Congratulations on Songs My Mother Taught Me. Why has it taken you so long to record your mother’s songs?
It took me a long time to feel comfortable and to try and understand where I came from -“ to understand my legacy. But when I did, I embraced it.
Was selecting the songs an emotional process?
Not really. I don’t believe you get to know your parents until you’re in your 40s. Then you start to look at your legacy and what you’re going to tell your children. So once I started to really come to terms with who I was, and the incredible gift that I had been left, and to embrace the fact that I had this wonderful music library, it wasn’t really painful for me. In a way it was sort of comforting and joyous.
But not everyone’s mother is Judy Garland. There must have been some pressure to perform the songs well.
You have to be ready to perform them. All of us who have these legends as parents, it takes us a long time to understand everything, especially when they’re not there to guide us. So there wasn’t any pressure -“ it’s up to you if you let yourself get overwhelmed by it.
You actually performed with your mother. Did that have an impact on you?
Probably not -¦ for everyone else she was a legend, but for me she was just my mum. It wasn’t like, Wow, she’s a movie star. I grew up with her.
Interestingly, you don’t sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Why?
I’ve never sung it -“ nor would I, because I’m not going to do it any better. Usually what you do with those songs is leave them alone. Frank Sinatra once said to me, I wouldn’t touch that with a 10-foot pole.
The standout song on the album is The Man That Got Away. It’s such an iconic song. What was going through your mind when you sang that?
I just wanted to make sure that it was honest and believable and that I wasn’t just singing another song. It was from the only movie that my mother and my father [Sid Luft] made together, A Star Is Born. So that made it real special.
A Star is Born was the height of your mother’s creative career, wasn’t it?
I think it was the be-all and end-all of her as a performer and actor. A Star Is Born was her Gone With The Wind.
You’ve done heaps of musical theatre work rather than film.
I’m really pleased to have that theatrical background and training. It’s driven me nuts that these young kids get out, start to sing and then come backstage to me and say, What advice can you give me? I say, Know what you’re singing about, know what the song is.