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  • Empire State College News Magazine
  • Michael Anthony; WHPC Radio, NY
  • Dr. Herb Wong, Famed Critic
  • Joe Franklin, Famed TV and Radio Host. WOR Radio (710 AM); WBBR Radio (1130 AM)


    The ballroom sits in virtual darkness. Perched high atop the buzzing streets of Manhattan's nocturne, illumination comes in the subdued flicker of tabletop candlelight. Suddenly, a spotlight beams across the stage catching a glimmer of sequins; the curtains rise unveiling the city's skyline and flood the ballroom with a galaxy of streaming stars. When the snare drum snaps, twinkles of ivories fall.

    Welcome to Babey's World.

    Stepping into the stage light and extending a glove-laced hand towards the microphone, she transports the ballroom, and all its occupants, from a modern day Metropolis to a by-gone era of cocktail dresses and evening gowns, purely with the use of her voice.

    Possessing a three-octave vocal range, Babey's performance is a journey through the Great American Songbook. For some, it is a recreation of fond memories; others are experiencing a particular version of history for the first time. It is a repertoire that plays just as well to audiences along the East Coast of the United States, as it does across the great ocean. Cabaret nights in Rome have found Babey on stage standing beside a grand piano taking that "Sentimental Journey", or, immortalizing Duke Ellington for modern-day European audiences. Mostly however, she's known as a mainstay of New York's night club circuit, where her interpretations of swing-time classics and scorching ballads have garnered praise from New York radio and press alike.

    "Many of my ideas come from watching old movies," she says from her NY apartment, describing the ambience of the times that she projects in performance.

    "A friend who came to one of my performances recently told me that while I was onstage singing, she could swear Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall walked into the room," she laughs. What did they do? "Oh, they casually walked over to their table and sat down to listen, while everyone else craned their necks to see them."

    Her musical inspirations come from Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald, and technique from Hal Schaefer, vocal coach to Barbra Streisand, Marilyn Monroe, Peggy Lee, and Doris Day. Babey has also collaborated with David Sorin Collyer (Liza Minelli), and has had original songs written for her by "Blue Velvet" and "(There She Is) Miss America" songwriting guru Bernie Wayne. Offstage, Babey is Susan Friedwald in "real" life, adding a number of film, TV, and theatre appearances to her resume. In the late 1990s, Friedwald studied the Business of Music at Empire State College. Already possessing her love of music and a gifted voice, with years of training, she tailored her studies on learning how these personal strengths and talents could be translated into a business environment. Focusing specifically on marketing, and promotions, she graduated from Empire State College with a B.S.

    In addition to live engagements, a full-length studio CD has been released. Titled "The Song Begins," the mix of ballads and up-tempo swing capture the "jazz influenced pop" genre of the 20th century songbook she is so fond of. Fans eagerly awaiting the launch of her web site Babey.com, can find temporary solace by picking up "The Song Begins" at major retailers and on-line music sources such as Amazon.com, CDNOW.com, and others.

    Reviewer: Tom Dimopoulos
    Empire State College News Magazine

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