Emmy Rossum Discusses Recording a New Album
– Shameless star Emmy Rossum recently spoke about releasing a self financed album of old standards. Here are the highlights…
On Doing Her First Album Since 2007: I was getting pressure to make a record that I didn’t want to make. So it took me a while to legally get out of my contract with the other label. I made this record with my own money, with friends of mine and a producer I’d worked with before. And it was kind of the first opportunity I’d had to put it together between making “Shameless” and movies.
On Doing an Album of Standards: I grew up in New York. When I was seven I started singing in the children’s chorus at the Metropolitan Opera. I grew up in a household of all-women who were much older than me and they would play oldies music like Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke and Judy Garland. To me that music seemed like contemporary music because I grew up singing opera which was from hundreds of years ago. So this feels totally contemporary to me. I grew up loving this music, there’s a simplicity to the melodies and a poignancy to the storytelling and a sweetness that now might seem a bit hokey. To me there’s such a romantic notion about nostalgia so I really wanted to make this record. I mean, I made it with my own money. I really wanted to make it exactly like an old record was made. I did it in three days and got it done. We used old recording systems and ran it through plates and mastered it to tape, not digital. And I put all the musicians with me in one room in the vocal booth. Most of the songs were done in one take.
On The Album’s Theme: In order to narrow-down the hundreds of songs from the ’20s to ’60s that are great standards, I came up with the idea of a calendar concept. There are 12 months in a year and usually there are 12ish songs on a record. And what if by listening to the whole record from start to finish it took you on this emotional musical journey for a year? So each song was assigned a month and the song I chose had to have the spirit of that month. April – April Fool’s, so my choice was “I’m A Fool to Love You” or “These Foolish Things.” “These Foolish Things” won out.
Was She Upset She Didn’t Get in Les Miserables?: No, I didn’t even audition. I was working on “Shameless” at the time they were shooting, so I wasn’t even available. I haven’t seen it but I hear it’s brilliant. I love the success of any movie musical because that opens the possibility that this could be a legitimate genre that could re-emerge. I was in “Phantom of the Opera,” that was a coveted role that everyone else wanted at that time. I feel very grateful to have had that opportunity. You can’t focus on what you don’t have.