Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

(Carly) Simon says


Latin influence pervades on 'This Kind of Love'

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With This Kind of Love (Hear Music), Carly Simon has created a whole new chapter in her musical career. That's saying something for someone who has made her mark in folk, pop, standards, film scores and more. The music on the new disc has a largely Brazilian influence, and Simon's voice is custom-made for the sultry tunes. I had the pleasure of speaking with Simon shortly before the album's release.

Gregg Shapiro: A lovely Latin influence dominates your new disc. What was the inspiration for the Latin voyage?

Carly Simon: The Latin voyage was the first little tender darling bud of May, and then other ideas followed. I'd wanted to make a bossa nova album for a long time, and it gelled for me a couple of years ago. When I first fell in love with Brazilian music, it was in around 1961 or 62, whenever Black Orpheus came out. I saw that movie probably 15 times within the first year that it was released. I was always so uplifted and thrilled by the music of Luiz Bonf‡ and Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Baden Powell and other early stars of Brazilian music.

"The Last Samba" and "Hola Soleil," both are dance tunes, and I was wondering if you consider yourself to be a good dancer.

I feel freer when I dance than any other state except for sleep. I love to dance. It's one thing that makes me overcome my nerves and my fears. I probably prefer to dance to Motown than to anything, including Latin music. Anything that I can move to, I feel freed up.

If your wonderful reading of "Over the Rainbow" on Into the White didn't increase your following in the gay community, then the inclusion of the All About Eve snippet at the end of "People Say a Lot" is bound to have an effect.

It was almost that quote that made me write the song. I had seen All About Eve just about as many times as I'd seen Black Orpheus, and I always tried to imitate George Sanders saying, "Phoebe." I think it's the best written movie ever.

You can be found in Sheila Weller's new book Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon - and the Journey of a Generation. Did you have any misgivings about the project, and were they assuaged after you read the book?

As wonderfully written as it is, it's still sort of men through the prism of women's eyes, instead of the other way around. There's not as much about our music as there is about who we were in bed with.

Even though a woman wrote the book?

Yes. And I think she wrote it with every good intention of keeping it a feminist book, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the editors at Simon & Schuster, which was ironically —

Yes, of course, the press co-founded by your father.

But I think the pressure was put on her to be —

Do you think it's gossipy?

It doesn't sound gossipy, but still, if you look for how we were each influenced by this or that musician, that doesn't come across nearly as much as who hurt who and who left who. That, again, I think is an editor's problem. I don't think that was Sheila's problem.

After speaking with you this morning, I'm going to be interviewing Cyndi Lauper regarding her True Colors tour, which features gay and straight artists performing to raise money for the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBT organizations. I'm wondering if Cyndi called you and asked you to be a part of the True Colors tour, might you get involved?

Well, the part that I could be involved in is the gay and lesbian part. The part that would be hard for me is to commit to a tour because I'm not very comfortable being onstage. But the part that would be easiest for me would be singing on behalf of all of us. I don't consider myself to be not gay.

Wow! Well, it's great to have you as part of the family.

Thank you! I mean, I've enlarged all of my possibilities. There are a lot of extremely personal stories to tell about that, but we won't go into that right now. Let's just say that it just depends upon who I'm with.

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