Before Tuesday night, how many of you knew Linda Eder? It is difficult to judge, but I’m guessing about one-third of the readers here were familiar with Eder. But once you hear Linda Eder, you will never forget her. Linda was the guest performer at the “Night at the Tavern” Awards dinner. She and Clay Aiken had the opportunity to meet, talk and pose for MANY pictures.
Linda is a master performer and knows how to connect with her audience. She seems to have the innate ability to shape a musical line, completely understand the lyrics and convey all of this to her audience. She is magic.
A native of Minnesota, Linda grew up listening to many different types of music. Her parents musical tastes were a mixed bag of pop, country, classical, and music native to her parents countries of Austria and Norway.
At an early age, her vocal influence was Judy Garland, but at 10 ten she became mesmerized by the voice of operatic soprano, Eileen Farrell. She soon found herself captivated by some of opera’s most famous arias. She especially loved the arias of Puccini.
Eder was thrust into the national musical spotlight when composer Frank Wildhorn was readying his musical “Jekyll & Hyde” for Broadway. Eder recorded the concept album and then later, the original Broadway cast recording. After 900 performances of Lucy in Jekyll & Hyde, Linda decided to try another role, that of mother.
Eder’s lengthy tenure in the Broadway production of “Jekyll & Hyde” remains important in her career for two reasons: First, it allowed her to experiment with ways to keep her listeners spellbound. Second, it provided her with what has become a signature tune: “Someone Like You.” Most fans say that Eder owns this song.
Eder has released 10 additional albums, with musical styles ranging from Broadway and jazz to pop and standards from the Great American Songbook. With each successive album, Eder has sought greater musical control. As a result, the types of music she recorded began to shift away from the Broadway standards that earned her such a loyal following.
“I love all the Broadway music” Linda said in an interview with the Gay and Lesbian Times, “But while I was performing that music, I was listening to people like Sheryl Crow and Faith Hill. I began to get back into writing and then really tried to go down that road in a more authentic kind of way.”
Eder’s most recent album, titled “The Other Side of Me,” shows her recent musical explorations which is a blend of pop and country. Released in September 2008, “The Other Side of Me” features Eder’s take on Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” Emily Saliers’ “Ghost” and “Waiting for the Fall” by Eder.
In her personal life, Linda was with Frank Wildhorn for 17 years, but they divorced in 2004. They have a son who will turn 10 in July.
Linda was undefeated on “Star Search” for 13 weeks so it was natural for her to be asked about American Idol. Her answer is very interesting: “It’s a wonderful way to get yourself exposed, but I don’t know how they do it. It was hard enough to be singing for a competition where the judges could just give you numbers. I really don’t know what I would say (to the idol judges). I think ultimately they are being damaged in some way. It’s brutal and its’ done for entertainment. I can only begin to imagine the effect that this is having on the psyche of very young people. It’s hard for some young people to feel positive about themselves. You have to be made of stone to not have it affect you in some way.”
On a personal note, I have seen Linda in concert twice and it was sensational. If you ever have a chance to hear her live, run, don’t walk, to hear this wonderful musician.
The first video is of Linda in Jekyll & Hyde performing “Someone Like You.”
The second is Linda, in concert, singing “Don’t Rain On My Parade.”