If you have visited Time Square over the last three years or know anything about theatre, then you know that Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is all the talk of the town and a MUST SEE! But leading that production is a woman who has been with the show from day one, her name is Anika Larsen. She currently stars as Cynthia Weil in the show and is set to depart on April, 24th. Her next role will be playing FULL TIME Mommy to her new born son, Kei. I recently chatted with her about her new album SING YOU TO SLEEP, being in Beautiful, the birth of her child, and what she has planned next! Check it out, you don't want to miss it!
Where did the inspiration come from for the album name "Sing You To Sleep?"
When Dan Watt, the Producer of the CD, initially asked me to do an album, I said absolutely not. Because I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of me just covering other people’s songs for no real purpose than to put out an album of my voice. I’m one of ten children, which means I have always desperately craved attention but I also get intensely uneasy at the thought of more than my fair share of it. But a few weeks after he asked me, I was singing lullabies to my nieces and nephews like I’ve been doing for years, and I thought, “An album of lullabies, now that’s an idea I can get behind. That has a purpose.” I ran it by Dan, he loved it, and away we went!
What was the process like selecting the right songs? How did you know which ones would fit and which wouldn't?
I knew I didn’t want it to be an album of just children’s lullabies, but also songs that I found beautiful, partly because I've never sung just lullabies to children, and partly because I didn’t want this to be an album only for children. I think grownups need lulling sometimes too—I know I sure do. I wanted this record to be sophisticated, because I think we should play for children the music we want them to love, not music dumbed down for them. My kids are all going to be raised listening to Stevie Wonder.
I thought culling through the list of pretty songs I’ve been singing to kids would be hard, but it actually wasn’t. The final twelve made themselves known pretty easily. They had to have lovely, soothing melodies, happy imagery, and I wanted them to come from a diversity of styles. And lastly, I wanted them to start at a faster tempo and little by little get slower as the album went on. An old trick from my babysitting days.
Can we buy your album at the theatre with the other Beautiful merchandise?
Yes, you can and on Amazon and itunes!
You do a duet on your album with original Beautiful star, Jesse Mueller. The song is called "You Can Close Your Eyes" by James Taylo- I understand he heard your cover and really liked it; and mentioned it publicly on twitter! What was that feeling like?
I was crazy proud.
*BELOW IS THE MUSIC VIDEO OF ANIKA'S COVER OF "YOU CAN CLOSE YOUR EYES" WITH JESSIE MULLER! THIS SONG WAS MENTIONED BY JAMES TAYLOR HIMSELF, AND HE GAVE IT PRAISE VIA TWITTER!!!* Check it out,you will fall in LOVE!
Congrats on the recent birth of your child! What is their name!?
His name is Kie (pronounced Key). I lost a brother a month before I got pregnant, and I wanted to honor him in some way. His name was Peik. Peik backwards minus the P is Kie.
What do you love most about performing in Beautiful and still being there as an Original cast member?
The best part of doing Beautiful is working with the incredibly lovely and wildly talented people. Creating something together really bonds you. Jarrod Spector and Jessie Mueller are two people I am deeply grateful to be able to call my friends.
What is coming up next for you?
I leave Beautiful April 24th, and I really look forward to getting some time off so that I can sing the songs on my album to my little boy everyday. And see my husband. We work opposite schedules and man, do I miss him. I'd also like to do a concert featuring these songs in the near future.
Where can we follow you and keep up with all the fun and exciting things Anika is doing?
I’m 96 years old when it comes to social media, but I got talked into a Facebook fan page by a dear friend who very kindly manages it for me. You can learn stuff there and Dan Watt's pretty good on twitter @dancindanw
Finally, what advice can you give to aspiring artists?
Some people say, “If you can think of something else that you’d be happy doing, do it, because this business is too hard.” I think that’s stinkin’ thinkin’. I think kids today are going to live a very long time, with plenty of time to try something and discover it’s not the path for them. So go for it. What’s the worst that happens? The business will steer you a different way if need be. Worse than that is asking “What if?” for the rest of your life.