Roslyn Kind :: It’s in the Gene Pool
Don Heckman of the Los Angeles Times once wrote, "Forget that Roslyn Kind is Barbra Streisand’s kid sister. She’s too good.... too special.... to have to worry about comparisons."
And Roslyn Kind is that good. For years Roslyn has received critical acclaim for her sold-out performances on Broadway and top venues around the world - places such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Greek Theater. With musical, stage and television credits to her name, Kind is a multi-talented entertainer who has, in her own right, forged a successful career in all areas of entertainment.
Kind returns to Provincetown on September 2 and 3, 2013 to perform at the Crown and Anchor.
Roslyn’s last album, "Come What May," included "How Do You Keep the Music Playing," from the 1982 film "Best Friends," which was introduced as a single by James Ingram and Patti Austin. Ironically, Streisand recorded the song three years later in 2003, on her "The Movie Album." The past couple of years have seen resurgence in concert performances for Kind, with shows all over North America and Europe. Most notably two of her tours in 2012 and ’13 included shows with her superstar sister Barbra Streisand and nephew Jason Gould. There is no mistake that Kind is a superb singer and entertainer. It’s in the gene pool.
I took the opportunity to visit Roslyn Kind before she partakes in Provincetown’s gay summer fest. We spoke about her love for singing, finding her sense of self, choosing the same path as sister Barbra, and the importance of making people happy.
In the business
BeBe: Roslyn does it surprise you that after all the years that you have been performing and recording, that audiences are still surprised about your experience in the business? Are you still looked at as someone who just popped up on the music scene?
Roslyn Kind: That is interesting because I have been in the business for so many years, but there are people who still don’t know I exist! There are still so many people discovering me for the first time, but how fabulous!
BeBe: Especially when you wow them with the brilliance of your voice.
Roslyn Kind: Well, with every year of life you get more knowledge, more wisdom, more experience, and that all comes out in your talent. Your life experiences enrich your performances more so than when you were 16 years old.
BeBe: Now your mom, Diana Streisand Kind, was a very good singer in her own right, and I’m sure the gene pool helped with the singing voices you and your sister Barbra have. Having developed as a singer early, was there ever a time you thought you wanted to do something else as a profession?
Roslyn Kind: Oh God yes! When I was in grade school I was my teacher’s pet because I was very good at math. So, I thought I would be a math teacher when I was in the 7th and 8th grades, even though in private I would create dances in the mirror to the music of ’Exodus’ and other Biblical stories.
Created own world
BeBe: The math skills come in handy in your career now when it comes to crunching those contract numbers. Ching, ching! (Both laugh) We have to remember it is called show "business".
BeBe: And, you went directly into show business from high school.
Roslyn Kind: I did. Before I graduated from high school I was doing demonstration (demos) records to cultivate my singing. I always loved to sing because it brought me happiness. Singing alone in the mirror, I created my own world - my own sanctuary with pretend scenarios, and I would live them. It made me very happy. As a kid I was very, very shy.
BeBe: You have done quite a bit of work on and off-Broadway. You have a good resume (’3 From Brooklyn,’ ’Show Me Where The Good times Are,’ ’Leader of the Pack’ and ’Ferguson the Tailor’). Was there ever a time you thought you might use your singing talent to pursue a musical stage career?
Roslyn Kind: You know, I think I really love all the areas when it comes to singing. But, I really wanted to go into television. I wanted a television sitcom. In the mid-70s and early 80s I was signed to ABC Paramount, and I was hoping to get a television series even if I was second banana.
BeBe: It’s never too late for television.
Roslyn Kind: I’m up for the challenge. I’d love to do television still, maybe some film. But, I love live performing. I love concert performing because I get to be one on one with my audience. When I see people in the front rows, looking a little unhappy, I work at them the hardest. I have this ability to know when people are hurting. I’m very intuitive to that.
BeBe: I do believe that the universal way to healing is through music.
Roslyn Kind: Definitely! I want to be a positive essence in this world. When I go I want people to say I was a positive energy in the world and that I spread goodness, and unconditional love, and acceptance. I wish everybody could accept other people, in spite of our differences, and focus on the things we agree on.
BeBe: I know you have spent years of listening to comparisons with your sister Barbra Streisand - and well, you do come from the same gene pool!
