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Melody's Miscellaneous: Interview with Jan Daley

A singer, songwriter, and actress, Jan Daley had starred in musicals, made numerous television appearances, and toured as a featured vocalist with Bob Hope before launching her own recording career. Carrying a buttery, resonant vocal tone, she specializes in versions of the Great American Songbook as well as writing and recording original songs that have landed her on the jazz charts. A native of Inglewood, California, Daley took piano and singing lessons and began performing in musicals as a child. As a young adult in the '60s, she was crowned Miss California. The exposure led to starring roles in stage musicals like Oklahoma, Anything Goes, and Carousel, and guest spots on late-night and TV variety shows, including The Joey Bishop Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. She opened on tour for several legendary comedians, among them George Burns, Rodney Dangerfield, Don Rickles, and Bob Hope. Daley went on to accompany Hope on tour, performing to audiences around the world, including U.S. troops in Vietnam, with the Bob Hope Christmas Tour. In 1970, her recording of Riz Ortolani and Arthur Hamilton’s "Til Love Touches Your Life" from the film Madron was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song. Daley continued to perform professionally after starting a family, appearing in stage productions in places like Branson, Las Vegas, and Europe, in addition to the Los Angeles area, as well as in dozens of TV commercials. Her original song "Eat Your Heart Out" was featured in the 1997 independent film The Ride. In 2003, Daley was asked by the family to sing "Thanks for the Memory" at Bob Hope’s funeral service. She subsequently recorded the tribute album Where There's Hope with Les Brown, Jr.'s Band of Renown. It was released by Encore Music in 2009. Daley then released two devotional albums, 2010's His Light and 2012's Live. Also in 2012, she issued her first Christmas album, There's Nothing Like Christmas, the five-track EP When Sunny Gets Blue, a collection of standards, followed on LOG Records in October 2016. Six months later, she expanded the EP, adding six original songs for The Way of a Woman. It reached number two on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart.

Hi, Jan! Thanks for chatting with us. Can you give us a little backstory about your music?

Years ago, I recorded an album in Nashville when I had a 2-year-old. She was a miracle baby. I had cancer and was told I could never havevchildren. I was commuting back and forth from LA for 9 months writing singing on my album. At one point my husband I, met at an airport to fly to a family get together, with my daughter. She walked right past and didn’t even know me. That was it! I knew I couldn’t promote the album and walked away from my recording touring career for 20 years. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, BUT sometimes it can be the best thing for you. I ended up concentrating on my acting and became a prolific songwriter. Writing a song a week and going to Nashville three times a year to co-write with some of the best writers, who I learned a great deal from. It's ironic that here I am with “Way of a Woman” that I wrote during that period in my life.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Know how to talk about yourself to executives, bookers, or DJs! Know your bio and think of

yourself as a promoter, because that is what you are doing anyway when you stand on stage. Believe you have something to say. This took me a while, because I was taught to “never brag about yourself!” Why? I was auditioning for a big musical that 20 th Century Fox was producing for a movie and the director asked me, “Tell me about yourself?” At the time I was in a TV series had toured the world and yet I was stumped & too shy to tell him. When I

looked back, I realized that it displayed no confidence in myself. I was 22! The director even told me, you need to be able to tell why you should get the part, which really helped me for the next audition.

What piece of advice would you give to young artists who are just starting out?

Never give up! If people that you respect in the business tell you, you have talent

and you believe you have something to give to an audience then keep on

practicing: singing, writing and playing your instrument for everything you can to

get up onstage for. Here is my motto and I’m living proof of it. It’s never too late, you’re never too young or old to reach your dreams.

If you were to write a memoir, what would you title it?

Actually, that’s what I did during the Pandemic! I wrote about my life and how it

intertwined with the father I never got to meet. It might be a movie or a limited

series but cannot give you the title for obvious reasons.

What lessons have you learned so far?

Keep working as hard as you can and work on your craft and performing. Get out

to songwriter’s events, Grammy events, your own gigs anything to build your

relationships in the industry, but most of all, be kind to people and show up on


What do you hope fans take away from your music?

I hope my songs will move my fans in different ways.

What else can fans expect from you this year?

More music in different genres. Hopefully I’ll surprise my fans!

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