Chicago’s Dee Alexander releases new album dedicated to her momCHICAGO CRUSADER published: July 25, 2014
Acclaimed Chicago vocalist and 2012 3Arts Awardee Dee Alexander will present songs from her new album “Songs My Mother Loves” in two concerts slated for the evening of Friday, August 1, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. The concerts will be held at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts. Recorded under the Blujazz label, the CD consists of selections of classic jazz that her mother listened to when Dee was a child, and was largely funded by Dee’s 3Arts Award and subsequent 3AP (3Arts Artists Projects) campaign—an online crowd funding platform that allows patrons to invest directly in the work of Chicago artists. Since launching in late 2011, 100 percent of 3AP projects have secured full funding. “Dee’s beautiful tribute to her mother is a perfect example of why 3Arts is dedicated to supporting Chicago artists,” said 3Arts Executive Director Esther Grimm. “In the past six years, 3Arts has distributed more than $1 million to Chicago’s women artists, artists of color and artists with disabilities. “Songs My Mother Loves” has been a labor of love for Dee, and it is pure joy to have helped her see it to fruition and to be in her audience.” A sampling from the forthcoming CD included “As Long as You’re Living,” “Now Baby or Never” and “Nature Boy”—songs so smooth and easygoing, but yet with a distinct jazzy groove that is undeniably Alexander’s unique style. “Songs My Mother Loves” is intended not only to express thanks and pay tribute to Alexander’s mother for her inspiration and influence, but also to pay homage to the music that has become such a significant part of her life. Some of Alexander’s fondest childhood memories are of awakening many early mornings to the voices of Ella, Sarah, Dinah and Nina—to name a few. She explained this project and the tribute that she felt was necessary to honor her mother: “This project is so dear to me because of the love that my mother and I share for each other,” said Alexander. “I thank her for providing structure in my life, and if it were not for her, I would not be on this path. At an early age she exposed me to this great music.” Alexander was humbled for the love and support of the Chicago community that donated to the 3AP project funding and appreciates 3Arts’ involvement in this creative endeavor. “I happily share with you some of the music that my mother and I love, which could not be possible without your assistance and support.” Alexander also offered advice for aspiring jazz artists. “My mantra is to thine own self be true. If you believe in what you are doing and feel good about it, you cannot go wrong,” she said. “Audiences can detect if what you do is truly from your heart or whether it is a gimmick. I also attribute it [my success] to surrounding myself with great musicians who happen to be my friends who support me in every project that I develop. It is humbling and mind boggling at the same time.” There are many venues in Chicago, and Alexander noted that the recently closed Katerina’s was a great environment for entertaining guests. “It was warm and inviting and was like you were entertaining guests in your living room. Katerina is a powerful woman who loves the music and took it very seriously,” Alexander added. “She went out of her way to provide the best entertainment for her clientele and a wonderful working environment for the musicians and staff.” Tickets for the August 1 concerts are $20 general admission, $10 for students, and $50 for VIP Seating including a CD at the concert. Alexander will be available after each performance to sign CDs in the Logan Center lobby. For more information, visit http://ticketsweb.uchicago.edu. About 3Arts: Driven by the belief that the vitality and creative spirit of Chicago is reliant upon a diverse spectrum of artistic voices, 3Arts is a nonprofit organization that advocates for Chicago’s women artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities who work in the performing (dance, music and theater), teaching and visual arts. By providing cash awards, project funding, residency fellowships, professional development and promotion, 3Arts helps artists take risks, experiment and focus on their creative process.
PHOTO: Dee Alexander via Chicago Crusader