Warner Bros. Records has announced that it has signed vocalist and award-winning actress Emmy Rossum to its roster. The New York City native will release her first album for the label, a collection of covers of classic songs that span the '20s to the '60s entitled SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY, today, January 29th, 2013.
The album's highlights include its title track, which was a No. 1 hit for Les Brown and His Band of Renown with Doris Day as the vocalist in 1945; "These Foolish Things," a '30s standard that has been recorded by everyone from Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby to Rod Stewart and Michael Bublé; "Summer Wind," which was popularized by Frank Sinatra in 1966; and "I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time," which was a Top 5 hit for the Andrews Sisters in 1941.
"I grew up surrounded by classical music singing in the Children's Chorus at The Metropolitan Opera and when I would come home, the house was filled with the voices of Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, and Judy Garland," Rossum says. "For as long as I can remember, my mother would sing 'Apple Blossom Time' to me as a bedtime lullaby. Classics, jazz, and standards really infused my childhood and so it felt quite natural to finally make this record."
Last winter, Rossum hit upon the idea to make an album that felt like a musical calendar, an album that would take listeners on an emotional Journey through the 12 months of the year. "Each song needed to either lyrically or emotionally reflect the corresponding month," Rossum explains. "Some songs were obvious fits, like 'Summer Wind' for June, 'Apple Blossom Time' for May, 'Autumn Leaves' for October, and 'Pretty Paper' for December. Others songs were less literal fits. I chose 'Nobody Knows You (When You're Down and Out)' for September because, to me, the plaintive melody and lyric emotionally reflect the cold weather creeping in and the sense of melancholy we can get in the fall months."
Recorded over three days at The Village in Los Angeles, Sentimental Journey was produced by Rossum's friend Stuart Brawley, who also co-wrote and produced her 2007 album Inside Out. "I wanted the record to sound authentically of the era, which is why I had all the musicians play live together in one room while I sang on a vintage mic in the vocal booth," Rossum says. "I love the sound of 1920's records, like the Bessie Smith songs I grew up listening to, which is why we mastered to tape. I wanted the record to have the harmonic influences of The Andrews Sisters and the swing of Sinatra records, but wanted it to also feel authentically me."
Rossum is also an acclaimed actress who currently stars in the Showtime dark comedy series Shameless with William H. Macy. She also stars alongside Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons, and Viola Davis in the upcoming Warner Bros. Pictures feature film Beautiful Creatures, which hits theaters on February 13th, 2013. Rossum's other film credits include Poseidon, Mystic River, The Phantom of the Opera (for which she received a Golden Globe Award nomination), and Songcatcher (which earned her an Independent Spirit nomination). But even with her busy acting career, making Sentimental Journey is a project that is close to Rossum's heart.
"Whenever I have an artistic compulsion, I follow it," she says. "For a while I had been feeling a strong desire to make music again and a strong desire to make this kind of music -- songs written and recorded before music became synthesized and computerized-sounding, when it was just simple, beautiful songs and someone standing up and singing them. I know there are generations that are familiar with this music and the original versions, but there's also a whole generation that isn't and I really want to share these songs with that younger generation as well. I've always gravitated towards a more classic vocal approach, which likely stems from my training as a child, so I feel incredibly comfortable and happy singing these songs."