Roslyn Kind: I like to call it ’the womb with a view’! (Laughs)
BeBe: With that being said, if you had to point out that one thing that sets you apart from everyone else, including Barbra, what would that distinction be?
Roslyn Kind: I don’t know if it is really different from everybody, but I sing songs that I feel really deeply about. I’ve turned down songs that turned out to be hits for others because I didn’t feel them in my heart. If I feel a song from my heart and it means a lot to me, then it is something I want to share it with the rest of the world, audience by audience. It’s really about universal love. I do ’Meadowlark’ from the ’The Baker’s Wife’ (in my show), and I don’t do it in the way it’s done in the musical. I relate it to my own life, and it has a whole other meaning. It’s much more spiritual.
BeBe: You are also a songwriter, correct?
Roslyn Kind: I’ve only written one song called ’Light of Love.’ It has a spiritual message, and I haven’t performed it in awhile. Many people ask why I don’t perform it more. I don’t even have it out on record.
BeBe: Being that songs have to have a deep meaning in order for you to sing them, and your obvious knack for lyrics that resonate with the audience, why haven’t you written more?
Roslyn Kind: I don’t know. Maybe I’m scared of it. I don’t know. I have to push myself more in that way. I’ve never really thought of that. Everybody tells me I should write more. Maybe I can find a writing partner, and we can inspire each other...that spiritual partner.
BeBe: At a young age, in your teens, you had some experience with super-stardom because Barbra, nine years your senior, had already gained that. And, you have taken the same professional path as her. Did you ever have a fear of taking the same career path as Barbra, and trying to make it your own?
Roslyn Kind: I didn’t (have fear) because I love singing. As a youth I didn’t understand the why, you know. Family members tell you when you are young what it is you should be doing, and you don’t really know why you are doing it. But as I grew and became more spiritually aware and gained a sense of self, I (now) know why I am on this earth. I now know why I love it (singing) so much. I’m here to heal... to heal and make people happy. Today there is such a need for understanding, and a need for people to escape. People need something to take them away and give them joy. If I can give that, it gives me a sense of fulfillment. I have a reason to be.
BeBe: You have already, in 2013, been touring extensively with your show, but you had a break in June from your solo show to join Barbra and your nephew Jason Gould (Barbra and actor Elliott Gould’s son) for a little family affair tour across Europe and Israel. How wonderful was that?
Roslyn Kind: It is incredible to travel with your family, have fun with your family, and end up on stage with your family. We did it last year as well in October and November in North America.
BeBe: I have this picture that you and Barbra grew up in musically charged family. I imagine that instead of gathering as a family to play play games, or sit around watching television, that you all instead sang around a piano?
Roslyn Kind: Well, I have to shock you, Bebe. We weren’t that musical family. We’re the kind of people that when we’re working, we’re out there doing our thing. But, when we’re with family, we do everything that is family. We converse and play games. We’re not show business 100% of the time.
Singing with Barbra
BeBe: I guess that explains why until the family tour back in 2012, you and Barbra had never sung together in public before.
Roslyn Kind: Well, Barbra taught me to harmonize as a kid, but until I joined the family tour in Montreal last year, we had never sung together in public. That’s correct.
BeBe: That so hard for me to believe it took so long for that to happen. How sad!
Roslyn Kind: I’ve always said I was open to it for years, but God’s timing is right. It’s got to happen in its time.
BeBe: What song did you duet?
Roslyn Kind: In October 2012, we did the Judy Garland duet ’Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy.’ In June on this year’s tour, we did ’Smile.’
BeBe: Those two songs kind of sum up what we have been speaking about - that thing that brings you to the stage each time, smiling and being happy. And, I’m sure you are going to put a lot of smiles on the faces of your audiences in Provincetown on September 2nd and 3rd at the Paramount. I know performing before a predominantly gay audience is not foreign to you.
Roslyn Kind: No, it’s not. I played Provincetown back in 1994 and 95 at The Crown and Anchor (apart of the Paramount Nightclub chain). I’m looking forward to coming back because in those days they had a piano that had several keys that didn’t play! But I understand that now it is all brand new!
Roslyn Kind appears at Provincetown’s Paramount September 2nd & 3rd. For more information and tickets www.roslynkind.com and www.onlyatthecrown.com/events