Karrin Allyson has never had trouble finding sources of great material to perform here on her nearly annual visits.
The singer, who minored in French while at the University of Nebraska, has an enchanting repertoire of traditional French pop songs.
In 1999 she made an emphatic statement in Brazilian Portuguese with her sixth album, “From Paris to Rio,” and she has always been a fluent interpreter of the American standards known collectively as the Great American Songbook.
One type of song that Allyson hasn’t sung here in years past is songs she wrote herself. That will change Saturday when she plays a one-nighter at the Doris Duke Theatre.
She’ll perform songs from her newest album, “Some of That Sunshine.” All 15 songs on the album are originals.
“It’s very personal, but I think that audience members and listeners and fans want to hear your personal stories,” Allyson said. She is already in Hawaii, and was on the phone from the North Shore, where the native Midwesterner had arrived a bit early from her current New York City home to enjoy the local weather.
“I was somewhat intimidated, but as much as I love to sing other people’s songs, my thinking was basically, ‘Why not?’” she said.
Where: Doris Duke Theatre
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
“I’ve been for years thinking about it: Should I add some originals in on another project? But it seemed to me that that just waters things down.
“My co-writer, Chris Caswell, has been very encouraging — I thank him in the liner notes — and since I had what I felt was good strong material, I thought, ‘Why not? What am I waiting for?’
“It’s a way also for audience members and fans to get to know you better as an artist and see where you stand with things.”
ONE SONG that shows where Allyson stands is her new album’s closer, “Big Discount.”
The song takes its title from the long-standing complaint that women in American receive less pay than a man does for doing the same job. It also addresses the existence of the “glass ceiling” that can limit a woman’s advancement in professions traditionally filled by men.
Allyson wrote the song after Donald Trump’s unexpected win over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Early drafts included references to the newly-elected President Trump, but the references didn’t survive her editing process.
“I was so angry — like a lot of us were — about the election, but the song is about women, not about him. Not everything’s about him!” she said. “In order to record it, I rewrote some new lyrics and kept to my original goal.”
Allyson said she may record a second version of “Big Discount” as her contribution to an album commemorating the 100th anniversary of the suffragette movement. American women received the right to vote in 1920.
“Unfortunately, these topics will never go away, because it seems that we never seem to learn from our past,” Allyson said. “So they seem to keep rearing their ugly heads.
“We just have to keep moving forward,” she said. “I feel that it’s part of my makeup to express that.”
Allyson’s lighter side as a songwriter comes forward with “Right Here, Right Now,” describing the “living in the moment” experience of meeting an enticing stranger in a bar.
“It’s fun, it’s flippant. I think I started it in an airplane,” she revealed. “You’d think I would have started it in a bar! That’s where I envision that song being sung. When I’m performing it, that’s what I’m thinking of.”
“Some of That Sunshine” also gives Allyson reason to follow this year’s Grammy Awards results: Violinist Regina Carter, a guest artist on three of the album’s songs, is a finalist in the Best Improvised Jazz Solo category for her instrumentalism on the title track.
“I’m excited! I hope she gets it,” Allyson said. “It brings more attention to the project, so it’s very cool.”
Allyson has been a Grammy finalist five times but has yet to win. She’s OK with that.
“I have five nominations, and to get more than one or two — the odds are incredible,” she said.
“I feel very lucky to be in the game. Staying in the business is not easy. Trying to stay relevant and still loving it, still feeling passionate about it, and working — a lot — is not easy.
“Times are changing all the time but especially now, the job situation for everyone is tenuous. I feel lucky to be where I am.”