Kerry Butler Interview: Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust
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Today is a big day for Kerry Butler. On the same day her debut solo album, Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust, is released she received a Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for her role in Xanadu. But like many ardent Disney fans she might just give it all up to be a princess and live at the Magic Kingdom. At least that's the impression I got when I interviewed her about Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust.
I had the opportunity to talk to Kerry about a week before the CD's release about the album and why Disney is so important to her. And while it's easy to see why someone might do an album of Disney covers with its built-in broad audience, it became very clear that wasn't why this one was made. Butler's love of Disney came through very clearly, and it's that love that should set Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust apart from so many other Disney cover albums. (Note: Another thing that sets Kerry apart is her support of various causes - some of which can be viewed here on her website - and a portion of the proceeds of the sales of the CD will be going to World Vision.)
LaughingPlace.com: So why did you choose a Disney theme for your very first album?
Kerry Butler: Well, I am obsessed with Disney. And I have been wanting to do a Disney album for a long time but then I kind of thought well, we are Disney fans but to the rest of the world we might seem a little cuckoo or something, and so I thought since I�m in the Broadway world maybe I should have a few Disney songs and then mainstream it a little bit more.
But it kept coming back that that�s just where my heart is and all the songs I was choosing were sort of Disney songs and so we just decided it should just be a Disney album. And I hired Michael Kosarin who worked with me on Beauty and the Beast. And he was like, �Kerry, you have to do a Disney album. You love Disney.�
And so it ended up being a Disney album but we also have �Disneyland,� which actually isn�t a Disney song but it�s written by Howard Ashman and it was in the musical �Smile� and the whole song is how I want to live in Disneyland.
LP: I can relate to that.
KB: I know. I think that�s the truth for all of us Disney fans.
LP: You played Belle in Beauty and the Beast on Broadway right?
LP: And you were also Ariel in an early workshop of The Little Mermaid?
KB: Yes. And I recorded all the demos for Ariel.
LP: So how does it feel to be a real-live Disney princess? Especially being a mom now?
KB: Well, it�s definitely fun. But my dream is to be a real Disney princess in a cartoon and that hasn�t happened yet. But, you know, I was definitely a favorite aunt for a while when I did Beauty and the Beast. And it�s so great to be in a show that appeals to everybody. So many times I�ll do Broadway shows and they�re like "yeah, you can�t bring your kids." So that�s the great thing about Disney. It is magical and you see the people at the stage door and they�re just so excited to meet you. So it is fun and it was a dream come true doing that part.
LP: That was actually my next question. You would like to be an original Disney princess yourself?
KB: That is my dream in life. To be the voice of a Disney cartoon.
LP: Well, I hope that comes true.
KB: Thank you.
LP: Speaking of dreams, before I called you, I was watching your �Behind the Scenes� video from your web site and you talk about �Dreams Coming True,� which often require a struggle and you talked about how that led to I�ll Try, which happens to be one of my absolute favorite songs. Can you talk about that song, in particular, on the album?
KB: Yeah. I love I�ll Try, as well. We go to Disney World all the time. We go at least four times a year. That�s how addicted we are. And so we got to Disney World right before September 11. We came back the day before September 11 to New York. And then September 11 happened.
And Disney World is sort of about getting faith back in humanity for us. And it�s not about going on the rides. It�s not about the magic, even though that is a great part of it. But for us it�s just that idea that everybody likes each other and everybody�s friendly to each other. So we were like, �I feel like I have to go back to Disney World.�
That�s what Disney is for us. It�s just this kind of cleansing thing where you can gain your innocence back and gain your hope back. And that�s what I think I�ll Try is. How you can see things around you. And not to be in the dark. Not to have blinders on to what�s really happening in the world. But to see the things and then to still try and have that hope and faith in goodness. Yeah. I guess that�s it.