Even after a New York City blizzard that scrambled his travel plans and played havoc with fans getting to his concert only hours away, singer and keyboardist Spencer Day seemed as upbeat as the morning sun last week.
“Tonight oughta be interesting!” he cheerily posted on his Facebook page, sounding so chipper as if he were in snow business as much as show business.
No real mention of frustrations and frazzles. The 39-year-old bluesy, jazzy vocalist, one who seems to effortlessly croon nearly any style, wanted to talk about the comedic theme and flow to his upcoming Cabaret at The Commons show Jan. 18 in downtown Columbus. Then he discovered he already had sold more than 250 tickets as one of the performers local audiences badly wanted back after a show from January 2016.
Some in the audience that night posted social-media notes about “swooning” over his smooth, Harry Connick-style ways and baritone voice.
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“I’m so flattered and very, very grateful,” said the San Diego resident. “The point of my job is to make people happy and help them access emotions that our daily lives often don’t allow for. If people are requesting for me to return, then I’m hoping I might have done some of that, which is the whole point of my life.”
He promises an 80-minute set full of tunes from his sixth and latest album of original material, “Angel City” — “an imaginary city that we have all dreamed about finding at one point or another,” as he put it.
The native Utah farmboy got a late start in serious singing in his 20s, struggling to believe he had pipes like his opera-singer mother or choral-singing sibling (thank goodness his roommate heard him singing in the shower). But goodness, via impromptu “Star Search” fame, how he has made up for lost time, with his mostly independent albums of material from pop to jazz to blues, and a flurry of appearances at major venues ranging from The Monterey Jazz Festival to the Hollywood Bowl.
“It could be that I’m just like a parrot — no brains but an uncanny ability to memorize and repeat back things,” he said. “Well, hopefully, it’s more than that.
“I’m not sure how exactly I fell into what I do, but I couldn’t really seem to sing in a big conventionally classical way and I didn’t really gravitate to it much, either. When I heard breathy, bluesy torch singers like Chet Baker, Julie London, Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee or even Marilyn Monroe, I thought, ‘Hey, I can do that.’”
And do it in his own, original way, even with last month’s Christmas covers all over places such as youtube.com.
In one of his latest, catchy, original pop tunes, “72 and Sunny,” he sings of learning to “fake it ’til I make it” and pasting on a smile. But read reviews of concerts and you will find that he wins the day with critics and others with a sincere, spontaneous approach that even his own handlers decided not to tamper with several years ago while they considered tweaking his stage presence.
“I’m gonna fake it ’til I make it, and everybody’s gonna believe it,” he sings near the end of the song. “Maybe even me.”
The lyrics are part of his heart — and tie into the new year and his singular resolution.
“The only one I have so far is to be much better about looking in the mirror every day and saying positive affirmations about myself,” he said. “I have discovered that no one has been meaner to me in my adult life than I am to myself and I’m really working to change that. I think a lot of people might actually be able to relate to that sentiment.”
For a moment, the 72-and-sunny singer turned briefly back to the outside elements, and what he expected to face in sometimes-blustery Indiana by next week.
“As a Californian transplant, I expect to find myself brutalized by the weather,” he said. “However, knowing how warm the people are in the town, I can’t wait.”
Who: Bluesy, jazzy singer and pianist Spencer Day in the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic’s Cabaret at The Commons series. He was a big hit with a local audience at his first cabaret show two years ago.
When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18.
Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St. in downtown Columbus.
Tickets: Only $40 tickets are left for the slightly more than 400-seat show.
Information: 812-376-2638 or thecip.org.