A Cup of Tea with Dawn Upshaw

5. Stylistic Plurality and Ambiguity

FRANK J. OTERI: Marketers like to categorize things. But you do so many different kinds of things: classical music, Baroque music, opera…which are different audiences and new music which is a different audience; the Broadway stuff, a different audience, the Bill Crofut album you did, a folk album with yet another audience! Are you different people when you sing these different musics?

DAWN UPSHAW: I don’t think so. I hope not. They’re all a part of me. They’re all a part of so many people and so many performers. I consider myself so fortunate to have done all sorts of different projects and I really have Nonesuch to thank for making a lot of that possible. But I know that it confuses the people that are trying to market the recordings and maybe it confuses the audiences, but that’s not a track that I can put myself on or think about, you know, it’s not the part of the work that falls in my lap, as a responsibility. Or at least I haven’t taken it.

FRANK J. OTERI: Well, the interesting thing about Nonesuch is here is a label that you really can’t define. What are the recordings they’re putting out? And I think that is the goal of the label: to put out each recording as its own unique object.

DAWN UPSHAW: It’s very courageous.

FRANK J. OTERI: The fact that they exist inside a large corporate structure is pretty surprising.

DAWN UPSHAW: And a corporate structure, at least with the classical music world, which is kind of crumbling at the moment, but they’re still going…

FRANK J. OTERI: But in a way, they’re not really a classical label. They’re something else.

DAWN UPSHAW: Yeah.