console. In the famed studio during sessions financed by selling a car, Danes shared her deeply personal tales of love and loss through the six acoustic jazz songs that she wrote for “Find Your Wings,” the DLG Records disc scheduled for release on October 14 that is completed by five standards and a stunning interpretation of blues singer Janiva Magness’ “When You Were My King.”

Late last month, as Danes plotted with her marketing and promotions team to gear up for the upcoming album release, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. True to the theme of “Find Your Wings,” the positive-minded vocalist faced her worst fears, saw the silver lining and penned a motivational blog, “Cancer Part 1: Vanity Saved My Life,” to help educate and encourage others facing their own health and personal challenges (http://www.annadanes.com/2016/07/31/cancer-part-1-vanity-saved-life/).

When Danes began the recording project that is slated to street during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she had the desire to emulate the sound of a pair of jazz vocal albums from the esteemed duo of Tony Bennett and Bill Evans. Darling kept Danes’ captivating and expressive voice front and center in the mix using only sparse accompaniment from pianist Rich Ruttenberg, drummer John Ferraro and bassist Trey Henry. Blessed with a classic voice possessing charm, warmth, elegance and grace, Danes’ patient delivery and vocal phrasing uncoils with poise and complete control despite the vulnerability and intensity of her emotion-charged subject matter. Love is her ever-present muse on “Find Your Wings.” On originals, she sings a haunting melody on “The Voice,” pines hopefully on “See You In L.A.” and longs to see forever in the eyes of her lover on “Long Distance.” Among those she interprets from the Great American Songbook are Michel Legrand’s “I Will Wait For You,” Sammy Cahn’s “It’s Crazy” and Johnny Mercer’s “I Want To Be Around” while on the romantic duet “That’s All,” she takes enduring vows with Richard Shelton’s debonair tenor.

“I’m a very late bloomer in life. For the majority of my life, I’ve either had little confidence or have drafted off other people’s confidence and floated under their wings,” said Danes, who wrote the title track with Cindy Alexander. “Cindy asked me what I wanted to write about. I told her about my story post-separation and how I found my voice and confidence through music. Bam! That’s all that was needed to start the creative process. What was supposed to be a song about finding hope, turned into an anthem about finding yourself, your true purpose, your voice, your identity and so much more.”

Finding her voice has been life transforming for the former lawyer and stay-at-home mom who has called San Diego home for the past 16 years. Danes hopes to empower people to pursue their passions and dreams with the songs on “Find Your Wings,” which will also be the subject of her first book, personal growth products and motivational speeches on the corporate circuit. Via music, writing and speaking, Danes’ encouraging message is that by facing your fears – in health and any personal challenge – you can break out of your cage, find your wings and transform your life.  

Although she sang as a child in church after arriving in Sweden and settling in Canada after escaping Poland with her parents in 1979, Danes didn’t sing again until 2013 when her young daughter cried boredom and refused to participate at a vocal lesson. Since the lesson was already paid for, Danes stepped in. She released her debut album that same year, “Longing,” which was an extravagantly produced and elaborately-orchestrated collection of standards and modern pop tunes. Her love of jazz spawned the mission to bring more live jazz to the San Diego area through her own event production and promotion company, which produces the Jazz on Cedros series. For more information, please visit www.AnnaDanes.com.

“Find Your Wings” contains the following songs

“When You Were My King”

“I Will Wait For You”

“It’s Crazy”

“I Want To Be Around”/”Cry Me A River”

“Find Your Wings”

“That’s All”

“Long Distance”

“In The Wee Small Hours”

“See You In L.A.”

“Mr. OMG”

“The Voice”

“I Love You”

 

ANNA DANES

What started out as a hobby for Anna Danes turned out to be the opportunity of a lifetime. For Anna, taking voice lessons from her mentor, Larry White, positioned her at just the right place at the right time. She didn’t hesitate in taking his advice to go into the studio and record a demo. It was then that she saw her own voice in a different light for the first time and embraced the idea of making an album. With her incredible voice and the help of White, she recorded her debut cd “Longing.” It is full of emotions, and love serves as the backdrop for every song. Anna describes it as a reflection of her life, both past and present.

