Carly Ozard: singer launches monthly shows at Martuni's

  • by David-Elijah Nahmod
  • Tuesday January 24, 2023
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Carly Ozard (photo: Gooch)
Carly Ozard (photo: Gooch)

Carly Ozard is a rising star in the world of cabaret. The singer has graced the stages of a variety of prestigious venues including Feinstein's at the Nikko, Oasis and 54 Below in New York. She is also a musical theater performer, having been seen with The Lamplighters, 42nd Street Moon and the legendary Lincoln Center.

Ozard is now launching a new monthly series at popular San Francisco piano bar Martuni's. Beginning Sunday, January 29, and continuing on the last Sunday of each month through the end of 2023, Ozard, accompanied by Barry Lloyd at the piano, will offer "Live at Martuni's: Carly Ozard and Friends."

Carly Ozard in a 2019 show  

These performances will team Ozard with top names from the drag, comedy, theater and nightlife communities in Martuni's music lounge. Performances will include selections from musical theater, rock and pop, as well as original music.

Ozard, who identifies as nonbinary, tells the Bay Area Reporter that as a child, performing was the only thing she knew how to do.

"When I was growing up in Belmont, I went to the public library a lot and checked out a bunch of Broadway musicals on cassette and eventually CD," she recalled. "I was probably the only eight-year-old in Belmont who checked out all the recordings of "Gypsy" and could tell you who Tyne Daly was and why I liked her better than Rosalind Russell."

Her music covers a wide range of genres. She sings originals and covers, with a focus on easy listening, electronic dance music, folk rock and musical theater. She recently joined a Grateful Dead band.

Ozard has enjoyed many musical adventures. During her New York days she sang on subway platforms and recalled that as a lesson in vulnerability and exposure.

"I made friends, connections, booked gigs from my time there, and also experienced some eye-opening realities about the mental health of unhoused folks who we really, as a society, need to be helping out more," she said. "It drove me to learn more about mental health struggles in the Black and brown communities, and it broadened my compassion and empathy towards the epidemic affecting so many people who call the tunnels of the subway home."

Carly Ozard singing in a New York City subway  

Guest stars
Of course she is very excited to be launching her new series of shows at Martuni's. Ozard will be seen with new guests each month, and the shows they do will celebrate what the guest brings to the table. The evenings will be casual. It will be as though a group of friends were getting together to sing songs they love, with a loving audience on hand to enjoy the music.

Ozard is delighted to be accompanied by Barry Lloyd.

"His skills and his authenticity are unbelievable," she said. "He plays piano and harpsichord masterfully, and then his background in acting, musical direction and even ballet dancing makes him a wonderful and well-rounded performer. There's no one like him, and we are so lucky to have him in San Francisco. His love of vintage jewelry and awesome style also lets me know he's a fun and interesting person to spend time with."

The guest performers come from all walks of San Francisco nightlife. Appearing with Ozard on her debut night at Martuni's will be JOAN!, a new drag queen on the scene. JOAN! is played by Caleb Haven Draper, a seasoned musical theater performer who has been seen at SF Playhouse, Center Rep, 42nd Street Moon, Berkeley Playhouse and Oasis.

Coming up at future shows will be drag artists Katya Smirnoff-Skyy and Dusty Porn, soprano Nikki Arias, Brazilian duo Grupo Tribulacion, Ozard's own folk trio Colorblind Dilemma, and an acoustic Grateful Dead show for Halloween. Ozard feels that Martuni's is the perfect venue to perform these shows.

"Skip Ziobron, the owner, is a San Francisco treasure," Ozard said. "And the talent and music lovers who frequent the space are supportive of each other. Many folks got their start practicing their craft using the open mics as their canvas, and shows have been running successfully there for years. It's also affordable, with reasonable cover charges, and there are all types of genres showcased, so there's something for everyone."

Ozard would love to be able to use her singing and songwriting careers in support of causes near and dear to her heart.

"I recently found out that George Michael attached a friend's name as a songwriter to one of his songs, and it set him up for life," she said. "I would love to link my songs to causes, charities and individuals who need help, but the song needs to take off first."

'Live at Martuni's: Carly Ozard and Friends,' Sunday, January 29, 7pm and the final Sunday of each month thereafter, at Martuni's, 4 Valencia St. $16. 21 and up.

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