Call Redialed: NEW Kim David Smith Interview: "Morphium Kabarett" live recording at Joe's Pub
I always love interviewing recording artist Kim David Smith. His talent, humor, and dedication to his craft always shine through!
Here we discuss Kim’s upcoming return to Joe’s Pub as Kim readies himself to record his first live album. The album will be of Kim’s show Morphium Kabarett. With music direction by Tracy Stark, Morphium Kabarett provides an intimate evening of German, French and English repertoire, subtly intertwining Piaf, Hollaender, Dietrich and Weill with The Supremes, Kylie Minogue, Madonna and many unexpected others.
Kim’s live recording will take place at Joe’s Pub on March 2 at Midnight! Click here for tickets!
1. This March you are returning to Joe's Pub with your show Morphium Kabarett to be recorded live. What made now the right time to make a live album? Tracy Stark and I have been performing various editions of Morphium Kabarett since its six-month run at Pangea in 2016, and we are so proud of our arrangements and where the show has settled in terms of our dynamic performing it together, that we thought the timing ripe for a live recording.
I’d considered a studio recording of the program, but it’s such a live experience; the heightened emotion of a lot of the songs and the slightly lawless feel of the evening would, I think, be lost in the studio. I also know myself well enough to avoid an atmosphere where I could be sucked into creating the “perfect” version of my performance — these songs simply aren’t about a studio approach.
2. What makes you nervous? A packed subway car. Also a suspiciously empty one, I guess.
In terms of performing, though, I celebrate nerves; they’re just a way for your body to express that something is important to you. What I do onstage is important to me, so I get nervous before going on — I just try to focus on what I’ve prepared, and operate from a place of being excited to share an evening of music with a bunch of people.
3. What should audiences know in advance of coming to this special show? You should know The New York Times loved it, and so will you!
Seriously though, you should know you’re coming into a stylized space, a queer space, an odd space, and that you’re going to hear familiar strains of music interwoven with really fantastic material from the 1920s and ’30’s. There’ll be a smattering of French and German here and there, and many a giggle.
4. Can you tell us what you'll be wearing? Nope! I have several awesome pieces from Miodrag Guberinic, who has designed for Madonna and Nicki Minaj, and a bunch of Broadway productions, too, and I don’t yet know which I want to wear for March 2nd.
5. Will Cher, Jem and the Holograms, and/or Kylie Minogue be making a guest appearance....or at least their music? Adam! You know all my shows have at least one Kylie Minogue song. So, yes! 🤩
6. How will you keep yourself calm leading up to the show? Thankfully I have several really fun projects on the boil, so I have too much work to do to begin feeling anxious about Morphium Kabarett — plus, we know the show so well, and have such an awesome time performing it, that it’s not the kind of evening I get wound up about. It’s fun!
7. What are your pre-show rituals? I just like hanging out and chatting with Tracy before our shows. I warm up, of course, and we’ll run any tricky passages from particular songs (“Song of Black Max,” for instance, has a few particularly busy moments that we like to familiarize ourselves with before going onstage). But, mostly Tracy and I just use the time to catch up and giggle — I think that’s why we have such a great, loving and friendly energy onstage. And thank goodness we do — it very nicely offsets the weirdness of some of our music!
8. Rapid Fire Questions:
Boxers or Briefs? Boxers by night.
Madonna or Gaga? Kylie Minogue.
Coke or Pepsi? Drink water! Think of your skin!
Favorite go to Emoji when sending a text? Mostly: 🧜🏻♂️, but as I identify emotionally with Galadriel, wielder of Nenya, I also use 🧝♀️ a lot.
More on Kim David Smith:
Described by Broadway World as the "David Bowie of cabaret," "slyly subversive" by The Wall Street Journal, and labeled the "male Marlene Dietrich" by The New York Times, Kim David Smith, hailing from Australia, is a Helpmann Award nominated singer and cabaret performer, based in New York.
Kim’s most recent cabaret programme, Kim sings Kylie premiered at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater in June 2018 (returning in November), saluting perennial pop goddess Kylie Minogue in an intimate cabaret fantasia, celebrating Kylie’s gargantuan hits and glittering deep-cuts alike.
Smith starred as Salomé in Oscar Wilde's classic and controversial play as part of the Provincetown Theater’s 2017 season, while 2016 saw Kim portray the “Emcee” in Hunter Foster's production of Cabaret at the Cape Playhouse, to excellent reviews.
Conjuring the glitter, doom, and decadence of 1920's Berlin, Smith's piano-based one-man programme, Morphium Kabarett, provides an intimate evening of German, French and English repertoire, subtly intertwining Piaf, Hollaender, Dietrich and Weill with The Supremes, Kylie Minogue, Madonna and many unexpected others.
Smith has toured Morphium Kabarett throughout Australia, earning a 2015 Helpmann Award nomination for Best Cabaret Performer, while also enjoying performances at New York City's Joe's Pub, and Café Sabarsky at the Neue Galerie. Musically directed by Tracy Stark, Morphium Kabarett garnered enthusiastic praise from The New York Times in its six-month 2016 residency at Pangea, which celebrated the whimsy and wickedness of New York City's alt-cabaret scene, with a curated parade of guest-artists, including Joey Arias, KT Sullivan, opera's Anthony Roth Costanzo, and innumerable others.
In 2009 Smith was presented with the Back Stage Magazine Bistro Award for Special Achievement as an Outstanding Performer (honored alongside Liza Minnelli and Charles Aznavour). His electro-pop albums Nova, Supernova, and cabaret EP, The Tease, are available on iTunes.