 

Anna Danes

Anna Danes

Jazz singer Anna Danes escapes into love‏

untitled

Jazz singer Anna Danes escapes into love

Debut album, “Longing,” from the vocalist who found refuge in song after running from Communism and a heartbreaking marriage, will be released March 25.

Solana Beach, Calif. (24 February 2014): As a child, Anna Danes escaped Communist Poland and as an adult, she found the strength to move on from an unhappy marriage. Both times, she found solace by singing. Love songs in particular soothed her dampened spirit while she idyllically longed for freedom and romance. Lacking support and encouragement for her artistic pursuits, Danes, armed with the Great American Songbook, found empowerment in a San Diego-area recording studio where she worked with producer Larry B. White, three-time Grammy-winning engineer-mixer Steve Churchyard and an ensemble of noted session players to record “Longing,” her debut album that will be released March 25 on DLG Recordings.

In the late 1970s, Danes fled Poland with her parents. After being turned away by Sweden, they immigrated to Ottawa, Canada where the young girl suddenly forced to learn English felt alone and isolated. She sang in a Polish church and it brought a sense of comfort and belonging. Flash forward: after giving up a successful law practice to move to California to be with her future husband, Danes found herself in a marriage that had lost its shine and stifled her creative endeavors. As her self-confidence began to wane, she rediscovered singing and started to come alive. The recording project was liberating and a life-altering experience, but in order to fully embrace the freedom she found in song, she had to dissolve the relationship for good. Perhaps the most emotionally-charged performance on “Longing” appears on the disc’s closing number, “I Wish You Love.” While recording the poignant farewell, tears streamed down Danes’ face as she sang, symbolically saying goodbye while wishing her now ex-husband love.

“Recording the album was monumental for my re-birth. I was so lost, living in a lonely marriage where ‘something was missing,’ but I am back now thanks to the music. Singing revived me and brought hope back into my heart,” said Danes, whose classic vocal timbre possesses warmth, fullness, familiarity and charm delivered in an easy manner with conversational phrasing. “I chose each and every song (for the album) that fit my style and voice, but subconsciously they show that I was missing love. I was ‘lost and lonely’ like (Antonio Carlos) Jobim says in ‘Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars Corcovado,’ which I recorded for the album.”

“Longing” showcases Danes in lush acoustic vocal jazz settings surrounded by White’s piano, upright bass (Bob Magnusson and Rob Thorsen), horns (John Rekevics and Scott Hecker), guitar (Mark Chosak), drums (Kevin Koch), percussion (Monette Marino) and the Heart Strings Quartet.  White freshly arranged ten standards including Jobim’s “Meditation,” Cole Porter’s “It’s All Right With Me,” Edith Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose,” Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought of You” and more modern material such as George Harrison’s “Something” and Charles Fox & Norman Gimbel’s “Killing Me Softly.” The session includes a pair of originals, “Sweet Valentine” and “The Sun Won’t Shine Today,” composed by White with lyrics by Margaret White.

With the sad days behind her, a radiant Danes appears glowingly on the cover of “Longing” gazing out at sea with a slight smile on her face. She is excited about the future again and what it may have in store. Living in North San Diego County with her young daughter, Danes exudes enthusiasm when discussing her unexpected new career as a jazz singer. She plans to continue singing – both on record and performing live – while keeping her heart open for love. For more information, please visit www.AnnaDanes.com.

Danes’ “Longing” contains the following songs:

“Splendor in the Grass”

“Meditation”

“Something”

“Sweet Valentine”

“Killing Me Softly”

“The Sun Won’t Shine Today”

“The Very Thought of You”

“La Vie En Rose”

“Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars Corcovado”

“It’s All Right With Me”

“Dream A Little Dream of Me”

“I Wish You Love”