The gift of voice is perhaps the most powerful gift of all. When one sings, the resonance creates a crescendo, awakening a passion, an unspoken thought or feeling we would otherwise fail to recognize. Music unites nations, soothes broken hearts, and feeds the soul. The sound of a beautiful voice sets the human spirit free.
There is an abundance of exquisite voices in the world, and the name “Streisand” would have to be at the forefront of the list. Her voice is “soft as budda” and she has been labelled “the greatest star” on many occasions. Heck, one of the most well-known songs from her first film, “Funny Girl,” had her singing, “I’m the greatest star,” as though it were a premonition catapulting her into a lifetime of unimaginable success.
However, there is someone else with the same infamous long fingers who also inherited the heavenly “Streisand” voice, a dynamic songstress whose talent, vitality, and humour is truly one of a kind.
Nine years her junior, Roslyn Kind is Barbra Streisand’s equally remarkable sister. With her Brooklyn charm and lustrous voice she has been taking the New York theatre and global club scene by storm since her late teens.
Roslyn made her first album “Give Me You” while still in her teens. Engagements at top nightclubs, appearances on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” and a show-stopping New York debut at The Plaza Hotel’s glamorous Persian Room followed.
She has performed in renowned venues including Lincoln Center, the Greek Theatre, and London’s Café Royal. The Times of London noted, “To say she is superb would be an understatement.” In 2006, she made her Carnegie Hall debut with her musical collaborator and friend, Michael Feinstein.
Her recording career has spanned decades, and Roslyn is also an accomplished theatrical performer having starred in numerous productions on Broadway and Off Broadway. Television credits include a memorable part playing herself on CBS’s “The Nanny.” It was on this episode that Ms Kind also performed the song “Light of Love,” a co-written piece highlighting Roslyn’s song writing talents.
In 2012, she toured internationally with her sister, Barbra Streisand. The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “Roslyn Kind sings like a dream.”
Singer, songwriter, actress, animal welfare activist, and a supporter of various H.I.V. and Alzheimer charities, it is indeed a dream to interview the fabulous Ms. Kind.
ALIXANDRA: When you were a child, music must have played an enormous part in your life. Not only are you and your sister blessed with incredible voices, but I believe your mother also had the same gift. Do you have any distinct memories as a child that inspired your career?
ROSLYN KIND: And by the way, our mother got her voice from her dad, who was a Cantor in Russia.
There really isn’t just one specific memory. As a child, I spent a lot of time by myself. I would come home from school and play album recordings of shows and movies I had seen and loved, and acted them out in front of the mirror, singing all the roles – male and female, even the duets!
I would create ballets to movie instrumentals and act out scenarios of my favourite T.V. shows, putting myself in the story line. A world of pretend and make believe; but somehow, very real to me.
All this gave me much joy and filled my hours daily. It was always there inside me.
A: And you continue to fill your hours daily by doing what you love! As a woman in the arts, I admire your tenacity and chutzpah. Your career has spanned decades. You are a true interpreter of popular song. I feel if the Rat Pack were still around, you would be one of the boys! What is one of your career highlights?
RK: It’s hard to name just one highlight of my career because there are several throughout the years. Here are a few:
My First Recording Day at RCA: 1968
I auditioned for Harry Jenkins, the President of RCA Records at that time (who also signed Elvis Presley to the label), while I was still attending high school. He had heard some demo recordings I had done but wanted to see and hear me live. We did this in one of the RCA recording studios. I got signed to RCA. It was on the day of my high school graduation in June, 1968, after receiving my diploma, that I began recording my first album Give Me You in Studio B at 12 noon. So excited and nervous, I had to pinch myself! When my album was released in the beginning of 1969, I appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show February 9th of that same year.
THE PERSIAN ROOM: 1969
I was only 18 years old when I made my New York debut at the elegant Persian Room of the Plaza Hotel, on December 17, 1969. The ad read “Roslyn Kind is what you get for being good.” It was the Christmas season. During my three week run, Bette Davis came to the show. The maître‘d gave me a heads-up that she loved to be introduced, and when I did, she stood up and threw kisses!
