“I’m really lucky,” Carter says in a phone interview from Nashville, where she is rehearsing with blues musicians for an upcoming cabaret act.
“These guys have been playing blues all of their lives,” she says. “Some of the songs we’re doing today are in my show, but the show doesn’t have much of a country feel at all. I just like bringing a fresh element to blues and jazz.”
Carter fans may experience that for themselves when the singer-actress hits the Rrazz Room next week. It marks the second time in less than a year she’s performing in The City.
“The truth is, a month before I went on in The City last year, I was terrified,” Carter admits.
She had reason to be. It was the first time she took the stage — any stage — in 20 years.
“I thought, ‘You know, I am not going to be ready for this. I don’t think I want to do it,’” she recalls. “But, once you get out in front of audience, it’s really about the connection with them and in San Francisco, everybody was so receptive.”
After a commanding performance at the now-defunct Plush Room, she decided to take the act on the road. She released an album shortly after.
But much of Carter’s midlife transformation — she’s in her 50s — had to do with the fact that she simply missed singing. Long before she morphed into TV’s “Wonder Woman,” she toured with several rock groups. Music was her first love.
When her two children grew up, Carter explored her musical roots again. In 2005, she played Mama Morton in the London production of “Chicago.” Her current act delivers a little bit of blues, a touch of jazz and a lot of heart.
“These days, I’m choosing the music that I want to do, because if I am trying to please somebody other than myself, it doesn’t work,” she says. “I have to be connected to a song.”
The urge to stay connected shows up in other parts of her life. Sober for 19 years, she has spoken candidly about being a recovering alcoholic.
“I share this disease with so many people,” she says. “You can be a doctor or scientist or motorcycle rider or … whatever. It’s something you don’t know how to get out of — until you ask for help.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St., San Francisco
When: Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m.
Contact: (866) 468-3399