Katharine McPhee has proven herself as a multifaceted talent time and again, showcasing her skills in various forms ever since breaking onto the scene as the runner-up of American Idol season 5. The 33-year-old singer has released four albums, spent two seasons on NBC’s Smash, and currently stars as Paige Dineen in the CBS series Scorpion. Now, ahead of the Nov. 17 release of her new album I Fall in Love Too Easily, EW has the exclusive premiere of her cover of “Night and Day.”
The five-minute rendition of the classic — a celebrated Cole Porter song repeatedly covered by Frank Sinatra — oozes romanticism, especially shortly after the four-minute mark, when McPhee’s voice stands alone, beautifully delivering “making love to you” in what feels almost like a whisper. Although soft, the brief a cappella moment serves as one of the most powerfully captivating moments of the tune.
McPhee noted that the track holds deep personal meaning in her life — and it shows. “‘Night and Day’ is the song consistently sung by my mother as I was growing up,” she tells EW via email. “My mother by day was and still is a vocal coach and by night was performing constantly as a cabaret singer. Therefore, the slow torchy songs from the 30s and 40s were embedded in me.”
McPhee also pays homage to the rich history of Capitol Studios, where she recorded the jazzy piano cover with producer Don Was. “I loved recording at Capitol Studios. It’s such a legendary place to record. You can just feel all the history there. And they made it very special for me by allowing me to sit in the same chair Frank Sinatra sat in during his sessions in Studio A,” she shares. “My producer, Don Was, is about the coolest guy I’ve met in the music industry… We definitely had wonderful chemistry!”
The jazz piece comes off the upcoming release of McPhee’s fifth full-length album, which is packed with more timeless jazz standards, including Nina Simone’s “Everything Must Change.” For McPhee, the romantic vibes were part of the plan. “I wanted to do a record people could make out to. It’s the most romantic music in the world. All of the songs tell stories. That’s why I love them so much.”
Listen to the exclusive premiere of “Night and Day” above and keep a look out for I Fall in Love Too Easily, set for release on Nov. 17.