In conversation with singer JD Smith

To Hal & Bacarach preformed by JD Smith and Cosima De Vito at The Regal Theatre plays tribute to the music of the legendary songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

We chat with singer/songwriter JD Smith ahead of what’s set to be a beautiful and intimate concert.

What inspired you to pay tribute to Burt Bacharach and Hal David with this concert?

It’s a singers dream to sing these songs. As performers we are always searching for great live show concepts. To Hal & Bacharach (pretty clever I know), was a concert idea that my manager Robert Rigby thought of. When he mentioned it to me I instantly jumped at the chance to put this show together.

How did you and Cosima De Vito come together to collaborate on this project?

Cosima recorded a duet “Next To Me” that I wrote for my latest album Soul Searchin’ and we have been wanting to sing live together ever since! I asked her if she would be interested in doing a show celebrating the songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David and of course she said yes! She then mentioned that these were her favourite songs of all time and she had been singing so many of them for years already.

Burt Bacharach and Hal David created an extensive catalogue of beloved songs. How did you narrow down the selection for the concert? Are there any favourites you’re excited to perform?

Of course the very well known songs like “I Say a Little Prayer”, “(They Long to Be) Close to You”, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”, were always going to be a part of the show, however, It was so great diving into some of the hidden gems beyond the hits. Songs like “24 Hours from Tulsa” and “Blue on Blue” I’m really excited to sing. When we were deciding on which songs to include I mentioned to Cosima that I’d love to sing “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself”, she kindly agreed that I could do it and then a few days later she said, “You know that’s my most favourite song and I was so looking forward to singing it” haha! So now I better do a great job with it!

The music of Bacharach and David has resonated with audiences for decades. What do you think makes their songs so enduring and timeless?

I think it’s because the melodies are beautiful and easy to sing along with, the lyrics tell stories that so many of us can relate to and the songs were recorded by some of the best singers in the world, Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield, Gene Pitney to name a few. I just don’t think music/songs are written like this anymore and that’s why they stand the test of time, they are just so good.

As a performer, how do you approach interpreting and bringing your own style to these classic songs while still honoring the original compositions?

I guess that’s the ultimate goal for me as a performer, to be able to sing songs written by other
songwriters and make them sound and feel like they were written by me! I have always been able to “Feel” a song when I sing it! I’m definitely honoring the style of the songs, for instance, “The Story of My Life” sung by Marty Robbins is a little bit country, so I’ll put on my best country voice!!

What can audiences expect from the concert experience of “To Hal and Bacharach”? Are there any surprises or unique elements that you’re incorporating into the show?

Audiences can expect to hear all their favourite Bacharach and David songs plus many that they might not have heard before. Cosima and I are joined by the piano playing genius Glenn Armer, so it’s going to be a beautifully intimate concert showcasing our voices and these perfect songs.

There are a couple of duets that Bacharach wrote with other songwriters that we decided we had to add Including “On my Own” which was sung by Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald. So lets just say it’s going to be a wonderful afternoon of music.

To Hal & Bacharach

17 June, 2023

The Regal Theatre, Kensington Park

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