Rebecca Reneé Olstead, 18 June 1989, Houston, Texas, USA. This US actress and singer surprised many critics when her second album, a self-titled collection of jazz and pop standards, shot to the top of the US jazz charts in 2004. Remarkably, Olstead had been in the entertainment business for almost a decade by the time the album was released shortly before her 14th birthday.
Olstead was guided towards a career in entertainment by her parents and was singing and dancing in musicals and talent shows from an early age. The aspiring child star was filmed for the television documentaries The Making Of A Child Star and The Making Of A Child Star: The Journey Continues, and after a number of low-key film appearances she landed roles in the major league movies The Insider and End Of Days (both 1999) and Space Cowboys (2000). Her singing talents were then documented on two country-styled releases, Stone Country (2000) and the mini-album Unleashed (2000). The albums were released through her own website and attracted little attention at the time, perhaps thankfully given Olsteads unconvincing attempts to sound like a traditional country singer. Her major acting breakthrough came in 2002 with a co-starring role as Lauren Miller in the hit CBS-TV comedy Still Standing.
With her acting coming along in leaps and bounds Olstead suddenly decided to switch direction in her music career, hooking up with a swing band and performing as a standards singer around Hollywood. A recording contract with the major label offshoot 143 Records followed and her new album was released in May 2004. Overseen by in-demand producer and 143 head David Foster, the album neatly tapped into the highly lucrative market for new young singers performing jazz and pop standards. Olstead at least sounded more convincing than she did performing country material, although numbers such as Is You Is Or Is You Aint My Baby? and Midnight At The Oasis proved to be beyond her still-maturing vocal chords.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.