Fil-Am singer records unreleased Disney gemsBy Ruben V. Nepales
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LOS ANGELES – Jennifer Paz, one of the most talented Filipino-Americans in musical theater in the United States, has landed a wonderful gig. The singer, whose credits include “Miss Saigon,” “Les Miserables,” “Flower Drum Song” and “The Last Five Years,” was tapped by Disney to record unreleased songs from its vast catalogue, in an album series aptly named “The Lost Chords.”
The award-winning Jennifer sang “The Need to Be Loved,” which eventually became “Someone’s Waiting For You” in the recently released “The Lost Chords: The Rescuers.”
She also recorded two unused gems in another coming album, “The Lost Chords: Cinderella.”
Below are excerpts from our e-mail interview with Jennifer:
How did you land this gig?
I got an e-mail inquiry/offer from the producer of the project. I was referred to him from casting director Maria Estrada who cast me in a pilot earlier this year for Cartoon Network. It’s always so interesting how an unrelated audition for one project can open the doors for other projects. I was grateful for the recommendation from Maria. She had also seen me in a regional production of “Miss Saigon,” which is why she called me in for the Cartoon Network pilot.
What was it like to sing “The Need to Be Loved” which ended up becoming the classic “Someone’s Waiting For You”?
“The Need to Be Loved” was the first song I recorded and I got it less than 24 hours before the session. As I was learning it, I kept thinking, this melody sounds familiar; how do I know this tune? And then I realized it was what “Someone’s Waiting for You” eventually became in “The Rescuers”! My gal pal Joanie (Joan Almedilla) sang a snippet of “Someone’s Waiting for You” in our “Road to Saigon” cabaret show that we did together at East West Players a couple years ago. So I kept hearing her voice in my head while I was learning the different lyrics.
I sang the song alone, but this album (“The Lost Chords: The Rescuers”) includes Paul Francis Webster’s version as well. That’s the concept of the “Lost Chords” series. They wanted to unearth these never-before-released songs of classic Disney films and showcase updated versions of them as well. From what I understand, these “Lost Chords” releases are in conjunction with Disney releasing Blu-ray Disc versions of the classic films.
What’s the “history” behind “The Lost Chords”?
The Facebook page of Walt Disney Records says: “Over the next few months we’re going to be diving into the history of music in the Disney family. Stay tuned to relive some of your favorite moments from the Disney catalogue!”
From what I was told, there are “thousands in the Disney catalogue.” It’s super exciting for longtime fans of these Disney classic films. These albums will make great collector’s items.
Were you a fan of the movie “The Rescuers”?
You know, sadly, I didn’t see that one. I’m planning on watching it and revisiting the ones I have seen. The producers will be sending me my own personal hard copies of these refurbished Blu-ray/album releases. I can’t wait! So far, I have the digital release copies only.
What about your two songs for “Cinderella”—“I Lost My Heart at the Ball” and “The Face I See in the Night”? Why were the original versions never released, recorded or included in the movie soundtrack?
These songs were taken out because of time constraints or changes in the movie, from what I was told. But it felt so surreal to hear these never-before-heard tunes; it’s like you’re getting a peek into a secret vault. How cool is that? And it was fun to learn these two new tracks, especially since I got to play Cinderella in a regional production in the last holiday season. As I was singing in the vocal booth, I just imagined re-living that wonderful production. I did it at the 5th Avenue Theater in my hometown of Seattle and I had such a blast!
What’s your own relationship to the “Cinderella” movie, and Disney films in general?
I love all the contemporary Disney films. “Beauty and the Beast” is my favorite, so I’m just so honored to have been invited to be part of this tremendous musical legacy.
What was it like to hear the completed versions of the three songs for the first time?
So far, I’ve only heard the final mix for “The Rescuers” and I am pleased with the cut. It turned out to be a light lullaby and I was even more excited to be in the company of such cool legendary artists on the album!
How does it feel being part of Disney’s tremendous legacy in music?
I feel so honored! I feel like Cinderella at the ball!
Will you be recording some more songs in the series?
Hopefully I’ll be featured in more songs in the series. This is the first of many. Stay tuned!
E-mail the columnist at rvnepales_ 5585@yahoo. com. Follow him at http://twitter. com/nepalesruben.
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