Singing star Linda Eder, who made her Broadway debut 19 years ago in the musical “Jekyll & Hyde,” has released 18 solo albums, including two of Christmas songs.
“Most artists at some point in their career will do a Christmas CD,” says Eder, who will perform a holiday concert with the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida on Sunday night at Hard Rock Live near Hollywood.
Eder’s album “Christmas Stays the Same” came out in 2000. She released the follow-up, “Christmas Where You Are,” 13 years later.
“A lot of years went by and I decided that it was time again — let’s do another one,” Eder said. “No matter what, they’re always popular with people. Not only do people like the music, but they make great gifts. It’s usually a good safe bet to do a Christmas CD.”
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A safe bet was important to Eder: She planned to record and release the disc on her own, without a major music distributor.
“I chose [a Christmas album] to be my first choice when I decided to go on my own and start my own label,” she said. “I decided that if I was going to put the financial commitment there, it was a little bit scary for me, but I thought ‘OK, let’s make the first one a Christmas CD.’ It just worked out really well and that gave me the confidence to make the next CD and the next CD.”
So far, Eder has released three of her own albums. “I wish I had started sooner because it’s been fun again,” she said. “More control. I’m a bit of a control freak so I enjoy that aspect of it. It’s actually been more lucrative doing it on my own, which is amazing.”
Eder, 55, was born in Tucson, Arizona, and raised in Brainerd, Minnesota. She began singing in high school.
“Choir was a huge part of my high school experience,” she said. “My choir teacher is the one I credit for getting me over my shyness to perform in the first place. It means a lot to me. You talk about things that bring you back to memories of your youth. And choirs are definitely one of those things.”
In 1987, Eder won TV’s “Star Search” for 12 consecutive weeks, which led to her first commercial recording in 1991. She received a Drama Desk nomination for her 1997 starring role as Lucy in the musical “Jekyll & Hyde.” She briefly married “Jekyll & Hyde” composer Frank Wildhorn and together they have a son, Jake.
Following “Jekyll & Hyde,” Eder has recorded albums and performed in concert halls and nightclubs.
She is known for performing standards and Broadway songs.
“Let’s make a distinction here: There’s good Broadway and bad Broadway,” she said. “There are a lot of wonderful actor-dancers who are not really known as singers. That’s how Broadway sometimes gets that negative connotation of ‘not very great’ Broadway voices doing the songs.
“But then you have the fantastic Broadway performers. The reason they go over so well in live performances is that a well-written Broadway song sung well is very dramatic and emotional and lends itself to live performance.”
Many of her concerts are performed with amateur choruses, she said.
“When it’s a choir, there is strength in numbers. There’s a way of leveling out. The pitch turns out to be accurate when you mix all the voices,” she said. “Some people might be naturally on the high side of the pitch; some people might be on the low side of the pitch. Then there are ones who are right down the middle. The whole thing just evens itself out, especially the more numbers you add.”
Sunday night, she’ll sing with 115 members of the 140-man Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida.
This year’s holiday concert comes six months after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, in which 49 LGBTQ people and allies were shot to death early June 12 by a lone gunman, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
“Our big emphasis for the concert this year is building bridges and bringing people together. Things were so tough in Orlando and it just startled us. There’s so much work to be done in the LGBT community,” said Mark Kent, the chorus’ executive director.
Kent is particularly happy this year’s holiday concert will be performed in a mainstream club like Hard Rock Live.
“We feel the venue itself, the partnership, will help engage more people than we have in the past,” he said. “And Linda’s a fantastic artist and she has great broad appeal. The concert itself is a coming together of the community.”
If you go
▪ What: Linda Eder performs a holiday concert with the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida
▪ When: 8 p.m. Sunday
▪ Where: Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, near Hollywood
▪ Tickets and details: $40 to $60 plus fees, at Ticketmaster