Even after hundreds of performances all over the world, the music of Gwen Hughes remains compelling and hard to classify.
Jazz? Pop? Post-modern melodic posturing? Funkified low-carb song styling? Well, you won’t find her in the sale bin with Perry Como, that’s for sure.
Her her first CD, Torch Life, birthed her successful “Kool Kat Lounge A-Go-Go” show, replete with cigarette girls, jugglers, comedians and a 14-piece band. Next came two more CDs in a single year: the introspective studio recording Lost and Found and a freewheeling live release, The Misplaced Martini. Both of her original offerings have had Grammy entry, and individual tracks have been recognized by National Public Radio, Just Plain Folks and CDBaby. Along the way, she has crooned from Paris to Prague To Istanbul, collaborated on a film about Elvis impersonators, and appeared as a character in a detective novel (Phillip DePoy’s , “Dancing Made Easy,” published by Dell.)
Gwen is also an Officer with The Recording Academy; a Grammy Foundation Ambassador (preserving the American music heritage); Johnny Mercer “Artist in Residence” with the former GA Music Hall of Fame; Board Member with Georgia Music Partners; and a producer of “One City, Many Voices,” which raises money annually for Atlanta Community Ministries.
Instead of Light was produced in New York with Blue Note Records veteran, DANNY KOPELSON, behind the world-famous Neve board.
But her music doesn’t stop with CD sales…it has had wider exposure in multiple media, supplemented by her own TV and film appearances. From Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” to The Travel Channel’s “Faked Out,” Gwen has been in front of the camera as an actor. As a songwriter, her tunes have been in films like “The Love Orchard” (2012), “Crazy Eyes” (2012) and on TV shows like “Man vs. Wild” (Discovery Channel).
Gwen just completed for her 12th tour of Eastern Europe in 2014, starting with Slovenia and including Italy & Croatia. At home in the USA, Gwen leads a variety of ensembles, some as small as duos to as large as 15 piece big bands – playing almost 200 dates every year. She is also an advocate for music education all over the world, working with students of all ages in the US, Morocco, Kenya, Slovenia, and France.
2012 also saw Gwen cast in the world premiere of Stephen King and John Mellencamp’s Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, with music production by T-Bone Burnette. The show opened to generally favorable reviews…and Gwen had the privilege of understudying Tony-nominee Emily Skinner, going on multiple times as the wife of Tony-winner Shuler Hensley. AEG Live mounted a national tour of the show in 2013, with a limited Broadway run scheduled for 2014.
2013 saw the recording of Gwen’s 6th album, tentatively titled “Fragile Faith, “ produced by Grammy-winner Khari Simmons (of India.Arie fame). Simultaneously, after years of preparation, Gwen’s European band, Mono, put out a record of her songs with them, “Dancing in the Moonlight” (available exclusively on iTunes).