Josh Groban is intimidating to sing with him

Renee Olstead

Renee Olstead is the surprise of the year. At first glance, one hardly connects the songs on her debut album with the person of the artist. Finally, here is a complete collection of some of the most popular standards in the Great American Songbook, from "Summertime" to "Someone To Watch Over Me", from "What A Difference A Day Makes" to "Sentimental Journey" to "A Love That Will." Last, ”a stunning new ballad from Renee Olstead's mentor and producer David Foster (the acclaimed producer of Josh Groban, Michael Bublé and Celine Dion).

All songs that have memories of the glamor and flair of great singers from Billie Holiday to Judy Garland (and far beyond). It takes a lot of self-confidence, not to say Chutzpe, to put these classics on the program and make them your own.

Now you have to imagine that you can achieve all of this at the tender age of 14. It is hardly surprising that Renee Olstead turns heads and wins hearts wherever she steps in front of a microphone! But what starts as a mere surprise - that such a rich and expressive voice can come from such a young artist - soon turns into pure joy in the stylistic sensitivity and perfect craftsmanship of this child prodigy from Texas. If you still can't get sound and artist together, you should just close your eyes and listen.

14 is actually not the age to have achieved anything, especially the nuanced and confident interpretations that adorn the dozen selected pieces on Renee's debut. And yet Renee Olstead already has an impressive résumé in show business. That can happen when you start your career at the age of five.

Born in Houston to the only child of creatively supportive parents, Renee grew up in an eclectic musical atmosphere. She remembers her first CD purchase: an album by Celine Dion. Without taking music lessons, she sang along with the radio all the time - not without giving the hits of the day her own spin. And so Renee soon found herself on the stages of local music theater productions and talent competitions.

Music was just one element in the mix that made the Renee Olstead phenomenon. As a natural actor, Renee has been in front of the camera for almost as long as she sings. She can be seen in blockbuster hits like The Insider alongside Russell Crowe, End of Days with Arnold Schwarzenegger and the upcoming 13 Going on 30 alongside Jennifer Garner. Equally impressive is the list of television appearances by this young entertainer, whose most recent entry is a role in the CBS-TV comedy Still Standing.

Fortunately, it was precisely this steep acting career that led Renee Olstead to make her debut as the most surprising jazz voice of our day. Renee had moved to Los Angeles to film Still Standing and while she was receiving her schooling in home courses, she also found time to perform with a jazz and swing band in well-known Hollywood hotspots such as The Madison or The Derby. When it turned out that her evening engagements could not be reconciled with the days of shooting, she decided to record a CD as a memento of her work with the band. Together they documented some of the songs that were later selected for Renee's major label debut.

This CD, actually only intended as a personal souvenir, found its way a long way to the desk of David Foster, who won no less than 14 Grammys® as a musician and producer and, as a talent scout, has a reputation for recognizing the good when he does it listens - including Renee's early idol: Celine Dion.

In this case, Foster heard a very young artist with an extraordinary talent who was able to bring fresh inspiration and a lively personality to songs that place the highest demands on her singer. Foster got in touch immediately through their mutual friend Jami Gertz, who is Renee's colleague at Still Standig, in order to make Renee Olstead an offer for exclusive recordings very soon. So work on Renee's debut album began at the end of last year, the recordings timed with her duties while shooting. “I love acting,” she says, “but the music I'm most passionate about. I was determined to give this album all I have, even if it meant working every minute on it that I wasn't studying or spent on the set. And it needed that too. "

The work began with the selection of the songs, which in addition to the above-mentioned evergreens also include "Taking a Chance on Love", "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby", "Meet Me, Midnight", "Sunday Kind of." Includes Love "and" Slow Boat To China ". Also includes a duet with Peter Cincotti - the Neil Sedaka hit "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do", a great version of Maria Muldaur's "Midnight At The Oasis" and "A Love That Will Last", which David Foster and his wife Linda Thompson wrote specifically for Renee.

Renee explains, "I came to David with a list of songs I love. I knew a lot of this material had been edited by some of the greatest female artists ever, and of course it was a little intimidating. I wanted to do them justice, but I was too grateful for the opportunity to keep the flame alive by renewing this music for my generation and introducing it to them. Some will not take me seriously because of my age, but that won't stop me. This music belongs to all of us "- and no one more than a young woman at the beginning of a glorious career.