I was born in 1970, which means the music of Judy Collins was woven into the fabric of my childhood. When I was asked to interview her, I was honored and humbled. This incredible singer continues to make magic and will be appearing at Boettcher Hall on Mother’s Day, performing the songs of Stephen Sondheim.
Tell me about your new project.
I am very excited about it – and have been waiting to pull this together for a long time. I love “Send In The Clowns” which was written by Stephen in 1973 and my recording of it was his first top ten hit. We will be performing a bouquet of my favorite Sondheim songs, in the beautiful Boettcher Hall. I will interweave some of my other classics, of course, but it will truly be a “A Love Letter to Stephen Sondheim.”
You grew up in Denver?
My father took a job there in 1949, so I was in Denver as a teenager. I loved it and Colorado. I still try to visit as often as I can.
You still tour a lot, what’s your secret?
Not getting sick, like I am now! (Note, we had to postpone our interview once due to a bad cold, but Judy was well on her way to recovery.) Seriously, I think continuing to work and being disciplined is what keeps me going. My last album (Strangers Again) was a selection of duets with all different kinds of singers, which was fun and energizing. I have a new album coming in 2016 and there will be a tour with that too. I have had a long-standing relationship with PBS and the projects with them have been fantastic – they are such a strong force for good in the music industry.
How do you feel your voice has changed over the years?
I have been lucky that it has held up. It’s rare and I am blessed.
You are active on social media. How has that changed your relationship with fans?
I love the interaction! It’s very complimentary to a music career – seeing people in real life and then online, sharing and creating. I take photos, write poems, share my paintings on social media – it all brings us closer.
What are your feelings on the changes in music distribution and streaming services?
Streaming makes us work harder for every penny, for sure. You have to wear 400 hats and be very involved. I am lucky that I have great people who help me with distribution and management, all that. But it’s not easy now. Although, to be honest, it’s never been easy. Artists struggle in every generation.
Who is a current artist you like?
I just love Adele. She is amazing. But it’s also fun to watch my contemporaries who are still out there kicking ass. I also have my own record label, so the people we have brought on there are wonderful.
What will the Denver show be like?
Oh, it will be a beautiful show with lovely songs! I can’t wait to come back to Colorado.
You overcame a lot throughout your life. Do you have any words of wisdom to share?
Never give up! Do what you can. Get help. There are places to go for healing; reach out. Life on the planet requires art. While we’re here, let’s change some lives!
Judy Collins certainly has changed a lot of lives… through her voice, activism and strength. I can’t wait to see her here in Denver and watch the DVD that will be a result of the show.
There are still a few tickets left for “A Love Letter To Stephen Sondheim” and you can pre-order the DVD through her website.