Just in time for some of the more enterprising electoral announcements regarding the 2020 presidential campaign (and in part, via the ardent encouragement of family and friends) Roslyn Kind has released a masterful musical number echoing, yet overcoming, the signs of the times by way of her all too textural and formidable remake of the Laura Nyro Classic “Save the Country.” Set for additional launch in mid-2019 as part of Kind’s next full album, more sentiment where “that came from” is nothing less than supplementary!
According to Kind, “I thought this would be the right time to release this first single from the compilation … so we are doing so digitally. I hope you enjoy it! It has been a creative journey of love this time around. Collaborating with the multi-talented producer/arranger extraordinaire, Stephan Oberhoff, my time in studio is inspiring me to take more chances vocally and arrangement wise … ’try being a little more out of the box’. So far, we have four completed masters ready to go as we are on our fifth work in progress. Luckily, we have had the luxury of time to experiment with different ideas. I have never before worked this way and I must say it keeps the process exciting!”
While undeniably one of the most diverse incarnations of “Save the Country” ever made, it all started on a new musical path of its own when Kind’s producer/arranger Stephan Oberoff played a single chord reminiscent of Stephen Stills’ “For What it’s Worth.” From thereon out, the initial rockabilly-turned-swing-into-jazz remake was set for said tune Kind originally associates as a pacifying, yet empowering antidote at the height of the nation’s political unrest during her teenage years.
And it applies in almost more relevant and crucial fashion today. Borrowing a little from Delta Blues replete with slide guitars, sliding right into R & B Shuffle, invoking a little bit of saxophone action, veering into soaring violin appeal and culminating in Gospel delight, this jam is just what the doctor ordered as a prescription for all things politically provoking and socially stultifying.
A vibrant force with which to be reckoned, in both the acting world and musical domain, Kind has not only generated a number of critically acclaimed recordings, but also sung to packed houses on Broadway and performed in some of the world’s most superlative venues and nightclubs! One of her most recent stand out gigs encompassed travelling with family as she and her sister Barbra Streisand sang to sold-out venues across the U.S. and Canada. The piece the de resistance: a duet of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” which was dubbed “simply magical” and echoed by the Montreal Gazette as “the exact right ending to a night of showbiz perfection!”
Having recorded her very first album for RCA on the day of her high school graduation no less, her original LP “Give Me You” encompassed Lennon/McCartney’s “Fool On The Hill,” Neil Diamond’s “A Modern Day Version Of Love” and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill’s “The Shape Of Things To Come.”
A proud child of the sixties, said personal creative chronology fuels not only her compassion, but her artistic vision to this day!
And illustrate her creative process she did, as I caught up with Ms. Kind at Blue Bottle Coffee in Beverly Hills on a Sunny Saturday afternoon. Her first point of clarification centered around the import of the original Laura Nyro incarnation:
“And you remember her from way back – Laura Nyro?”
I looked her up and I heard the original, which I remembered, and then I heard the new song and I just loved how you changed it up!
Thank you. We had to because so many people cut it. They all did covers in the 70s. And we had to listen to all these different arrangements, because it’s basically a one sentence song that is repeated… There were times when we had to put it down and go to another song because we were stuck… We had to come up with something very different considering all the arrangements that were out there from the past. So, we took our time… [Then] my producer and I came up with this incredible idea, and you can’t even pigeon hole it because it goes from swamp/southern swamp, to jazz, to Manhattan Transfer and African Beat, and Gospel. We just did everything, but it made it exciting!
I’m sure! Because I was going to say it sounded like Manhattan Transfer at certain points, and swing, totally… And how did you come up with infusing the different genres in the song? Was it partly for diversity’s sake…?
