Mom: Gwyneth used to scat to 'Sesame'

By KAREN BUTLER   |   Jan. 21, 2011 at 8:36 PM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. actress Blythe Danner, the mother of Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow, says she isn't at all surprised her daughter is garnering praise for her singing on TV's "Glee" and in the film "Country Strong."

"My family is very musical," Danner told reporters in New York recently, while promoting her movie "Little Fockers."

"My brother is an opera singer. My parents both sang," she said. "My earliest memories of Gwyneth singing is in bed when we would make up songs and she had this incredible (voice…) The most I could do is harmonize like a third above and she'd be doing these, at 2 years old, sixths. I said, 'Where in the world did that come from?' She'd just make up songs. And then she would sort of jazz scat singing to 'Sesame Street.' I thought: 'My gosh. We've got something here.' But she's always been musical."

Danner recalled that when Paltrow was preparing to play a supporting role in the 1995 period drama "Jefferson in Paris," filmmakers Ismail Merchant and James Ivory sent a harpsichord to her apartment.

"My husband (the late producer Bruce Paltrow) and I gave her and her brother piano lessons when they were small, but she would just throw the music away and could only really play by ear, which nobody in the family had ever done," Danner said. "That was extraordinary. They used her on the score of 'Jefferson in Paris' because she'd become so proficient with playing harpsichord and doesn't read the music, just heard it. So that's something that's above and beyond anything the family could do."

Paltrow said in a separate press conference in Nashville that she relished the chance to play a fading recording star on the comeback trail in "Country Strong."

"I could not get it out of my brain when I first read the script," Paltrow said.

"It was so haunting and kind of beautiful and full of passion," she noted. "And the character I play, I thought: 'Oh, my gosh. What an amazing challenge to play someone who is this huge country superstar who has kind of fallen off the rails a little bit and is trying to put her life back together again.' It was very challenging in an exciting way to learn how to play guitar and sing and I was excited about how seriously I had to take it."

"Little Fockers" and "Country Strong" are in theaters now.

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