Interview with Singer Steve Tyrell

Posted on Nov 15, 2013 under Archives, Interviews, Other interesting people | No Comment

Singer, producer, and composer Steve Tyrell was born in Texas and grew up in Houston’s 5th Ward.  As a teenager, he performed in local R & B bands and at 19 he landed a job as a staff producer in New York at indie label Scepter Records.  Tyrell was soon promoted to head of A & R and promotions and began to work with some of America’s greatest songwriters; Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Carole King.  After recruiting fellow Texan BJ Thomas, Tyrell produced his hits, “Hooked on a Feeling,” and Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.” 

In Los Angeles, he co-founded Tyrell –Mann, a music supervision company, and continued to produce Grammy-Award winning songs for movies and also music for television.  He returned to singing in 1991, with a cameo performance of “The Way You Look Tonight,” for the movie Father of the Bride.  That eventually led to a ten albums, most featuring standards.

Tyrell recently performed three nights at Catalina Jazz Club to promote his latest album, “It’s Magic:  The Songs of Sammy Cahn.”  The album’s thirteen songs salute Cahn who was one of the top songwriters of the 20th century.   Classics that Cahn co-wrote with Jimmy Van Heusen, such as “Come Fly With Me,” “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” and “Teach Me Tonight” are included.

“The album coincides with this year’s centennial of both Cahn and Van Heusen and illuminates a musical legacy,” said Tyrell.  When asked why he chose to work on a tribute album to the songwriter, Tyrell explains, “Frank Sinatra recorded 87 of his songs, he was nominated for 27 Academy Awards and won four times, but most people don’t know who he was.  They only know the songs he wrote.”

In his latest tour to promote the album, Tyrell places emphasis on the importance of songwriters. “Sammy wrote songs for the Rat Pack era.  He spoke for that period of pop culture, louder than anyone else did.”

Tyrell will be back at the Catalina Jazz Club in February 2014.  I sat down to chat with Tyrell about his latest album and upcoming projects.


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