Cynthia Layne has come a long way as a vocalist since her early days of singing “Evergreen.”
“I love Barbara Streisand,” she says. “I remember in high school singing ‘Evergreen,’ [and] people thought I was strange, because they were into funk.” Layne’s latest CD, Beautiful Soul, for the local recording label Owl Studios, was released nationally Sept. 25. She’ll hold her local CD release party at the Jazz Kitchen this Friday.
“I don’t like to vocally categorize myself as a certain type of singer,” Layne says. “I think I incorporate all styles of music; I draw from every genre.” Watching Layne on stage doing contemporary pop, hip-hop and R&B, she seems to physically immerse her whole being into the song and groove. “It’s just like a part of your being; you listen to a song and it touches your soul and affects all of your senses. I just feel it all over,” she says. Her vocal versatility includes performing songs from the American Songbook with the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra to swinging jazz with the Ken Fary Duo, which has given her a wide base of local fans. The songs Layne chooses to sing reflect her mood and personality. Whether the themes are relationships, self-redemption or just partying, she is an emotionally compelling vocalist.
A music video that was taped about her new CD may soon be released as a DVD, and when asked who she would love to record with in the future, she replies, “I would love to sing with Dee Dee Bridgewater. She is awesome [and] was probably one of my first inspirations.”