Kurt Elling has been described as combining “authenticity with stunning originality” by The Wall Street Journal, “the closest jazz will ever get to having its own saint” by the Toronto Star, and “the standout male vocalist of our time” by The New York Times.

The Washington Post says, “Since the mid-1990s, no singer in jazz has been as daring, dynamic or interesting as Kurt Elling.”

He’s a Grammy winner and multiple-time nominee, and he’s been lauded and awarded by music fans and critics alike. DownBeat‘s critics poll might as well change the name of their Male Vocalist of the Year title to the Kurt Elling Award, because he’s pretty well owned it since 2000. Elling’s is the voice of unmitigated creativity, adventure, soul and generosity.

He joined us over the phone to chat about his new collaboration Secrets Are the Best Stories and to let us in on a few of his own secrets about his creative process.