Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lani Hall Alpert; Steppin Out

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

Polonius:Hamlet Act 1, scene 3
William Shakespeare

The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel welcomes back, by popular demand, the multi Grammy Award-winning duo Herb Alpert and Lani Hall to the Café Carlyle for their repeat engagement at the iconic New York venue which began last night and will be and playing through Saturday, March 21.
"We had such a good time playing at The Carlyle last year. Lani and I are looking forward to our return engagement and to performing our new songs in the program," says Herb Alpert about their repeat engagement at the Café Carlyle.
Lani Hall and Herb Alpert on stage last night at The Carlyle (Source: BroadwayWorld.com,Photo Credit: Tristan Fuge)
 They will be playing songs from their next album, Steppin Out, to be released in the spring.
Lani Hall and Herb Alpert on stage last night at The Carlyle (Source: BroadwayWorld.com,Photo Credit: Tristan Fuge)
The program will include a jazz set and songbook favorites such as: Puttin' on the Ritz, "And The Angels Sing," "Up on the Roof," "Anything Goes," "Moondance," "La Vie en Rose" and a nostalgic Tijuana Brass medley.(Source: BroadwayWorld.com)

Lani also has a new book out, Emotional Memoirs ..and Short Stories.

Her first book is as free form as a jazz piece, weaving in and out of intriguing situations and indelible characters.
She writes as she sings, with emotion and passion.
-Lou Adler
Kirsten Holly Smith, Herb Alpert, Lani Hall (Source: BroadwayWorld.com,Photo Credit: Tristan Fuge)


 In celebration of these two events, Lani and I sat down last week to celebrate HER and her body of WORTH!
I asked Who Is Lani Hall Alpert...
Lani Hall is a human being. She is a woman. She is an artist. She is a wife and a mother. She is a sister and a daughter. She is a grandmother. She is putting one foot in front of the other. She loves to sing. She loves to write.

What makes Lani happy and what makes her truly unhappy?
Being in her husband's arms makes her genuinely happy. Being with him and communicating with him and connecting. Connecting with people makes Lani happy on a deeper level, on a more emotional level or a more psychological level. Being with her grandchildren makes her very happy.
Being  with her children makes her happy. Being with people that matter to her that she can speak to that aren't judging her. The wind makes her happy. Seeing as far as the eye can see.
Lou Adler, Herb Alpert and Lani Hall 1973.
Laughing. Being romantic.
Shadows make her happy. All of these things make her happy. What makes her unhappy is people not treating people with respect and acceptance. Anger, rage, seeing people get hurt. When her grandson cries, Lani has a hard time not crying with him.

One accomplishment that Lani is most proud of above all others is sharing her life with Herb and her children and bringing them into the world and try to raise them as good human beings and to be honest and to be true to themselves.Lani performs to connect.
The performing part is to connect the singing part. It doesn't really matter if someone is in front of her when she is singing because she is singing more to release what is inside of her.
As a performer, the goal is to definitely connect and to hopefully have the audience feel something.
If there were no barriers, Lani would be doing exactly what she is right now!
Lani's parents were very emotional and dramatic people and Lani never felt unloved. But she did feel isolated and a little alienated because Lani's mother was lost in her own life. She had a lot of problems. God bless her. She got through them but it was a difficult life for Lani's mother, emotionally. Lani's father had the heart of a poet, but he worked in a factory.


He supported his family. He did what he could. He was a painter, a sculptor, a poet. He loved music, especially classical music.Sometimes, when Lani would go home to their apartment after school, she would usually find her father sitting in his chair in the living room listening to classical music. He would stop her and say, "What do you think this classical music is trying to say? What's the story that you see in your mind?" She would be thirteen and fourteen years old and she would sit down and say to him, "I have no idea." He would suddenly make the music come to life by telling her a story with what he thought the music was trying to say with what the storyline was.

