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Spencer Day (born 1981) is a modern jazz singer and songwriter who has released three albums: Introducing Spencer Day (2004), Movie of Your Life (2005), and Vagabond (2009).
Spencer Day was born on December 30, 1981, in a small town in Utah. Following his parents' separation, he lived with his grandparents in Arizona. After working in a gas station, he moved to California.
Day appeared on the CBS television network show Star Search in 2002-2003.
Mostly self-taught, Day sang and played piano at bars and retirement homes, typically playing jazz standards. This side of Day is most exhibited in his debut album Introducing Spencer Day (2004). His second album Movie of Your Life (2005) featured his own songs and the title track won San Francisco Academy of Art University's 2005 competition for best original song. Dolby Laboratories chose the video version of the song for use in its global launch of the Dolby 7.1 system.
In the same year, he collaborated with improvisation actor Rafe Chase on a 20-song musical revue, Someday, Love, which premiered at San Franciscos New Conservatory Theatre Center. In addition to writing the score, Day also starred in the show.
Whereas his first two albums were largely self-distributed, Spencer Day's third album, Vagabond (2009), was produced by Concord Jazz. The album peaked at 11 on Billboard's Jazz Album Charts and stayed in the charts for 47 weeks. The single "Til You Come to Me" peaked at number 3 on its Jazz Charts on May 1, 2010. The Smooth Jazz Top 20 Countdown ranked "Til You Come to Me" the number one cut for 2010, the first time a vocalist earned that honor.
The song was broadcast often on easy listening stations such as New York City's 106.7 Lite FM (WLTW). His Vagabond tour took him from coast to coast with a few performances in England and Japan. The song "Joe" on the album is semi-autobiographical and reflects his growing up.
Responding to an interviewer's request to describe his musical influences and styles, he said: "Chet Baker meets Paul Simon. Fusing the Great American Songbook with a contemporary pop aesthetic, the more confessional singer-songwriter world with the classic jazz idiom."
In March 2008, Day opened for Rufus Wainwright at the Napa Valley Opera House. He appeared at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival in the summer of 2008.
Of Day's Tanglewood performance of Mel Tormé's "Born to be Blue" with Marian McPartland on piano, NPR's David Lyon said he "can croon with the best of them." The Village Voice described Day in 2010 as "a prodigious singing/songwriting and piano-plunking talent." The Mercury News said "Day uses intuition and improvisation as his primary tools to craft a sound that is traditional and familiar, yet fresh and innovative at the same time, creating a blend too subtle to parse into neatly defined categories," and described him as "a balladeer for the new century."
in a March 2010 interview, Day discussed how he came out as gay to his family and how Rufus Wainwright and k.d. lang have helped to minimize the impact of his coming out on his career and avoid having his music labeled with his sexuality: "What I do, the causes I'm behind, that's what's important. Who I am, unless it is particularly relevant, has no place in my music." In May 2010, Day discussed his homosexuality and said: "I wanted to stand and be counted....I was born in Utah and I grew up Mormon and I want to be part of building a bridge between the LGBT community and the Mormon community."
Day's charitable activities have included performances on behalf of Catholic Charities' support for HIV/AIDS, the Horizons Foundation, a community-based LGBT philanthropic organization, the children's health charity ONEXONE, and the Human Rights Campaign's Salt Lake City fund-raising dinner.
On June 30, 2010, Day rang NASDAQ's closing bell in recognition of his donation of earnings from downloads of his single "Better Way" to Feeding America.
- CNS News: Tatiana Morales , "Perfect Score On 'Star Search'," January 16, 2003, accessed January 3, 2011
- 2.0 2.1 Frontiers in L.A.: Larry Dean Harris, "Spencer Day: The Boy Next Door Packs up his Piano and Hits the Road," p. 30, September 7-20, 2009, accessed January 3, 2011
- San Francisco Chronicle: David Wiegand, "'Someday' has a nice kick," June 8, 2005, accessed January 3, 2011
- Billboard: Spencer Day, accessed January 3, 2011
- Washington Post: Mike Joyce, "CD review: Spencer Day's 'Vagabond'," April 30, 2010, accessed January 3, 2011
- Smooth Jazz Network News: "Spencer Day Claims Year-End Honor," December 23, 2010, accessed January 3, 2011
- 7.0 7.1 Greg Hernandez (31 March 2010). Singer Spencer Day tells Greg In Hollywood why he's publicly out: "I want to be part of building a bridge". greginhollywood.com. Retrieved on 3 January 2011.
- Napa Valley Register: L. Pierce Carson, "Rufus Wainwright charms sold-out Opera House," March 11, 208, accessed January 3, 2011
- PRweb: "2008 Tanglewood Jazz Festival Announces...," June 10, 2008, accessed January 3, 2010
- NPR: David Lyon, "Nnenna Freelon: Piano Jazz At Tanglewood," May 8, 2009, accessed January 3, 2010
- Village Voice: David Finkle, "Spemcer Day," July 6, 2010, accessed January 3, 2011. See also SFGate: David Wiegand, "Music review: A deft Spencer Day at Rrazz Room," September 10, 2009, accessed January 3, 2011
- Mercury News: "Spencer Day", accessed January 3, 2011
- The Advocate: Ross von Metzke, "Brand-New Day," March 22, 2010, accessed January 3, 2011
- Just Out (Portland, OR): Nick Mattos, "Keeping it Classy," October 15, 2010, accessed January 3, 2011: "Day, who was raised Mormon in the heart of Utah, came out last year and has since campaigned tirelessly to build bridges between the gay community and Latter_Day Saints."
- Catholic Charities CYO: "Singer-songwriter Spencer Day to perform," December 3, 2005, accessed January 3, 2011
- San Francisco Bay Times: Dennis McMillan, "Horizons Foundation Celebrates 25 Years of Community Philanthropy," October 6, 2005, accessed January 3, 2011
- Look to the Stars: "Matt Damon Announces 2nd Annual ONEXONE Fundraiser In San Francisco," September 30, 2009, accessed January 3, 2011
- HRC Utah Steering Committee: "Rising Star, National Recording Artist And Utah Native, Spencer Day, To Perform At HRC Gala Dinner," April 20, 2010, accessed January 3, 2011
- NASDAQ: "Recording Artist Spencer Day to Ring NASDAQ Stock Market Closing Bell," June 29, 2010, accessed January 3, 2011
- Official Web Site
- Jazz Session, Tanglewood interview audio, September 12, 2008
- Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, May 8, 2009, originally recorded August 30, 2008
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