A number of actors — Kevin Bacon, Russell Crowe and Keanu Reeves to name a few — have tried their hands at the music business as well. But you might be surprised to learn that Molly Ringwald’s career in music predates her acting career. Basically owning the ‘80s teen-movie genre by starring in such films as Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink and The Breakfast Club, Ringwald never lost her love of jazz music and singing. In April, she released Except…Sometimes (Concord Records), a collection of standards from the Great American Songbook. On Friday, January 17 and Saturday, January 18, Ringwald and her combo will perform at the Hoover Library Theatre. Recently, we caught up with her by phone.
Brent Thompson: Molly, thanks for your time – we are really enjoying Except…Sometimes. How did you select the material from all of the standards available to you?
Molly Ringwald: That’s a good question. It was difficult because there are so many great songs. I had just started to work with my band in 2008 and we went through all these songs that we grew up on and that I loved and we just started to put together this repertoire. Then, it became a matter of what kind of groove sounded great with all of us. Sometimes you’ll really like a song, but it doesn’t really come together with a band.
BT: When recording standards, is there a challenge in maintaining the integrity of the songs while placing your own stamp on them?
MR: I think I’m pretty classical in terms of my Jazz singing. I pay a lot of attention to the melody – I improvise a little bit – but I think more than most singers I like to keep the integrity of the original melody. I try to pick songs that are standards, but a little more obscure – ones that maybe haven’t been heard quite as much.
BT: When performing live, do you ever feel you have to get past the perception of being an “actress first” in the eyes of the audience?
MR: I don’t really think about it that much. Most people that know me – or know my career – know that I’ve been [singing] longer than I’ve been doing anything else. I started when I was three and figured I would grow up and do something in music and the acting ended up taking over.
BT: How do you approach the different facets of your career? Is there a way to compare the give-and-take between screen acting and singing on stage?
MR: I think every creative endeavor has its own kind of magic and I feel really fortunate that I can do so many different things. I’m a natural-born multi-tasker – I really like to stretch and do different stuff. Touring can be exhausting – I don’t like spending time away from my family – but there’s just something that I get onstage that I don’t get anywhere else.
Tickets to the 8 p.m. shows are $25 and can be purchased at www.hooverlibrary.org.