Take Five With Quinn Lemley
Quinn Lemley star of Burlesque to Broadway and The Heat Is On!, a life in concert celebrating Rita Hayworth, an avid jazz singer of standards.
Quinn has been performing her shows around the US and Canada, in performing arts centers and casinos to "ovational roars."
Quinn performs her jazz show, Sexy, Smokin' Standards, in New York City at BB King's Blues Club and is thrilled to be "the iconic face" of The Half Note Jazz Club in Athens Greece for her hit jazz show. Her shows have toured Greece, Switzerland and China.
Quinn has recorded six CDs for HepCat Records, including Sirens, Songs of the Silver Screen, Cocktails With a Twist, Dance or Die, The Heat Is On! and Live! At The Half Note.
Teachers and/or influences?
The iconic glamorous entertainers that influenced the standards and embodied the lyrics. Such as Eartha Kitt, Cher, Bette Midler, Ann-Margret, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Julie London and Michael Bublé, to name a few.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I came out of the womb singing. Probably because my mom played jazz, standards and show tunes to me when she was pregnant. My grandmother, Granny Lemley, made sure I heard all the great crooners and big bands by the time I was 10. I was hooked on the standards.
Your sound and approach to music:
Tell a story. Lyrics are so important. You have to take the audience by the hand and take them on a journey.
Your teaching approach:
Tell the story. Get out of your way. Do something every day to add to your craft.
Your dream band:
I would love to work with Michael Bublé. He is a master. And, of course, it would be a dream to work with David Foster. He is a genius.
Road story: Your best or worst experience:
Shuffle of to Buffa, Shuffle off to Buffa, Suffle off to Buffalo. And boy, did we last October. Our show, Burlesque To Broadway, which celebrates the women who went from Burlesque, Broadway and beyond played at the Historic Riviera Theater in North Tonawanda, NY.
The seven-hour drive from New York City to Buffalo is gorgeous. Fall colors, tons of trees looking like multicolored broccoli with its unspoiled landscape. There is nothing for miles not even gas stations, only the occasional McDonald's. We were a half hour on the highway from Buffalo when all of a sudden the wall of the tire went out. Paul, our brilliant manager, calmly and safely got us to the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere. The van was lopsided. We piled out of the van; the weight of our equipment and luggage was intense. He was on the phone with AmCar, who insisted we buy a new tire and change it and bring the old one back. Where were we going to put it? How were we going to change it? Luckily, our horn section was "guy guys." Bradley, our trombonist, came to the rescue with the help of the other horns. Now, I am a workhorse and Merete, our choreographer, is a true taskmaster who didn't miss a beat; she had the girls and I on the side of the highway rehearsing the choreography. A 5,6,7,8! Trucks were swooshing by, honking; people yelling encouragement....Paul and Brent, our Musical Director, never one's to miss a PR opportunity, snatching pics. We were making a splash!
Once the tire was on, we piled back into our Muppet van and headed to the Hotel Indigo for check-in. An hour later we were at the historic Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda. Built in 1926 as a vaudeville house. You could feel the theatre ghosts of the past as we stood on stage looking out into this gorgeous purple 1400 seat theatre with pink, white and gilded walls, a huge chandelier and an actual working Wurlitzer Organ. Every night before the show, a grouch with a handlebar moustache would come in, a half hour before the show. Quite a character, he would rip open a worn saddlebag and play music on the organ. It was glorious.
Now, traditionally, in the old days, shows would try out in Buffalo before going on the road or bringing a show to New York. The theatre was built in the '20s and the soundman had trouble with our modern body micshis rig was from another era. So in rehearsal ,I had to keep making sound, so I told every corny joke I could think of. You never think anyone is paying attention at times like that, just focusing on sound quality and being able to hear in the monitor.