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I was so excited to find out a few months ago that my buddies Matthew Lombardo and Rick Murray had created the South Beach Broadway Series and will be bringing well-known Broadway stars to the intimate Colony Theatre right here in Miami Beach. The first of the three concerts this year will star the incomparable Linda Eder.

Miss Eder became a household name when she was on Star Search in 1988 and not only won 12 shows in a row (undefeated), but then went on to win the grand finale and the $100,000 prize. She is also well known for her 16 albums as well as her portrayal of “Lucy” in Jekyll and Linda-Eder_copy1Hyde on Broadway, for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. It was a pleasure to sit down with Miss Eder for this exclusive Hotspots interview.

At what age did singing become an interest of yours?

Pretty much as far back as I can remember, but realistically at the age of 8 when I saw The Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland’s performance.

You won 12 weeks on Star Search and then won the finale in 1988. How did that shape your career and do you remember how it felt to win the finale?

Before Star Search I was already singing professionally for about six-and-a-half years, but there is no question that the national exposure kickstarted by career. My goal from day one was to win one show, so to win 12 weeks in a row and be undefeated and then to win the finale was unreal. It felt like it was just meant to be.

When did you know singing was going to officially be your career?

My first paid gig was at a Holiday Inn for two weeks. I felt like a professional after that, as prior to this gig I had always worked for free. I was 19 at the time.

Who were your inspirations in the recording industry?

There are so many, as my taste is very diversified. I loved classical music when I was younger and that led me to Barbra Streisand, as her voice was so beautiful. Now that I am on my own label (after 15 CDs with major record companies), I feel free to sing whatever I want and I have inspirations in all genres of music. Currently I am loving Gavin Degraw, and that’s a long way from Barbra Streisand.

I had been a fan of yours for years, but the one song that gets me every single time I hear it is your duet of “Crying” with Clay Aiken. How did that come about and can you tell me about the experience recording this duet?

He was planning on doing that song on his album, and he contacted me, and of course I said yes. He came into Manhattan to the studio where I record, and it was an amazing experience. I love harmony. That’s the most fun I had in a studio. It was also great to perform that duet with him and then to perform it again on his television special.

In 2013 on your Christmas album “Christmas Where You Are” you sang a duet of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with your son. Tell me about that experience.

Well, that was one of the most fantastic experiences of my life. I have always known he was musical, but he is also all man and he was not very confident singing in public. I had to rewrite Linda-Eder_copy2half of the lyrics so it could be about us and even after that I was sure he would turn me down when I asked him, but he didn’t. There is not one bit of auto-tuning on the song. It’s all him. It was a Christmas present to myself for the rest of my life.

You have performed all over the world. Do you have a favorite venue?

My favorite for purely sentimental reasons is Carnegie Hall, as it was the only venue I knew of growing up. I felt like I accomplished a lifelong goal. I performed there four times. But it’s hard to pick a favorite because there are so many good venues. Although, McCallum Theatre in [Palm Desert,] California is amazing.

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you.

I own every power tool known to man and I know how to use them. I put up walls, et cetera, all by myself.

Also, I always have a stage door person, so I will stay and sell CDs, sign autographs, and say hello to my fans. I will stay to meet every person. I am always the last person out of every one of my performances.

Describe yourself in three words.

Honest, tough and funny.

Are you excited to be a part of the South Beach Broadway Series on January 30 and 31? What should people in South Florida expect from your performance?

Yes, I am very excited to come down to Miami and especially to enjoy the sun. I am bringing my band that I have been playing with for the last few years. It’s a more intimate show and it’s like a walk down memory lane. It’s been a really fun and successful show. This is the show that my first-ever live CD was recorded from.

What does the future hold for Linda Eder?

Definitely more of my own albums as it has reinvigorated my interest in recording. Running my own company (Tressamail, Inc.) has been really successful and a lot of fun. I am also expanding my online presence. I am an artist and I love to create so I will definitely do more of that….drawing, singing, video editing, et cetera.

Don’t forget, you can catch Linda Eder as part of the South Beach Broadway Series on January 30 and 31 at the Colony Theatre on Miami Beach. You can purchase tickets in person at their box office (1040 Lincoln Road); by phone at (305) 434-7091 or online at ColonyTheatreMiamiBeach.com.

For more on Linda Eder, go to LindaEder.com.