Blue Note/Universal MusicIn the ’90s, Annie Lennox released Medusa, a disc of cover versions of pop and rock songs from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. But on her new album Nostalgia, the singer goes back much farther than that, tackling legendary standards from the Great American Songbook. It’s something she says she never would have even considered doing back in the ’80s, when she was topping the charts as the frontwoman of Eurythmics.

“I would have had absolutely no interest in doing it,” she tells ABC News Radio. “It would have been inappropriate. At that time, in the ’80s, Dave Stewart and I were creating music with Eurythmics that was very ground-breaking and, we felt, very fresh and new — innovative, in fact. I would never’ve taken a backwards step into a genre like jazz. But now, it just feels so appropriate.”

Lennox decided which songs to include on the album by scouring YouTube and finding tunes that struck a chord with her. “Usually, when I hear a song, I’ll know within the first few seconds whether it’s going to hold interest for me,” says the Scottish artist. “By and large, these songs all have those qualities in them that, right from the moment that you first hear them, they continue through.”

Speaking about the classics she ended up tackling, like “Georgia on My Mind,” “God Bless the Child,” “Summertime,” “The Nearness of You” and “I Put a Spell on You,” Annie explains, “They have a narrative. They have a certain sort of shape. They tell stories. They create something evocative. Each one is like a little journey.”

Because she’s not a trained jazz singer, Lennox says she was able to put her own spin on these songs by digging deep into their musical roots.

“What I did discover was that, underneath, the real core of jazz, lies blues,” she explains. “And, of course, I’ve come from R&B and soul music that has influenced me since I was a young person…So, I kind of colored a great deal of the songs with blues, and that informed me a lot in terms of my approach to the songs.”

Annie doesn’t think it’s odd that at this stage in her career, she would attempt a musical genre she’s never sung before. “I am a person who likes to sing to my own tune, literally,” she tells ABC News Radio. “I like to explore and chart new territory and push my own boundaries in a way. And I don’t think that singers necessarily all have to be hemmed in to one label and one type and to say, ‘Well, because you sing in one style that doesn’t mean that it cancels out every other style.’ I have very eclectic taste in music.”

She says her fans seem to like the direction she’s gone on Nostalgia, too. “I think people are charmed by it actually, more than anything else,” she says. “It’s something new and different for them.”

Of course, the big question now is whether or not Lennox will tour in support of the album. She doesn’t particularly like the grind of being on the road, and then there’s the issue of how she’d mix these standards with her past hits. That’s why, she says, she just hasn’t made up her mind yet.

“Everyone is asking me if I’m going to tour,” she sighs. “And, I mean, I’m just not going to think about it until we come up to the end of the year and I’ll take a break and then I’ll consider what the next step should be — whether I should tour or not.”

Nostalgia, which is available on vinyl and on CD, is in stores now.

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