We had to come up with something ingenious to be different than what [had already] been done. So, like I said, we took … a lot of time with that song and we layered it…and we layered it with our voices. We brought in a Brazilian violinist, and this great sax player … It’s very colorful. I’m so proud of it. We’re getting great response … but the important thing is the message … Because we’re in a place right now that we can get out of. And people need to know they can speak up… I remember when I was in school, I never opened up my mouth. I always was Ms. Goody Two Shoes, I always raised my hand, but I was never one that voiced [her opinion] and when I went into show business, I had people in my family [say] “Oh she’ll never go into show business. She’s too shy.” But I also had a weight problem when I was a kid so that made me shyer of being in the public… but when I got out into the world from the stage, I was able to voice how I feel… And It’s the people’s voices that can put an end to what is going on here. But we all have to come together in harmony and peace, and we can’t be afraid of each other. We have to get to know each other and love each other. We all have the same color blood. We all come from the same energy source of the universe. We are all brothers and sisters. And we have to…stop being afraid of each other, talk honestly, and come out and fight for what’s right. Who wants to lose our Democracy? Who wants hatred going around this country? I know it was there under a rock for a long time and sometimes you say, “Well maybe it’s good that it came out so now we confront it.” But I don’t like the violence that comes out of it… I just read before I met you, [about] another shooting of five people in Louisiana. This is insanity! Children in schools…this has got to stop… I want to bring people together… I want unconditional love. This is what God brought us all here to do… I’ve done my soul searching. When I got lost in my path in 1984, I did a lot of reading on the New Age, and I realized…then that it doesn’t make a lot of sense that we’re here one time around…I even had a regression…to a previous lifetime…
In 1984 I had a regression, and it took me back to a previous lifetime in Lemuria where I was a guy [with] the white pantaloons, the sandals, and the Turban, and I had a fight over a girl [I and this other guy] were in love with… In the duel unfortunately, the girl accidentally got hurt and both of us lost her. It just goes to show you, you can’t be fighting all the time. But…when I did my word associations from [the experience I found that] it basically means that all the lifetimes I have come into, I was looking for that woman, that woman I fell in love with in that lifetime; not necessarily a woman this time, it’s a man… But the point is…I’m still looking for that love. And then in the word associations [I did afterward] it came out to be “Universal” “Harmony” “World” “Peace” “Love”. And from that searching…I found out what my purpose was in this lifetime. It was to heal, to heal people’s hearts, to heal the world, to bring it together.
Were there any more parts to that regression, or just that one particular duel scene?
You know, for whatever reason, some people get a regression and they go back into the birth canal and they see all of that. They go backwards and they see several lifetimes. [In] my regression, I did not see my birth. I went totally to this one lifetime: Totally and only. So just shows how powerful that lifetime must have been ‘cause nothing else came true.
Now, did people look different back then? Did they have a more animalistic features?
No. Pantaloons, clear skin, the turban, the white turban. Everything was white, and sandals, a stone hut…
Wow! So, we didn’t look like aliens then…
No. We looked like ourselves. And it was just very peaceful, until I had to have this duel ‘cause this guy challenged me. You see stories like that all the time, the innocent one gets killed. It’s terrible. But to transfer that into the coming world: the world. [The dying woman] stood for the world. ‘Cause in my word association it became the world. Looking for the world. Not about looking for the one person.
Wow I’m glad I asked again. I thought yes you were interested in healing the world and that was part of it, but that you were also still looking for the male that embodied that female.
No. No. Right away it became the world. Crystal clear… Crystal clear… Then I’ve had sessions and I’ve been told I worked with dolphins in Atlantis. So, [it all comes back to]…healing.
Yes. I have heard that swimming with dolphins is very healing. Did you ever swim with a dolphin in this lifetime?
No. I wanted to. Maybe I did in a previous lifetime. But I love Dolphins and I love the animal kingdom.
So how did you regress back? Were you hypnotized…?
Well partially. I kind of heard everything I said. But I was amazed, and I said, “Oh my God, I’m a man!” It was very, very interesting. But I was…reading all about the New Age ‘cause I had gone to a place in my life where I had been married and divorced… So I had to figure out…“What is my path?” …I’ve had my ups, my downs, my sideway moves, and because I love what I do, and I love to touch people’s hearts, I love to look in people’s eyes when I’m performing. I have an empathic quality…and I can see when people are not happy… and I want people’s hearts to be touched to the point where they know there’s more in life than hatred. I really feel like we can make Heaven on earth here if we all used our light: the light that’s within instead of all the other stuff that we didn’t come into the world with.
So, that said, do you prefer a bigger venue or a smaller venue?
I love the [small ones and] the big ones too…I did a 20,000 seater with my sister [Barbra Streisand] when we were on tour. That felt so great looking up at the rafters, [with] people yelling down [at you]…’Cause I really think, if you are into your lyrics, and believe what you’re saying, and the music is great, that you can reach the person in the rafters [so that they can] feel that they’re being sung to one on one. I think it’s up to the performer to make a big room small…
Now, how long have you had this idea for this single, and obviously the album that’s to follow, how long has it been in the making, and what prompted it…?
I waited a long time to do another album — CD, I’m giving my age – album.
No, don’t worry, they’re still called albums…
Because I wanted to do the right songs for me, and I got really active this time around… politically…
You’ve got to.
