Singing like Frank Sinatra

America's Got Talent winner records his million dollar CD in H-Town with Steve Tyrell

America's Got Talent winner records his million dollar CD in H-Town with Steve Tyrell

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Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. recording at Wire Road Studios in Houston. Shelby Hodge
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New best friends: America's Got Talent champ Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., left, and Steve Tyrell. Shelby Hodge
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Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., left, working with Steve Tyrell on recordings for his Sony CD. Shelby Hodge
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America's Got Talent winner, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. Courtesy of NBC
News_Shelby_Landau Eugene Murphy_Sept. 2011
News_Shelby_Landau Eugene Murphy_Sept. 2011
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The lunch crowd at Ragin Cajun on Richmond got an unexpected treat with their po' boys and etouffee on Thursday when America's Got Talent superstar Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. walked in for lunch with songman and record producer Steve Tyrell. The lanky million-dollar-winning singer in black T-shirt and baggy denim jorts posed for photos and autographs as recognition swept across the friendly dive.

Murphy has been in town since Monday working with the Grammy-winning Tyrell at Wire Road Studios on the CD that was part of the package when Murphy won season six of the popular NBC hit. Sony contacted Tyrell, producer/engineer of volume two and three of Rod Stewart's The Great American Songbook CD, shortly after the 37-year-old from Logan, W.Va., was named the big winner. (See his final round on America's Got Talent here.)

 In a brief break between recordings, Murphy reflected on his success. "I'm in a great studio here in Houston, Texas, with Steve Tyrell, one of the greatest producers on the planet. I'm just enjoying it all." 

Murphy's CD will feature the five songs that he sang on America's Got Talent plus a few other Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin tunes. Thursday afternoon, they recorded the vocals for "Something Stupid," the song that Sinatra and daughter Nancy Sinatra took to the top of the charts in 1967. (If all goes as planned, LeAnn Rimes will sing the harmony. But that has not been signed off on.)

"He can do it," Tyrell said. "Sometimes I hear him and I look around to see if Frank Sinatra is in here. But, hey man, he's dead. This is Landau."

In a brief break between recordings, Murphy reflected on his success. "I'm in a great studio here in Houston, Texas, with Steve Tyrell, one of the greatest producers on the planet. I'm just enjoying it all."

"The dream is really coming true, I'm really living in it right now," he said. "I've got great people around me that are helping me follow my dreams."

Tyrell and Murphy are headed for California next week to continue recording in the world-famed Capital Studios, where Sinatra, Martin and Nat King Cole recorded. In Tyrell's estimation, it's only fitting.

Murphy's tunes are from what Tyrell refers to as the "great American songbook," songs written in the '30s and '40s and beyond. "Those songs are national treasures and Landau is keeping them alive and bringing them to a new audience that wouldn't have heard them otherwise," he said.

Recording on the CD will be completed by the end of the month in time for a pre-Thanksgiving release and in time for Murphy's week at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, beginning Oct. 28. That same night and on Oct. 29, Tyrell will be crooning into his own microphone at the Stafford Centre

Murphy and Tyrell first met in New York last weekend where they were the guests at a celebratory luncheon hosted by Sony and at the New York Giants game where they were guests of Tyrell buddy Steve Tisch, Giants chairman and film and television producer.

And about that lunch at the Ragin Cajun. Murphy chowed down on a shrimp po'boy, gumbo and red beans and rice. While they are in Houston, Tyrell is filling Murphy (who says that he is always trying to gain weight) with the best that the Mandola family has to offer. Tyrell is a Mandola cousin and he's already treated Murphy to barbecue at Pizzitola's and there are plans a Damian's Cucina Italiana visit too.

"He doesn't even know what great Italian food he's in for," Tyrell quipped.

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