But he is more than just a pretty face. The American-based jazz singer, pianist and songwriter has been performing sell-out concerts in the US, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong for some time now. While some may be familiar with his work, due to his sizeable online presence, for most South Africans, DeSare is America’s best kept secret.
He hits the South African market with a compilation album, Chemistry, put together by Gallo Records. The album features a selection of songs from his three top ten Billboard records, showcasing his extraordinary talent in the jazz discipline.
He says: “If someone were to ask me to who Tony DeSare is, I would tell them to go to South Africa and listen to Chemistry. I think the guys did a great job in selecting songs for the album. It really captures who I am as an artist.” Though not a cover artist, DeSare is known for his soothing jazz interpretations of classics such as Prince’s Kiss and Nat King Cole’s Gee Baby Ain’t I Good to You.
“I love covering songs I grew up with and turning them into my own. As an interpreter of classics, it’s important for me to communicate my own ideas and combining it into a stew of mixed melodies. Shows like American Idol really helped bring back the idea of an artist interpreting a song and making it his own.” That being said, the jazz pianist understands that when covering a song you have to honour the original artist and do the song justice.
“Prince fans are really particular about people covering his songs. They want it to be an exact replica and are ready not to like it, but then I win them over,” he sneers. “To me, if it’s not a new version of the song, then is it really worthwhile? I make sure the song is equally persuasive and hopefully conjures up new and unexpected feelings for the listener. If I can create new insight into what the song is about, I’ve accomplished my goal.”
This perspective helps to set him apart from the plethora of mediocre artists trying to make ends meet. And he’s not relegated to covers only. DeSare writes his own music, equally as powerful and sensuous – some of which were featured in 20th Century Fox films. His voice is soothing and seductive and impossible not to fall in love with.
DeSare continues to perform all over the world in theatres, jazz clubs and with symphony orchestras. He was also cast as the star of the long-running Off-Broadway musical Our Sinatra – a worthy
title not many can attest to.
The singer hopes to visit South Africa in the coming year.