She would inevitably start crying, it was so touching. As a result, music became very visual to Lani because of his influence and asking her these questions. She came from a very volatile household. There was a lot of arguing and fighting in the house.
Lani has an older brother and they did not get along until she was about eighteen years old. She slept in the dining room until she was fourteen. Isolation and privacy mean a lot to Lani. She believes it comes from that. If Lani didn't do what she does, she would hope to still be doing something creative. She has always been kind of interested in medicine and psychology. Maybe she would have gone down the therapist road. She says she certainly has had enough therapy in her life! She knows the terrain!!

She likes having insight and working on things that she thinks are "hurdles" in her life and getting over them. Maybe she would have been a therapist or a social worker.
Lani actually has a feeling within her that it all just happens. It is not a conscious move to do what she does. She feels that it is necessary for her own well being and her own health and her own feeling of purpose and she feels like it takes her on a journey. When she was a young girl and she finally got her brother's bedroom after he joined the air force, she would play all these great jazz records. She would listen to Anita O'Day and Carmen McRae.
She would also listen to Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra  and Barbra Streisand and Lambert Hendricks Ross and Oscar Brown Jr and all these great artists and Lani would learn all these great songs.
But more than that, she was singing. She felt the release that it created.
She felt the space that it gave her internally. The same thing happens with writing. When Lani feels that things are piling up too much like snow drifts in her brain and she needs the release, she will either start writing or she'll start singing. It is her way of getting more in touch with herself and taking a look at what is bothering her or what is piling up in her head. It is very therapeutic for her and it always has been.
It just came naturally for her, fortunately. It was a natural route that she took in order to express herself.
Emotional Memoirs...And Short Stories
Lani has written all of her life. In the early eighties, she was writing poetry and lyrics to songs. She also started writing in a short story form. She would write these stories and she would put them in her drawer. She really had no plans for them. Then, a couple of years ago, a friend of hers was recuperating from surgery, and she was so bored sitting in her apartment trying to heal that Lani thought it might be interesting for her to read a story about Lani when she was sick.
Lani gave it to her and she loved it and asked Lani if she had any more stories. Lani started looking in her drawers and started pulling them out and sent them to her and at the end of about ten stories, she was so encouraging and said to Lani, "I think you've got a book here." When she said that, Lani's eyes widened and she started reading these stories that she had been putting in drawers and decided that were "disconnected" a what could connect them? She wrote a narrative which became the memoir part of the book. They are a collection of ten short stories but they are connected by this narrative before each story. When she did that, if felt as if she had finished a piece that she was satisfied with and decided to publish it.

There are three stories that are non fiction and the rest are fiction. There are pieces of Lani in all of the stories. Lani thinks some of them are very strange. When she was writing the stories, she could hear the music behind certain scenes like movie music. So, when she was approached to do the audio book, that was the first thing she got excited about. She thought, "Oh my Gosh!
I'm going to try and put music to these stories." She was fortunate enough to find Extreme Music Catalog
There is all of this movie music that you can lease. That is what Lani did. She chose the music that she felt matched the scenes in each story and it just came to life.
She was really excited to do the audio book. That is what is coming out now. I have my own and I LOVE IT!
I asked Lani what the lowest point of her career was and how she surpassed it. In the 80s, she contacted Epstein-Barr virus which is commonly called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Lani had just done the Never Say Never Again soundtrack and her album was doing very well and she was very excited about traveling and this just flattened her. Around that same time, she won a Grammy. She was really ready to go!
She couldn't do anything. It just really stopped her in her tracks. When it comes to career lows, that was the lowest. It was also one of the low points in her life, and yet, even so, she learned so much from that experience, so she can't really fault it all the way. That was when she started to ask herself what to do instead of asking doctors. They had no answers and it was really frustrating  and discouraging. So when she started asking herself, she started getting answers and that really reinforced her intuitive sense.
That has come in very handy in Lani's life.

Herb Alpert and Lani Hall Present at the 4th Annual American Music Awards
Who are Lani's artistic heroes? Those who have had an impact on her life.
Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, Irving Berlin, The Gershwins, Judy Garland, June Christie, Anita O'Day, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Vincent van Gogh, Willem de Kooning, the Impressionists. Her husband, Herb Alpert, is her greatest inspiration.
He is the most creative person Lani has ever met and she lives with him. So she is around it all the time. He paints, he sculpts, he has his music. He is arranging, producing. He is a right-brain person and he is very inspiring to live twenty-four hours a day with. It is inspiring to be with someone that artistic and talented.
He is her number one.
Lani doesn't have to try very hard.

