Singer/educator Patti Austin provided a Master Class at Borders in San Francisco on Wednesday night. It was a very well attended event. The evening started with several selected students from local schools singing their rendition of the Gershwin gem “Summertime.” Patti critiqued each one on their performance. Patti stressed understanding the origin/history of the music you sing. You cannot sing “Lush Life” at age 16 even though Strayhorn wrote it at age 19. She also explained the importance of preserving today’s music. All the students were great and have much potential. Afterward, a few participants from the audience got to sing before Patti. I got in line but some of the singers went on a little long so I did not get to sing for her. My song choice was going to be “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most” which comes from her The Real Me album.
Patti sang “Love Walked In/Love Is Sweeping The Country” from her new album Avant Gershwin which celebrates the music of George and Ira Gerswhin. As always, she sounded wonderful. Afterward, we got to ask her questions. I got to ask “In an industry where looks sells, will she now be looked at differently?” She said, “Yes, they already have.” She went on to explain, like it or not, image sells in this industry and that singers have to be prepared for that. Patti had gastric bypass surgery and has lost 145 pounds. She looks great and she always has to me but I am glad she is healthier. After the Q&A, Patti signed autographs and took photos with her fans. She is a delightful and very funny lady. I wish her all the best.
Photo Credit: Ken French