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Chicagoan Tammy McCann is about to find out.
By day, she shuttles the younger two kids to and from school, cooks mountains of food in her narrow kitchen, and otherwise tries to orchestrate the six lives she and her husband are responsible for.
By night, she unfurls a luxuriant, supple, larger-than-life instrument that lately has had New York aficionados and power brokers swooning. McCann, in fact, appears to be on the verge of a career breakthrough, even though most folks in her hometown still don't know her.
So she stands at an unusual, sometimes thrilling, sometimes uncomfortable juncture: not yet almost famous, but quickly winning fans in influential places.
''She's probably the best singer I have heard since the emergence of Dianne Reeves,'' says Stanley Crouch, a prominent cultural critic and MacArthur ''genius grant'' winner, referencing a modern jazz diva.
''She brings all the jewels to the jewel chest,'' says Ann Hampton Callaway, a nationally admired singer and former Chicagoan.
''She's got the vocal apparatus of a Rolls-Royce,'' observes Francis Kiernan, executive director of the Nelson Riddle Foundation, which immediately began conceiving projects for McCann upon encountering her.
Mind you, neither Kiernan nor Crouch nor Callaway had even heard of McCann less than a year ago, and why would they have? With no recording contract, no manager, no publicist and no connections, McCann was happily raising her kids and teaching voice lessons, singing occasional performances and assuming that her performing career had gone about as far as it was going to go.
Now, everyone wants Tammy.
''I'm nervous - I could cry at any moment,'' says McCann, 43, sitting in the kitchen of her slender, unpretentious ranch home, a couple of hours before she has to pick up the kids.
''I'm very emotional. I want to be positive, I want to be prayerful and I want to be prepared for whatever opportunity presents itself to me.'' --Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune Arts critic, February 12, 2011