By Bobbie Katz
Thousands of people will be flooding into Las Vegas this weekend for the Fourth of July holiday but lots of Las Vegas residents will be staying put and enjoying the fact that Holmes is where the heart is.
At the core of the natter is acclaimed entertainer and The Smith Center for the Performing Arts resident headliner Clint Holmes, who will be performing in the Cabaret Jazz room July 4-6 with his show that melds the love songs of two great writers from different eras, Cole Porter and Paul Simon. Holmes first performed the self-created program at the Carlyle in New York City and it won the award for “Bistro Show of the Year.” As with all the shows he performs, it speaks to the fact that Holmes’ ability to connect with his own emotions transcends into a love story that touches every member of his audience.
“I’ve grown immensely as an artist over the past eight years,” reveals Holmes, who formerly was the resident artist at Harrah’s for six years. “Things took a huge turn back in 1999 when I met Larry Moss, who is the acting coach for Leonardo DiCaprio as well as other stars like Helen Hunt and Chris Rock. He’s a genius. He taught me to go deeper than I’ve ever gone where the lyrics to a song are concerned. He taught me how to touch my personal experiences because the more specific you are on stage, the more universal you are. When you narrow in on the words, the audience doesn’t have to know what you’re thinking; they will identify and be taken to their own place. You’re telling a story.
“Larry and I worked on leaving behind the affectations of show business,” he continues. “There’s no disconnect in the story to talk to the audience or do something cute. This Cole Porter/Paul Simon show started off as a group of songs and turned into a play. Larry told me that if I wanted it to be, it could be a great love story. When you see a play, the actors are always in character and the audience is brought into the journey that the actor is taking. Even the movements on stage have meaning. I hardly talk in this show but the audience will experience young love, disillusionment, infidelity, loss, fear, and passion through the music.”
Holmes admits that, these days, he feels excited all the time because he knows that he has more to do creatively and artistically. One thing he is thrilled about is his upcoming CD, which he says is the best opportunity he’s ever had in his career. He is recording it in Los Angeles at Capitol Records where Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin recorded. Half of the CD has been recorded with a 40-piece orchestra and after he performs at the Hollywood Bowl with the Count Basie Orchestra on July 9, the Count Basie Orchestra will come to Capitol and record two songs for the CD with him.
“I duet with Dee Dee Bridgewater from Porgy and Bess on ‘I Loves You Porgy’ and ‘There’s a Boat That’s Leaving Soon’ and with Jane Monheit on ‘Everytime I Say Goodbye.’” he adds. “I sing ‘Maria’ from West Side Story, my favorite song in the whole world There are three or four originals on there that I’ve written. I mix John Mayer’s ‘Stop This Train,’ which I do with a Brazilian beat, with a song I wrote with Davy Nathan called ‘The Perfect Trance,’ which is a bachatta, a pop Latin groove, that I am recording in English and Spanish. And there’s much more. Grammy-nominated Shelley Berg arranged most of the songs – he produced Gloria Estefan’s last CD. Greg Field is producing my CD and he just won Grammys two years in a row for Arturo Sandoval’s CDs.”
Known for his eclectic style and his ability to sing any genre of music from Broadway to pop to standards to Latin to jazz, Holmes notes that he is an interpreter of song and explains that the interpretation factor is the difference between a singer and an artist. He is motivated by discipline. He says that his work ethic is to stand on the shoulders of people like Sammy Davis Jr. and Harry Belafonte and give a show everything he has. It is his growth and artistry that matters to him rather than stardom. The only reason he cares about the latter is that it brings in audiences as well as opportunities for records, theater, and other things.
“I want to sing until I’m 85 or 90,” he emotes.
In the theater arena, many years ago, Holmes wrote and starred in an autobiographical musical called Comfortable Shoes about his struggle to fit in, having been born to a mother who was a white British opera singer and a father who was a black jazz singer and raised in an era when interracial marriages were frowned upon. He and a wonderful cast that included Broadway star Riva Rice performed the play at UNLV in Las Vegas under the name J.A.M. (Just Another Man) and now he is bringing out a new version of it under the name Stop This Train, after the John Mayer song, with Cecilia Johnson producing. He will be performing it at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey, in December with hopes of eventually taking it to New York.
Meanwhile, back in Vegas, Holmes will be receiving the Hero Award for his participation in the Clark County School District’s Artists for Kids program on September 20. Teachers identify students that are talented or motivated in the arts and Holmes then mentors, works with, or arranges for the proper person to work with these children.
For Las Vegas residents and the city’s visitors alike, when it comes to what lies at the heart of the city, there’s no place like Holmes’.
This article appears by courtesy of Vegas Insider Daily.com.