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Jane Monheit doesn't follow musical or financial fads

Jane Monheit Jazz and pop chanteuse Jane Monheit may be only 26 years old, but she has a style and flair reminiscent of a classic Vargas pinup from the '40s. Her glamorous appearance and lush voice put to shame the post-teen idols of her generation. Monheit's take on swing, jazz, retro love songs and MGM movie soundtracks have won her a following spanning the generations.

A product of a New York family of musicians, including a bluegrass picker and a hard rocker, Monheit attended the Manhattan School of Music. She first made a career splash at the 1998 Thelonious Monk competition, winning second place for her jazz vocals. Her debut solo album with an indie label, "Never Never Land," garnered more awards and remained on the Billboard charts for over a year. In addition, Monheit has recorded "Come Dream with Me," "In the Sun," and her latest album, under Sony Classical's guidance, "Taking a Chance on Love." Monheit has also contributed cameo appearances on "In Full Swing" and "Let's Get Lost," and her version of "Over The Rainbow" is on the film soundtrack of "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow."

At venues and jazz fests around the world, she often performs with her husband, Rick Montalbano, who is a drummer.

Bankrate: What are your latest projects?

Jane Monheit: I just came out with a new CD, "Taking a Chance on Love." It's romantic jazz, influenced by all the great MGM movie musicals. My parents used to have me watch them all the time! They're wonderful.

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Bankrate: You come from a family of musicians in every genre. Did they try to steer you in any particular direction as being more practical than others?

Jane Monheit: Never! In my house, you studied everything. No one genre was above another. My parents aren't professional musicians. They're good enough that they could be, my mom sings with several choirs. My parents weren't stage parents.

Bankrate: Have you ever held a nonmusical job?

Jane Monheit: Never! No flipping burgers at McDonald's for me.

Bankrate: Did you ever give lessons on the side?

Jane Monheit: No, but I've been asked. I always felt I was too young to be giving advice. It was before college! I might someday, when I'm old. I'll be the little neighborhood singing lady.

Bankrate: Is it hard to work on your art and keep an eye on the business side of your career at the same time?

Jane Monheit: Actually, no. We love the music side, that's our art. The business side is interesting, all the little relationships and political things. I like to keep an eye on things.

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-- Posted: Oct. 8, 2004
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