Jazz vocalist Rondi Charleston can easily count In My Life as her most innovative project to date. It is a lyrical testament to Rondi’s life story of reinvention and determination. The 14-track CD includes Rondi’s first two original compositions, Ancient Steps and Telescope, both songs having quickly become audience favorites and receiving high critical praise. The 11-track bonus DVD contains the first live performance ever documented and presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. Of the new album, recorded at Bennett Studios, Rondi says, "It's like coming home, but with vast, invaluable life experiences, peppered with some wisdom, which is the treasure-trove from which I draw my inspiration.” For Rondi, the search for truth and core of the story and lyrics of her songs are paramount. "I think of it as deep sea diving,” she says. “My job is to dive down deep and bring back the shining pearl to share with everyone. What drives me is my passion to live and breathe my honesty, truth and integrity into every song and story. That's what I hope resonates through me to my audience."
Few musicians of any genre can count Emmy and Peabody Awards for journalism in their resumes. Rondi’s path to radio’s airwaves and the stages of the nation’s top performance venues is a news story of its own. While it's rare for an emerging artist to so convincingly capture the hearts of top music critics and industry insiders, Rondi has learned how to engage her jazz and mainstream audiences with a sense of storytelling that goes beyond delivering lyrics. She captivates her fans with her honesty, charm and true sophistication.
Her considerable presence and determination landed her in Juilliard’s Drama and Voice departments at age 16 after an audition with the late John Houseman. After graduating and singing opera professionally, she felt a need to expand her horizons. She longed to be a cultural reporter for “CBS Sunday Morning.” So, with the same determination that got her into Juilliard, she enrolled in the Master's program at NYU’s School of Journalism, beginning a career of investigative news reporting. While there, she broke a major cover-up story of a New York City Metro North train crash. When her investigation lead to features in The New York Times and the New York Daily News, the Dean of NYU’s School of Journalism called the head of talent at ABC News and encouraged her to hire Rondi. Virtually overnight Rondi became an investigative reporter for “Prime Time Live,” working with Diane Sawyer for the next six years. Her hard work and talent eventually led to Emmy and Peabody Awards for stories she co-produced.
Even in the midst of undercover assignments, music was never far from Rondi's thoughts. Her childhood dream to sing jazz re-surfaced and resonated with her continued sense of re-invention. “One night in 1996, I was singing at a nightclub in the Village and Diane Sawyer came to hear me. After the set she said, 'Rondi, I came because I like you and like working with you, but you never told me you were really good. You could really do this.'"
Deciding to feed her deep love of music and true desire to sing, Rondi left journalism and took the next step toward realizing her full potential. While devoting time to raising her daughter Emma, she never strayed far from continuing her musical evolution.
In My Life is living proof that music is now her full-time gig. Come experience the next chapter of this great story as it unfolds with Rondi, who is, as one jazz critic notes, “…the jazz equivalent of a gin and tonic: tart, cool, clear and effervescent, with a deliciously subtle kick.”