Lalah Hathaway, ‘First Daughter of Soul,’ to play Jefferson Center
She is among a wide variety of world-class performers taking the stage March 9.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
She’s often referred to as the First Daughter of Soul, a title that was initially bestowed upon her because of her impeccable birthright.
As the daughter of soul maestro Donny Hathaway, Lalah Hathaway has always contended with a massive shadow.
But for more than two decades, the astute, passionate and insightful Hathaway has carved an impressive path to success with songs ranging from 1990’s “Heaven Knows” to 2011’s “You Were Meant for Me.”
And don’t forget her myriad collaborations with acts including Grover Washington Jr., Take 6, Marcus Miller and, last year, the Robert Glasper Experiment.
Hathaway, 44, is among a wide variety of world-class performers taking the stage on March 9 night at Jefferson Center, when jazz, funk and world band Snarky Puppy brings its “Family Dinner” show to Jefferson Center. The event will be recorded for a forthcoming CD/DVD set.
Hathaway and such jazz, soul and R&B performers as Lucy Woodward, N’Dambi, Malika Tirolien and Chantae Cann will perform about two numbers each (learn more about them at jeffcenter.org/snarkyfamilydinner), Snarky Puppy bandleader/bassist Michael League said. Music Lab at Jefferson Center students are on the bill, too.
Hathaway, who has the highest profile, has lived up to the standard her father set, League said. League had been a fan of her records, but he only heard her live for the first time last year, at a show in Seattle.
“To this day, it was the best live female vocal performance I’ve ever seen,” League said. “I was totally shocked. She has the most resonant, full, low register of any female I think I’ve ever heard sing.
“And her control, the ease with which she sings everything ... she makes it look so easy. She’s such a powerful presence on stage, like a kind of quiet, solid, powerful female vocalist. [She’s] really amazing. Her musicality, her subtlety, everything is just perfect.”
Hathaway talked in January about her plans for the next year and why she’s ready to shine a laser light on fans waving smartphones at her during her show.
Q: I saw your tweet asking people to stop recording your shows on their smartphones. It really is out of control, isn’t it?
It is out of control, and it really speaks to a lack of respect for the art and the time of the people making the art. It speaks to the fact that people feel entitled to your intellectual property.
When I was 15 and wanted the “Jesus Christ Superstar” soundtrack, I had to beg my mom for it and we had to get in the car and go get it, and once I had it, I had to take care of it so I could listen to it.
We live in a world now where kids say, “I want that,” and it appears on their phone, and I don’t think they appreciate it.
I tell people, if you’re at my concert and you’re looking at me through your iPhone, you’ve already missed it. You’re not living in the moment. I don’t care if people get to see [my concerts] online, but I care about having a relationship with the audience.
I want to sing to you, not your Samsung Galaxy III.
It’s astounding how disrespectful people can be. They use a flash! I’ve decided I’m going to get a laser light, and when I see people with their flash on, I’m going to flash them. I wish people would realize that the moment is five times sweeter if you engage yourself in it.
Q: Your last album was a couple of years ago. Are you working on something new?
I’ll have a live record this year or next. We’ll get into it in the next couple of months. I do things at my own pace and really do follow my path.
I’m trying to get on that Rihanna schedule where I make a record more often.
Q: Are there any up-and-coming artists out there you’d like to work with?
In terms of new artists, even with me being a musician for the last 18,000 years, I don’t listen to the radio as much as you might think. I’m not necessarily stimulated by what I hear in 2013.
Even satellite — it’s what I have in my car — I listen to a lot of The Foxxhole and Heart & Soul, but even for black soul music, there are only two stations.
The rest are people cussing at me, and it’s kind of a drag. There’s a whole phenomenon of music right now that I think of as “24-hour fitness music.” It’s not really music, just a combination of sounds. It sounds like mechanics put it together.
Ultimately I’m interested in the combination of rhythm, melody and harmony, particularly in soul music.
Tad Dickens of The Roanoke Times contributed to this report.
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