I worshipped Ethel Merman and I worshipped Ethel Merman a lot. It's incredible - Ethel Merman was a conventional singer. Her naming her child Ethel Merman, Jr., was, to me, one of the coolest feminist things.
Every time I talk about this, I say: when the singer is singing, he must be respected, you must be able to hear what he's saying. You can't put a trombone and a drum up there, and a microphone on the drum, microphones on everybody. You can't hear what he's saying.
The old jazz singers or old blues singers, you always just saw them kind of sitting down and singing. They weren't worried as much about their voice sounding perfect. They would make the song kind of fit their voice.
I was kind of known as a ballad singer. People would send ballads. Some of them would go over my shoulder and float off the top of my head, and I just didn't feel anything. Then I would hear a song that would absolutely shake me.
I was in a Led Zeppelin cover band in high school, and my highlight was playing "Misty Mountain Hop" at a coffee house in Wayne, Pennsylvania. I wasn't allowed to play any instruments; I could only be the singer because I was a girl.