Her powerful, emotional vocal style is finding new expression in her latest album By Myself: The Songs of Judy Garland is a tribute to the legendary singer who remains one of the most inspirational models for Eder's own music. In another new venture, Eder is working with the Animal Planet cable network on a show called Trail Mix about the bond that springs up between horses and several creative artists.
After graduating from high school and traveling the nightclub circuit, her first big break came on TV's "Star Search," where she had an unprecedented 13-week undefeated run. "Star Search" proved to be fateful for another reason. While in Hollywood, Linda was introduced to her future husband, composer Frank Wildhorn, who was in the planning stages for the stage version of Jekyll & Hyde. The couple was married in 1998. "We really bring out the best in each other," Linda explains. "Since he is writing for me, I can describe the type of songs I want to sing. And he writes with my voice as a reference point in his head."
The Chicago Tribune gushed about that voice, saying, "Like Ethel Merman, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand before her, Eder has more voice than most mere mortals." Linda explains her voice like this: "Most people switch into their head voice at a certain point, but I don't. It's a full-on belt all the way up."
In 1990, Jekyll & Hyde premiered at the Alley Theater in Houston, with Eder in the role of Lucy, the doomed nightclub singer of questionable virtue, who falls under the attention of both the good Dr. Jekyll and his evil alter ego, Edward Hyde. The show went on a 35-city national tour before opening on Broadway at the Plymouth Theater in 1997. Linda's full-throated delivery of the show's major ballads, "Someone Like You," "In His Eyes" and "A New Life" earned Eder love-letter reviews. USA TODAY raved, "Linda Eder plays the prostitute Lucy with a captivating presence and a Streisand-esque singing voice that elevates everything it touches." She also gained a legion of devoted fans who call themselves "Jekkies."
Eder has recorded five well-received solo albums: LINDA EDER (RCA), AND SO MUCH MORE (Angel), IT'S TIME (Atlantic), IT'S NO SECRET ANYMORE (Atlantic), and a holiday album, CHRISTMAS STAYS THE SAME (Atlantic), which USA Today ranked as one of it's top ten overall albums of 2000, along side U2 and Don Henley. She can also be heard on the original Broadway cast album for Jekyll & Hyde (Atlantic) and the original concept albums for Wildhorn's other stage musicals, The Scarlet Pimpernel (Angel) and The Civil War (Atlantic).
With her newest and sixth solo release, GOLD (Atlantic), Linda takes a dramatic step into a more contemporary pop genre. "I've done three standard big band CD's in a row, and each of them contained a pseudo-pop torch song that really seemed to appeal to my audience," Linda explains. "I wanted to make a pop record that was more guitar-based. The guitar is my favorite instrument, and seems to complement my voice. This is an easy CD to listen to in the car. It's even easy to sing along with." Included on GOLD are ten new Wildhorn songs, penned with such celebrated lyricists as Robin Lerner (known for her work with Faith Hill), David Zippel (City of Angels, Mulan), Nan Knighton (The Scarlet Pimpernel, Saturday Night Fever) and frequent Wildhorn collaborator Jack Murphy. Linda also brings her intuitive phrasing and emotional quality to some of her favorite tunes, like Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man," Dobie Gray's "Drift Away," Boz Scaggs' "We're All Alone" and George Harrison's "Here Comes The Sun."
"Each song came to me in different ways. "We're All Alone" was Frank's idea. He, Jack Murphy, my musical director Jeremy Roberts and I were all in the studio when Frank had the idea to record it. Suddenly all three guys were singing to me like Boz Scaggs! I recorded it as a thank you to them, but now it's one of my favorite cuts!"
"We decided to do 'Here Comes the Sun' quite a while ago. The day we were recording the song was the day George Harrison died. The words took on a whole new meaning. Because of that, and certainly because of the tragic events of September 11th, we've truly been through a 'long, cold lonely winter,' and I'm so proud that the song is on this record."
The title track, "Gold," is a shining highlight from the new, Broadway-bound musical Camille Claudel, which Frank Wildhorn and Nan Knighton have written for Eder. Based on a true story of the French sculptress Camille Claudel, protege, mistress and muse of the sculptor Rodin, the musical is the next project on Linda's schedule. This cut will also be heard by more than 3.5 billion people as a centerpiece at the opening ceremonies at the 2002 Winter Olympics. In conjunction to the release of GOLD, Bravo Profiles will air a one hour program on Linda.
Linda has been touring in concert with the most prestigious symphony orchestras and conductors in the country, including Marvin Hamlisch and Keith Lockhart. She has sold out Carnegie Hall twice, prompting nationally syndicated columnist Liz Smith to enthuse, "I think the word diva, as in divine, is called for. What a powerhouse of a voice, what stunning musicality and phrasing, what a great, mysterious sense of warmth, what a wonderful way to spend an evening." The heavy concert schedule culminated in a holiday run on Broadway at the Gershwin Theater in 2001. Now, Linda can now rightfully take her place with an upper echelon of performers like Frank, Judy, Liza and Sammy, all of whom have appeared in concert on Broadway. Of joining those ranks, Linda says, "I don't think about that. I was offered the run and immediately thought, 'Yikes! Can I do this? Two hours of nonstop singing is a lot of work! It's a full-body experience for me. It's not like a musical where you have a handful of songs with time in between. The concert was packed with huge eleven o'clock numbers! I was excited just to survive it!' Survive she did, and the result is a concert so successful that a version of it was filmed as a Christmas special for the Bravo Television Network.
Television viewers have become accustomed to the face and voice of Linda Eder, thanks to appearances on national talk and entertainment programs. Rosie O'Donnell, Larry King, Regis & Kathie Lee and David Letterman have all invited Eder onto their shows time and time again to be part of their TV family. Linda credits her father and his movie camera for her comfort on the small screen. "My dad was always filming the family, and you can tell I'm the only one really enjoying it. The minute the camera turned on, I was running, jumping and dancing, just trying to give him some good material!"
Linda loves spending all her free time at home with her husband Frank, their son Jake Ryan, and their growing collection of horses and dogs.