Some Fun Out Of Life
On her vibrant new debut album, available February 26, 2016, Rebecca Binnendyk declares she wants to get Some Fun Out Of Life. Canadian jazz/pop singer/songwriter certainly got plenty of fun out of making the record, and it's a safe bet you will from listening to it.
Based in Waterloo, Ontario, Rebecca has honed her vocal chops by singing in choirs and musical theatre productions as well as performing jazz in settings ranging from duos up to big bands. In response to regular demands from fans, she realised it was time to take the plunge into making an album, and the stars then aligned in seemingly karmic fashion.
After her piano player Attila Fias suggested Binnendyk contact John "Beetle" Bailey, a noted Toronto producer/engineer/studio owner, she ran into Bailey at an event just a week later. "Initially, we were just going to do a demo of five songs, but we enjoyed working together so much, we decided to go for a full length album," Rebecca recalls. A successful Indiegogo campaign helped cover the expanded budget, and Binnendyk, Bailey, and an elite group of T.O. players set up shop at the renowned Drive Shed Recording Studio.
Over six days, vocal and band tracks, horns and strings were laid down, with spectacular results. Rebecca's core band comprised Fias, Kevin Laliberte, Drew Birston, Davide Direnzo and Rosendo 'Chendy' Leon, and they were augmented by horn aces William Carn, John Johnson, and William Sperandei, cellist Amy Laing, pianist Steve Wingfield, and violinist Drew Jurecka. Wingfield, Don Breithaupt, and Charles Cozens came up with the sophisticated and lush arrangements here. Binnendyk was especially thrilled that award-winning veteran Cozens contributed to her original song "Stars."
Some Fun Out Of Life (on ALMA/Universal) is refreshingly eclectic in its song selections. American Songbook standards by, amongst others, Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael are given fresh life via Binnendyk's supple, pure and versatile vocals, while her renditions of more contemporary tunes by Corinne Bailey Rae ("Put Your Records On"), Joni Mitchell ("Night Ride Home") and Phil Collins ("You'll Be In My Heart") fit seamlessly alongside, as does the most left-field choice here, Bon Jovi's hit "You Give Love A Bad Name."
Rebecca's stylistic diversity comes naturally, she explains. "I think my training in the classical world really prepared me to sing anything. I identify myself as a jazz singer but I often find myself crossing the lines. I love folk and some pop music. I enjoy a lot of different things in life and music, and I believe the song selection here reflects that."
Binnendyk's real potential as a songwriter is showcased on two original numbers here. "Stars" was prompted by the death of Amy Winehouse, while the moving "Live Now" (a co-write with Don Breithaupt) was inspired by Rebecca's cousin. "He died very young, but he was such a shining example of someone appreciating everything around him and living fully," she explains.
One of the most positive and upbeat persons you'll meet, Rebecca was determined to have this personality shine through on Some Fun Out Of Life. No tortured jazz diva material here, thankfully. "There is so much negativity in our world today," she says. "I wanted my record to be a positive experience for all the listeners, just as it was for all of us recording it. I wanted to go away from it snapping my fingers, tapping my toes and smiling." Fittingly, then, the record concludes with a jaw-droppingly beautiful rendition of the Charlie Chaplin classic, "Smile."
So now it's time to smile and grab some fun out of life. Put this record on!