Her rep calls her a “musician, actress and producer.” That’s absolutely true. We must add, however, that Rita Wilson is also the wife of Tom Hanks. Liza always told us that her Mama [Judy] “opened doors, but it was my foot that kept them open.”
Wilson has a very nice voice (we own her debut 2012 CD, “AM/FM”) and wonder if she could have opened the music world’s doors without a little help. (Her second CD, “Girls” Night In,” escaped and flopped big-time earlier this year.) Whatever the case, Wilson is keeping those doors open: Her second studio album–self-titled Rita Wilson, a collection of original songs that she co-wrote–will be released this Spring, and will be the springboard for a 2016 tour featuring material from the album. The tour will begin in March and cross more than 20 cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Boston, Nashville, Philadelphia and Chicago before concluding on May 4 in Milwaukee. Before kicking off her headline tour, Wilson will have a residency at the famed Café Carlyle in New York City beginning Feb 23 until March 5.
Although Wilson is well-known as an actress (“It’s Complicated”, “Sleepless in Seattle”, recurring roles on “The Good Wife”, “Girls”) as well as a film producer (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, “Mamma Mia!”), few people may be aware that Rita’s early show-biz ambitions were actually musical. Born and raised in the Hollywood Hills (nearly above the Hollywood Bowl), Wilson harbored dreams of becoming a singer in the ‘60s and ‘70s after admitted “falling in love” with The Beatles, The Mamas & the Papas, Janis Joplin and The Supremes. She even took a part-time job as a ticket-taker at what was then the Universal Amphitheatre as a way to see such popular acts of the day as Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, James Taylor and The Eagles.
“I would watch these artists on stage and ache from wondering, ‘How can I get up there? How can I get to do that?’” Wilson recalls. After achieving her dream in 2012 with the critically-acclaimed “AM/FM”–an intimate, elegant, and beautifully sung collection of classics from the ‘60s and ‘70s–Wilson has been focusing on a new component of her musical career as a songwriter.
During the past two years she has collaborated with a number of extremely talented and successful songwriters composing original material to be featured on Rita Wilson. Wilson’s songwriting partners include Grammy Award winners/nominees Jessi Alexander, Matraca Berg, Kristian Bush, Nathan Chapman, Kara DioGuardi, Brett James, Richard Marx and Dan Wilson, as well as acclaimed songwriters Kelly Archer, Darrell Brown, Blair Daly, Eric Kaz, Stephan Moccio, Jon Randall, Jason Reeves, and The Warren Brothers. Producers contributing to Wilson’s upcoming album include Ron Aniello, Mikal Blue, Nathan Chapman, Richard Marx, John Shanks, Dan Wilson and Babyface.
“I would have never attempted songwriting if I hadn’t been encouraged by Kara DioGuardi to write.” (Singer-songwriter DioGuardi’s songs have appeared on albums which have sold more than 160 million copies worldwide.) “She and I had met through “Chicago” as we both played Roxie Hart, and she offered to write with me. With Kara and Jason Reeves, I wrote two songs and that gave me the confidence to keep writing.” (Reeves is a singer-songwriter and long-time collaborator with singer Colbie Caillat and co-wrote her hits “Bubbly” and “Realize.”) Adds Wilson: “I have truly loved writing songs. It’s opened up a new way to discover what you feel about something or a way to create something that is deeply personal or, perhaps, isn’t necessarily based on personal experience, but on an emotion or idea you want to explore. I’m excited to share these new original songs with the audience.”
American Express will have access to pre-sale tickets in select cities beginning Wednesday November 18 at 10 a.m. local time. General tickets for most cities will be available beginning Friday, November 20 at 10 a.m. local time. For complete pre-sale details and ticket information, visit ritawilson.com.