I never was before this election. 2016, made me. And I just can’t see injustice. I just can’t see…lying…I don’t want to be lied to. I want transparency. I’ve never had…this feeling of distrust for my government like I do now, and I know there’s a lot of good people in it too… and I just want people to speak up. If we all speak up uniformally … we have to make a difference. And we’ve got to stop voter suppression. There’s so many things, when you’re asked a question, “What is it you don’t like,” there’s too many things to list. (laugh). Because I love people with intelligence. I love them to have compassion, integrity. I want them to be soulful and still be able to lead with strength. But for the right reasons! For the right things!
And he didn’t even take this election seriously… It’s like Robert Redford in The Candidate, except Robert Redford probably would have done way better job, ‘Cause he was actually concerned at the end…like, “What do we do now?”
I think the public is being usurped and undermined. It’s just not right. When I grew up everybody…even if you were middle class, [was] happy. They all had a life, they all had their vacation, the kids went to school, public schools were doing well. I went to public school in Brooklyn. Public schools were very highly regarded. Why are we having trouble with school today?
It shouldn’t be.
I remember taking regents exams. They compared us to all the schools in the New York state and it’s like if somebody was failing, they could make it up in the regents exam. But the whole basis of it was a higher standard. But it was regular living. It was middle class… I lived in a melting pot: Brooklyn New York. We had the protestant church, the catholic church, the Jewish Synagogue… We had Chinese restaurants, pizza — and we all partook. I got along with all my neighbors…I remember a girl in my third-grade class who came from Egypt, and one from Israel and I loved my teachers. It was a whole different time. It just feels like it’s been taken from us… but I’m hoping that with the changes that come…[people will] see it finally. Because when it comes to the end result, they will realize they didn’t get anything, and they are being taken from. I’m sorry that it has to take that much to open the head…to open the brain.
And when your entire album is released, what do you hope will be its biggest influence?
Well, this was one that was definitely aimed at the times. And I did it years ago… in 1990… I did a New Age show…about one-on-one love, learning to love yourself, loving with your partner, love [between] groups of people…country to country, it was a whole [show] about coming together, but it was too early for its time. So basically…this period had to be the time. So that’s what made me do Save the Country …And then in the early 90s we wrote…my musical director, Michael Orland and our friend Judy, wrote Light is Love and I performed it across country when I was touring. And people asked about it. But I never recorded it — until now. And I think that’s going to be the next release ‘cause I’ll be releasing singles until I build up to the album. We have four completed… we worked [a long time] on each one to make them special…and then I have four or five more to [record after that]… Light of Love [explores the idea that] when you love somebody it’s like a mirror into your heart and [it’s about two people giving each other light]… And you may have to go away, but you’ll come back ‘cause you have to leave to find your path. Not for a bad reason, for a good reason. To Grow. (singing) “To find the way of your heart sometimes you must say goodbye and trust that time will take you where, your greatest visions lie.” …We did Native Drums on it. My producer and I played different Native drums on it. And the reason I love this song is because in 1987 I climbed Bell Rock in Sedona during the harmonic convergence. That is what instigated this song to be written in the 90s…and so I’ve done it in my shows, but not recently, and I felt that this is the time that this needs to be [included]… And I do have a couple of songs that are for my show, but they’re also about one-on-one love, but they’re more standards…medleys of two songs that meld into each other, that grow into a story. I love story songs. That’s what I love about theatre. I love the story songs…
Like Country Western Music.
I once did a Country Western song. You want to hear this one? It’s called It’s so Hard to Keep Kosher on the Road. (singing) “It’s so hard to keep kosher on the road. — Yee Haw — Lord I have to bear a heavy load. Oh, its truly in my wishes, to use different sets of dishes, it’s so hard to keep kosher on the road.” (laughter) I don’t ever want to be pigeon holed you know what I mean? So, I’m doing a little jazz now, but I always did contemporary. I did ballads, I do theatre. I do fun songs… You have to laugh. You have to have all facets. It’s entertaining. You can’t just stand there singing. I like to get everybody involved. I talk to people in my audience. That’s me!
And to echo her ideals of getting people involved and bringing not only all manner of people together by way of a multitude of musical styles, Ms. Kind could only conclude our interview thusly:
“I just want America back… I love our constitution. I love our mountain ranges. They shouldn’t be destroyed… What is it “O beautiful… from sea to shining sea”? This is who we are, and I want that back. I want our democracy back. I want equality, more than we had before. This should be about getting it completed and done in the right way, to the right end, to the right goal to the country we were meant to be!”
To view Roslyn Kind’s ground breaking new single “Save the Country”, please visit:
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