CLAYTON In her life and with her music, Monica Behan is Right Where I Need To Be.
That declaration also is the title of her new album, which she will celebrate with a July 19 concert at the Clayton Opera House.
For the past few years, its been a heart-wrenching journey for Ms. Behan, a Watertown native who splits her time between New York City and her home on the St. Lawrence River.
Its a good composite of snapshot moments in a journey, Ms. Behan said of the songs on her fourth album.
Right Where I Need to Be will be released this fall.
The inspiration for her new album began about four years ago.
I went through quite a cathartic experience after a 17-year relationship breakup, Ms. Behan said. I had questioned everything I felt to be true about my ideas like love, honor and who I was after they all crumbled.
But, she added, Even though that was one of my most painful experiences, it was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. When everything breaks down, it gives me that opportunity to sort of take a look at whats working and whats not and to build things back up again.
She has recorded with RCA Records and Chrysalis Music Publishing and has written for film and television. Her songs have been heard on the Fox, Lifetime, CBS, UPN, TNT and Disney networks.
Ms. Behan is largely known for blending folk, blues and jazz in her music. Her new album, however, is mostly jazz.
Its a confluence of old-style jazz from the 1940s and some more modern arrangements from the 1960s, Ms. Behan said. But theres still a bit of folk influence.
Ms. Behan said that as her life changed, so did the approach to her writing.
I started to write the melodies first simply a cappella, she said.
She then sent those melodies to New York City jazz pianist Loston Harris, who added chords to her tunes.
What was coming out of me when I would sing without chords were these melodies and sounds that were from other time periods that sort of took me by surprise, Ms. Behan said. So they ended up having a life of their own. When Loston put the jazz chords underneath, it became a new paradigm for the approach to writing for the whole record.
Three-time Grammy-award-winning producer Russell Titelman produced Right Where I Need to Be for Ms. Behan. Mr. Titelman has produced records for Paul Simon, James Taylor, Chaka Khan and others. He won one of his Grammys for Steve Winwoods 1986 album Back in the High Life, which Mr. Titelman co-produced with Mr. Winwood.
Hes someone Ive always dreamed of working with, Ms. Behan said of Mr. Titelman. The timing and the material all worked at the same time. I had been sending him songs that Id written over the last few years, and hes a fan of my music. He became involved right away when he saw the direction I was going.
Also key to her new record, Ms. Behan said, was Bret R. Zvacek, director of jazz studies at SUNY Potsdams Crane School of Music. Mr. Zvacek was the arranger for the orchestra on Right Where I Need to Be. An arrangers main goal is to make sure that every aspect of a music piece is well-harmonized.
Mr. Zvacek will be the conductor at Ms. Behans July 19 concert in Clayton. Ms. Behan will be backed up by a 12-piece ensemble, the Everybodys Hooked Orchestra, for the jazz portions of her concert and by five musicians for her earlier works of folk and pop songs.