INTERVIEW: Barb Jungr, John McDaniel team up to tackle Sting songbook

Barb Jungr and John McDaniel will play Sting songs at Feinstein’s/54 Below in Midtown Manhattan. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Celebrated singer Barb Jungr will join equally celebrated composer John McDaniel for a special cabaret performance that celebrates the songs of Sting, successful solo artist and lead singer of the Police. They will bring their unique renditions Tuesday, Jan. 16 to Feinstein’s/54 Below in Midtown Manhattan. The name of the concert perfectly encapsulates the evening’s setlist: “Float Like a Butterfly — The Sting Project.”

Jungr has recorded for more than three decades, and her most recent studio effort is a collaboration with pianist Laurence Hobgood. She previously collaborated with McDaniel on Come Together, an album of Beatles reinterpretations.

Recently, Hollywood Soapbox exchanged emails with Jungr about the special one-night-only concert. Questions and answers have been slightly edited for style.

What can fans expect during your show at 54 Below? 

As always, great singing and chat, arrangements and blow-your-mind new ways of looking at Sting’s amazing catalogue.

Barb Jungr has recorded music for more than three decades. Photo courtesy of Claudio Raschella.

What inspires you about Sting’s music? 

Its entirely intuitive. I went to Sting because it called me. But his harmonic understanding, which, of course, is based upon his bass playing is really interesting and challenging as a singer. Often, deceptively simple, it’s actually quite complex. Lyrically he has a wonderful way of again using a simple lyric and changing few words and then taking you somewhere totally new. He’s a chameleon of a writer.

Is his catalog of songs particularly challenging?

In its way, yes, otherwise there’d be no point doing it. I love things that make you rewire your own brain, that make your synapses jump differently, and he achieves that.

What’s it like to collaborate with John McDaniel? 

Wonderful. John is a consummate musician and as such, is as complex and weird and gorgeous as all consummate musicians are. So it’s a beautiful thing to work with someone who, when you are out on the tightrope, is right there with you. I think he’s a great jazz musician actually because he’s constantly inventive, and his rhythm is faultless. I love working with him because he makes me work better and harder, and that’s a brilliant thing. Also he happens to be delightful and very naughty and makes me laugh a lot.

Does your love of music go back to when you were a child? 

Yes. Always and forever. It’s like that annoying song — music is my first love, and it will be my last. I don’t know a musician who doesn’t feel that.

By John Soltes / Publisher /

Barb Jungr and John McDaniel will present Float Like a Butterfly — The Sting Project Tuesday, Jan. 16 at Feinstein’s/54 Below in Midtown Manhattan. Click here for more information and tickets.

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at, among other publications. E-mail him at

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