Rob’s First Show “You’re The One”: How it All Came together

I had first become interested in Cabaret in the summer of 2013, and begun participating in various “open mic” opportunities around the city. At most of them you are asked the question, “So what do you have coming up? Any shows?” By mid-2014 I was running out of ways to say, “Yea, still in the planning stage.” But toward the end of that year I was also starting to feel like it really was time.

There was a moment around the first week in December, when I decided to check out availability at The Metropolitan Room, on 22nd St between 5th & 6th. It was where I first stepped on a stage to sing a song in Cabaret style, and where I had attended more open mic than any other similar space. It is also a very attractive room and is configured in an artist-friendly way that I liked.

So I went to the website to see what my choices were, for when I could possibly, if I really decided to go for it, do my first show! While I was logging in I had a conversation going on in my head. “Well, I’d need a week-night date since a lot of my crowd are business and philanthropy friends who work in the city and would be more likely to come during the week. And I’d need a 7PM time-slot so those who came would still be able to make it home at a reasonable hour.” On and on I went while my computer was connecting.

What I found was that they were booked at 7PM on week nights solidly until the late Spring! There was literally only one date open, but it was more than a stretch for me to even consider it. People took months to plan out all the details of a show. A there are the song charts to develop, musicians to line up, rehearsals to organize, and perhaps most important of all, promotion of the  show to fill up the seats! I’d been to a number of shows of other singers that were sparsely attended, and I imagined it must be disheartening to the performer to look out at empty seats after all the work and expense they’d put in.

That date in question, the only one availably until July, was January 14, 2015. Keep in mind that it was now December 8, 2014. If I took that date, it would give me barely more than one month to pull the entire show together, the show that would launch my “true” presence on the NY Cabaret Scene.

Rob Davis Shows at the Metropolitan room

Madness??? I suppose. However, in spite of the misgivings I swung into action. I called the Metropolitan Room and asked them to put a hold on the 1/14/15 date to give me a couple of days to make sure I could line up the crucial people I needed. My first call was to Daryl Kojak, a terrific  Musical Director I had started working with a few months before. Luckily for me, he was available on the 14th. He felt we should have at least two other musicians in the band, who turned out to be base player Sean Conly and percussionist Rex Benincasa, both outstanding at their craft. I added my favorite Sax player Steven Frieder.

Daryl had been working with me on developing the arrangements and creating the sheet music for several of the songs I had written. I could play them on my guitar and had the music and lyrics in my head, but Daryl helped bring them alive with more refined arrangements and very professional looking sheet music. We’d also been working on a few standards that I’d been performing at various “open mics” around the city. So the good news was that I already had almost enough material for a show.

Joining me for my first show was an amazing group of artists: Steven Frieder on Saxophone; Sean Conly on Bass; Rex Benincasa on Percussion.

And two amazing singers, standouts in the Cabaret world: Marissa Mulder and Minda Larsen.

By this point Daryl had worked on quite a few songs with me, both originals and standards, so he was way up the learning curve on my singing style and music. Importantly, we already had a repertoire of songs to chose from to fashion a show, so no need to start from scratch. But most of all, we were very compatible. From a personality standpoint he was very easy for me to work with. When he picked up and I asked what he was doing on Jan 14th, he put me on hold to check his schedule. When he picked up, he said, “I was booked but they just cancelled, so looks like I’m free! What’s up?”

So that was that. There would be a show of some sort on Jan 14,2015. Now I had to figure out what to call it, what songs, would I have guests, how would I get the word out, etc., etc., etc!!!

Daryl Kojak Rehearsal with Rob Davis

You’re The One Show

Sunrise Association – Bringing back the joys of childhood to children with cancer through the Sunrise Day Camps, and In-Hospital Recreational Activities.

Empowering Development Alternatives – Offering secondary education to orphans and vulnerable children in rural Uganda, with the mission of breaking the cycle of poverty and empowering children to reach their potential.

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