I met jazz singer Roberta Donnay more than 10 years ago through West Coast Songwriters, discovering one of the Bay Area’s most multi-talented singers, songwriters and producers in the process. Soon after meeting, I sought out the Washington, DC native’s help producing an EP and received an education in musicianship, studio work and Buddhism as well as a finished project.
Having written for film, TV and the UN, Roberta has an abundance of songwriting and vocal chops, working as a music supervisor for film and singing with Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks when she’s not fronting her Prohibition Mob Band. However, Roberta’s first musical love was jazz, and for the past five years she’s been focusing her energies on the genre.
On November 13, Motema Music officially releases her latest CD, “A Little Sugar,” a showcase of vintage jazz, blues and swing. Roberta discussed her latest project as she got ready for her CD release and tour with her Prohibition Mob Band.
Q How was the process of making your new CD different from your other productions? What can listeners expect?
RD: “A Little Sugar ” is meant to transport the listener back in time, to educate, to inspire. Back to a time in music which is the roots of almost all of what we now listen to. Born out of the blues, this was the music of the people, reflecting a time of great creativity, new inventions, the breaking away from stagnant thoughts and rituals of the past, the beginning of a certain freedom for women… and, of course, a time of great struggle, not unlike now.