Steve Tyrell enjoyed tremendous success as a songwriter and record producer, but it wasn't until a last-minute decision to appear in the Steve Martin movie Father of the Bride that he became a star.
While working on the 1991 movie soundtrack, the producers asked Tyrell to find someone to sing "The Way You Look Tonight." His wife talked him into doing it himself, and his spin on the classic tune earned raves from stars Martin and Diane Keaton and from moviegoers eager to hear more about, as Tyrell puts it, "the guy who was singing."
Tyrell performs tomorrow at the Valentine Theatre.
Starting as a teenage pop and R&B singer in his native Houston, he was still in his teens when he began producing songs for other artists. His producer resume includes projects by such stars as Linda Ronstadt; Blood, Sweat & Tears; Bonnie Raitt; LL Cool J, and Andy Griffith. He also was a successful songwriter, having his tunes recorded by Elvis Presley; Diana Ross, and Ray Charles.
But after Father of the Bride, Tyrell began to focus on singing the classics from the Great American Songbook.
Tyrell also appears in Father of the Bride II, and in 1999 released an album of classics, "A New Standard" that reached No. 3 on the Billboard jazz chart. Tyrell's 2001 followup album, "Standard Time" hit the No. 2 spot.
"Everything I've accomplished over the last few years has really been a grass-roots, underground kind of thing," Tyrell said. "I probably wouldn't even have made the first standards album if people hadn't discovered me in Father of the Bride and started asking about me."
Also performing at the gala is Karrin Allyson, who has been nominated for two Grammy Awards and recently released her ninth CD, "Wild About You."
The Valentine Theatre's 2004 Gala begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Grand Lobby of the theater, 400 North Superior St. Tickets are $160, including a buffet dinner and dancing, with proceeds benefiting the Valentine. Information: 419-242-2787.