If you would have asked some of Roslyn Kind’s relatives what she would be when she grew up, they would have likely told you the profession Kind originally picked — a math teacher.
“I had relatives who swore I would never go into the business because I was so shy,” the entertainer said.
Boy, did she prove them wrong.
Throughout the decades she released critically acclaimed albums, starred on Broadway, made numerous television appearances and performed at venues around the world — including Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center. Currently on tour, she stops Oct. 4 at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.
“I’m looking forward to being in St. Charles,” Kind said by phone from Los Angeles. “I’ve never been there before. I’ve heard about the quaintness, and looking forward to meeting everybody.”
Kind, who began to overcome her shyness as she lost weight in her early teens, always enjoyed singing around the house with her mother, whom she called “a phenomenal singer,” and her big sister — the legendary Barbra Streisand.
“My sister would teach me how to harmonize,” Kind said.
They would act out Broadway shows at home, and Kind sang at school.
“I used to sing with my Davy Crockett records,” she said. “Those were the days before Disney was in color.”
She continued to perform, and by the time she graduated high school, she had a recording contract. She literally began work on her first album, “Give Me You,” the same day she got her diploma.
“I graduated at 9 (a.m.) and I was at Studio B at 12 noon,” Kind said.
What followed was what she describes as “a break-in period” of performances that eventually led to appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and her debut at the Plaza Hotel’s Persian Room. The break-in period, she said, is something young performers don’t often get today.
“I just think they don’t get enough of the seasoning,” Kind said. “In my day you had to grow and you learned the craft.”
Young singers would be signed to a label and then go out and perform in small clubs and work their way up to the larger venues, she said. Today, young performers are before large audiences while they are still learning, she said.
“Entertaining an audience is much more than showing off (your) vocals,” she said.
Kind said she had to learn how to relate and interact with the audience.
“As a teenager, I didn’t know if what I had to say was important,” she said.
Audience members at the Oct. 4 show will hear a variety of songs, including selections from her early albums as well as her most recent, “Come What May.”
“I like to take people on a journey of their emotions,” Kind said. “I take them on a roller-coaster ride.”
While Kind will perform up-tempo, contemporary, jazz, swing, pop and ballads, it is “story songs” that are her favorite.
“I love three-act plays in songs — songs that touch people,” Kind said.
Her performances, she said, are “very audience oriented.”
“I look at them in the eyes. I comment,” Kind said. “I can kind of tell when someone’s not totally happy, and I work harder toward (getting them to) smile.”
“I like to make people happy,” said Kind, who describes herself as “very spiritual.”
When she returned to her hometown of Brooklyn, NY, to perform last year, one elderly man in the audience told her: “Who needs a doctor when we have you?”
“That was the first time somebody said that to me,” she said.
After her current tour, she will begin working on a new album and a new show. She will also take a few months to relax.
“I like to go to places where I can center myself,” Kind said. “I like nature ... where I can find peace and harmony.”
Earlier this summer, she travelled to Europe and Tel Aviv, performing with Streisand and her nephew, Jason Gould.
“There’s nothing like traveling with your family,” Kind said. “We just had a blast.”
Ending up on stage together and performing was “such a wonderful high, a wonderful feeling of family,” she said.
When Kind isn’t performing, she is involved with charity work for animal welfare, Alzheimer’s and AIDS related organizations. Serving as caretaker for her late mother, who had Alzheimer’s, “opened my heart up in so many ways,” she said.
Recently she sang with Alzheimer’s patients at a care facility in Ohio.
“Music brings them back,” she said. “They remember the music and they smile. It’s so important.”
Connecting with audience members like this are the moments Kind cherishes.
“You can touch peoples’ lives in a positive way,” Kind said. “That I’m an instrument in helping those things happen ... I hope I can continue that.”