 Her artistic side has taken her on this remarkable journey. She practices every day and that really helps. If they are on the road or if she has days off and they don't do that, she does not feel quite right.Things start to build up inside her and she needs to express something creatively. That's really her vehicle for expression.
Lani "journals" every day. As far as writing goes, she writes about five times a week.
Lani and Herb live in Los Angeles. The very first page of Emotional Memoirs is about the light in Chicago (where she grew up).

She started writing about Chicago a lot for some reason and she was really surprised. She did not imagine that Chicago was such an important character in her life. It turned out that it really had quite a strong effect on the way she sees things. She is more of a city girl than she is a Los Angeles, Californian. She does like it there. Considering what we have just gone through this winter in New York, I'll gladly change places. 
Lani Hall and Herb Alpert on stage last night at The Carlyle (Source: BroadwayWorld.com,Photo Credit: Tristan Fuge)
When we sat down for our phone chat, Lani told me it was seventy degrees there!
She likes Los Angeles but she has to say that she feels more at home in a city.
If Lani could sit down with herself fifteen years ago, she would say to herself, RELAX and don't take everything so seriously. 
The older you get, the more you realize "Swing with it. Go with in. Don't fight it so hard. It's not going to be that important to you at some point."
Lani's father used to quote Shakespeare, " This above all: to thine own self be true..."
She didn't know what that meant when he would say it when she was growing up in Chicago. But as she got older, she started understanding that if you are not true to yourself, you are never going to be happy. You can't be yourself and be around people that appreciate you and accept you unless they know who YOU are. Everybody else is saying, "Wow! This is the greatest! We love this." It doesn't matter. It matters what you think about what you do.
What is Lani's guilty pleasure? Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Catch Lani and Herb at the Carlyle through the next two weeks. After this, they are doing five cities in a three week tour.
They are then back home for ten days before going to Japan. They do a week there. Every month, they are doing something through December. In June, they will be with a Symphony Orchestra. They are on the road back and forth.
If Lani could let go of anything that has held her back, it would be fear.
Lani, and I, are both in disbelief of the "age" she is right now. I cannot believe she is going to be seventy years old. She doesn't even know what that means.She cannot connect with that. Herb is going to be eighty. He looks like he's sixty-two! This preconceived photograph in Lani's mind of what those ages look like is not how they feel. She cannot
relate to the numbers any more.
AS if all that I've mentioned here is not enough, Lani is at this stage one hundred pages into her next book which is just starting to take on a life of it's own. A lot of it is about her parents and it will be a non-fiction book so far. We'll see where it takes her.
Where does Lani feel the most authentic? In her husband's arms. 

Thank to Lani and Herb Alpert for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!

With grateful XOXOXs ,

 



 

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Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!    
            
February 25th, 1986 - After spending all day sick in bed, Lani Hall attends the 1986 Grammy Awards Ceremony. Her husband, Herb Alpert, announces Hall as the recipient of the “Best Latin Pop Performance” award for her work on Es Facil Amar.

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!



The Café Carlyle is located in The Carlyle Hotel - 35 East 76th Street at Madison Avenue. The performance schedule is: Tuesday-Saturday at 8:45 PM. Tuesday through Thursday there is a $95 music charge ($60 bar seating, $145 premium seating). Fridays and Saturdays there is a $110 music charge ($60 bar seating, $160 premium seating).
Dinner is served from 6:30PM. For reservations please call 212-744-1600. For additional information please visit www.thecarlyle.com.Playing through Saturday, March 21.
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Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com










2 comments:

  1. What an amazing entry. The photos are so touching as are the sentiments. I completely related to this as my boyfriend and I are a musical couple. Well done Richard! Jen

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  2. I've seen a couple of other events at other places, but this was my first time in here. It was amazing! Great venue, it's smaller than those bigger places but it is still a fair sized venue. Food at party places Miami was great and I think it's recently renovated - it didn't seem old or anything.

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