LAS VEGAS: 1973
When I made my Las Vegas debut in June, 1973, it was exciting seeing my name next to that of ELVIS PRESLEY on the side marquee that read “Introducing a New Star to Las Vegas, Roslyn Kind.” As a matter of fact, it was the era of the Rat Pack.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: 1977
I guested with my brother-in-law, Elliott Gould, who was hosting that night. I sang a Paul Anka tune called “I’m Not Anyone.” They told me while I was on camera, the switchboard lit up with calls about me, and I LOVED that Elliott introduced me as “my son Jason’s Aunt Rozzie!” I only wish I had gotten to do a skit! LOL!
THE MONDRIAN HOTEL, LOS ANGELES: 1984
While performing in the bar/lounge, JOHNNY MATHIS came in to see me. He sat on a nearby banquette with his eyes closed, LISTENING INTENTLY, SMILING. When people at a nearby table got too loud, he almost got into a fist fight trying to quiet them.
Can you imagine?!
I was in a review-type show called Three from Brooklyn at the Helen Hayes Theatre. One of the songs I was performing was by Stephen Schwartz from his show The Baker’s Wife called “Meadowlark.”
When I told this to a friend, she warned me not to do it, as everyone at that time was using it as an audition piece, and that I would be slaughtered by the press. After the show previewed, she said to me “Forget what I told you. You killed it and stopped the show!”
It stopped the show every night.
OTHER NOTABLE MEMORIES (INTERNATIONAL)
1969: For Me Formidable
A T.V. Special starring Charles Aznavour, filmed in/around Cannes, France
La Grand Affiche
A T.V. special in Paris, in which I was the featured guest. One of the songs I sang was “All Of A Sudden My Heart Sings” in French.
1970: Der Goldener Schuss (in English, The Golden Shot)
A T.V. show in Hamburg, Germany where I sang “Make Your Own Kind Of Music” in German.
1997: Musique Plus
A hot, contemporary music T.V. show in Toronto, Canada
A: I now have goose bumps. What a dream journey you have had thus far! In 2012, you toured with your sister, and shared the stage with her and your nephew in the Back to Brooklyn concert. This must have been a wonderful experience for the three of you. I saw this concert in Brooklyn and it was exhilarating. Is there a chance you will collaborate again?
RK: In 2012, we toured in Canada and the United States. I joined the tour on the 2nd stop in Montreal.
In 2013, we toured Europe and Israel. The experience was absolutely incredible! I had never performed in public with my sister until then. I would definitely LOVE to do it again, should it come to pass . . . COUNT ME IN!
So much fun traveling and being on stage with my family! That meant so much to me.
A: Your voice is immensely strong and refined. You can hit those notes like nobody’s business, and after a four year absence you are now touring with your band. How has this been for you and what is in store for you and your band?
RK: I wasn’t really absent from performing totally. There was a period where I took some time off to oversee my mom’s care. But I still played in and around the USA, though not as frequently.
In 2014, after not having played New York City with a solo show for some twenty years, I made my long awaited return to Manhattan nightlife at 54 Below, with an all new show, directed and staged by Richard Jay-Alexander. OH . . . on a side note, I did make my return to Brooklyn (place of my birth and childhood) in April 2012 at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts. However, it was explained to me that Brooklyn is NOT considered New York City – I had to play Manhattan for that!
This past March 2016, I brought my new show to my old stomping grounds, the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, where I’d played frequently through 2011, thus making my return to Los Angeles after a four year absence. I had been on tour in the middle of the country, mostly.
It’s been such fun touring my new show with the Trio. The audiences have been fantastic and loving. I love a live audience response and looking into the eyes of those I can see. Making one-on-one contact and hopefully touching hearts in a positive way, bringing joy, is what it’s all about!
Looking forward to a lot more touring and especially, wanting to come to AUSTRALIA!
A: Ha! Fancy Brooklyn not being considered New York City! You mentioned you had to take care of your mom, which would have been very challenging. What are some of the challenges you have faced with your career, and what advice can you offer anyone in the entertainment industry facing similar encounters?
RK: A big challenge for me was being in the same business as my big sister, who was already established and making a big name for herself while I was still in high school.
Comparisons seemed to be inevitable from the outside, making it difficult to be accepted in my own right as an entertainer, WHICH I HAVE NOW EARNED.
With years of experience I can honestly say that to be in show business, one must have strong convictions and a belief in oneself no matter how big the obstacles may seem.
NO DETOURS. Follow your heart on the path to your dreams.
Beautiful. Thank you so much Rozzie!