Storm Large is always up for a gig in Arizona. The singer-songwriter/actress says it’s like coming home, as her godmother lives in Tucson.
“Plus, it’s always a good audience experience,” she says with her smoky voice. “They’re lively and energized. You guys get it.”
What Phoenicians “get” is Storm Large and Le Bonheur’s mix of the American songbook, Broadway tearjerkers, rock goddess anthems and her originals, all of which she’ll perform Friday, April 26, at the Chandler Center for the Arts. She can guarantee about that much.
“I never know what I’m going to do,” she says. “The weather can be sunny or cloudy, but you always know it’s going to be fun. It could be super silly or super rock ‘n’ roll, or a little bit of both.”
The 49-year-old Massachusetts native has finally accepted she’s allowed to do what she loves for a living. There was a moment when she wasn’t even sure she was going to live.
“I didn’t even expect to live this long,” she says bluntly.
When asked to elaborate, she merely says, “heroin.”
“I wasn’t a healthy person,” she says. “I was doing heroin and living outside. Physically, it was really horrible. Emotionally, it was really, really horrible. It was a lucky sort of circumstances that got me out of it.”
She merely ran out of drugs, and her drug partner threw her out of the home they shared.
“It wasn’t like, ‘Should I get clean?’” she says. “The decision was made. I wasn’t some tough, righteous person who said, ‘Drugs are bad.’ A bunch of circumstances happened at the perfect time.”
Large has thrived since then. She was a finalist on 2006’s “Rock Star: Supernova,” hosted by Dave Navarro. In 2011, she toured with Pink Martini when its vocalist, China Forbes, had vocal cord surgery. She joined the band permanently in 2013 and appeared on the album, “Get Happy.”
Large spends the majority of her time touring with her own material and that of Pink Martini. She chalks up her success to being “stubborn.”
“Every day I get a little further, which is kind of a surprise,” she says. “I was always told I wasn’t skinny enough or young enough or pretty enough, whatever enough. Yet, I still had a career that kept happening.
“I kept proving people wrong. I didn’t set out to prove anybody wrong. I just wanted to show everyone I wasn’t a piece of (crap).”
She has surpassed that, according to reviews. She’s been called a smoldering chanteuse who has one of the most powerful rock voices. It’s something that makes her slightly uncomfortable.
“To that, I just say, ‘Thank you.’”
Storm Large and Le Bonheur, Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Avenue, Chandler, chandlercenter.org, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday, April 26, $46 and $56.