Being Judy Garland won Zellweger an Oscar. Is a Grammy next?


Renée Zellweger is thought for appearing however you possibly can simply write a thesis about her love for music.

The entertainer won her second Academy Award for portraying Judy Garland in final 12 months’s Judy, for which Zellweger did her personal singing in entrance of stay audiences. She was praised for her efficiency in 2002’s Chicago. And she’s an avid concertgoer and live-music appreciator who jumped up and down in her robe when Eminem shocked the viewers finally 12 months’s Oscars and regardless of being an A-list star, sneaks out to live shows simply to get her music repair.

She’s additionally a proud card-carrying member of the Beyhive.

“She raises the bar when it comes to work ethic. I admire with her that if she’s going to do it, she’s knocking it into the stratosphere or she’s not going to do it,” stated Zellweger, who gushed over Beyoncé’s groundbreaking efficiency on the 2005 Oscars. “She was the north star on that one … She’s the one carrying that gift we’re all so blessed to experience in one way or another.”

So it ought to be no shock — until you’re Zellweger — that she’s earned her first Grammy nomination this 12 months. The Judy soundtrack, which options Zellweger overlaying songs like “Over the Rainbow” and “The Trolley Song,” is nominated for finest conventional pop vocal album — an award Tony Bennett has won a dozen occasions.

“I don’t guess that’s something I thought about to be honest,” Zellweger stated in a cellphone interview about listening to the phrases “Grammy-nominated” earlier than her title. “That’s not something I walked around imagining. It sure was a thrilling surprise.”

She is competing in a class with musicians whose live shows she’s attended and songs she’s performed for years. Nominees embody Burt Bacharach, James Taylor, Harry Connick Jr. and Rufus Wainwright, who performs “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with Zellweger on the Judy album.

“It was scary to ask Rufus, ‘Hey, what are you doing? Want to come sing a duet with me?,’” she recalled. “I know people say that all the time, but it’s the truth: I really have been singing with Rufus for 20 years-plus in my car.”

Zellweger remembers seeing Connick Jr. stay, describing the crooner as “an authentic person and performer.”

“What you see is what you get,” Zellweger stated. “Stomping his foot up there onstage at the Hollywood Bowl and you feel like you’re in the living room with him or something.”

“Speaking of the living room,” she continued, “a friend of mine had won this lottery thing or bid on something. It was a private concert with Burt … and Carole Bayer Sager and they played in the living room. And he played ‘Alfie’ in the living room. Oh, believe me. I was downloading every moment in my memory — just to savor it and to smile on it.”

Getting Zellweger to go on and on about music is gentle work. The Texan has been going for live shows for years and he or she even had tickets for a present that was not too long ago canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I sneak off by myself all the time. I love to go up to the Santa Barbara Bowl whenever I get a chance. I’ll fly to Texas and I’ll sneak around Austin to see people play. I’ll go up to Dallas,” she stated. “One of the things I think I’ve missed the most is getting to congregate and listen to music in that way. There’s nothing quite like it.”

Convincing Zellweger she’s a actual singer is a more durable job. When she’s requested when she knew she might sing, she replied: “I still don’t know.”

“I still don’t think of myself as a singer. I think of myself as someone who’s trying to sing. Or who works to. I still don’t know what I sound like when I’m just being myself,” she defined. “So, yeah, I don’t know.”

She skilled closely to get her voice sturdy sufficient to carry out in Judy, which chronicles the final years of Garland’s life shortly earlier than her loss of life in 1969 at age 47.

“Previously I didn’t know much about what goes into building a voice or that it was even possible. I just sort of did what I was told (and I) was very happy to have things to try. I liked looking at the project and the goal from that perspective. It seemed insurmountable otherwise.”

Zellweger impressed audiences and critics all over the world, successful on the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, BAFTAs and Independent Spirit Awards. She needed to observe habits like touring musicians do to maintain her voice collectively: “Dairy was out the door. No thanks.”

“I never really understood the whole air conditioning problem, but I did in this experience,” she continued. “I know that there are certain cycles where you are stronger as a vocalist and less strong depending on where you are in terms of your sleeping and resting. All of these things came into play in a really significant way.”

The 2021 Grammys will mark a full circle second for Garland and her influence on popular culture — Zellweger’s efficiency of her songs is being honoured practically six a long time after Garland made historical past on the 1962 present, turning into the primary girl to win album of the 12 months with “Judy at Carnegie Hall.”

Because of the pandemic, Zellweger almost definitely won’t attend the January 31 Grammys, however she shall be watching — and she is going to dress up.

“I like to be respectful and appropriate. It’s a pretty cool thing,” she stated. “It’s not something that you expect is going to be on your list of life experiences so when you do, you might want to cover your pimples, brush your hair (and) take off your baseball hat.”


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