Thelma Houston, the Disco singer best known for Don't Leave Me This Way is interviewed by DiscoMusic.com member Dayna Newman.
Thelma Houston is interviewed by DiscoMusic.com member Dayna Newman
Interview with singer Thelma Houston kindly conducted and provided by DiscoMusic.com member, Dayna Newman.
Thelma, first let me congratulate you on your beautiful new CD that I had the pleasure of receiving in the mail from Chip at Mileshighproductions so I could get a first listen and thank you for giving your time to do this interview as well.
I am going to ask you some questions about the CD later in the interview which I LOVE by the way.
Oh Thank you so much Dayna. It makes me so happy to know people enjoy my music.
Thelma, your career has spanned several decades and has been very prosperous for you. How does it feel to have such longevity and success and what do you think the secret to your success is? "so to speak."
I really don't think about it until I see it in Black and white on paper. Then I'm like Whoa girl You've been busy. And also loving what I do and never losing my passion for performing and meeting new people helps too.
How did you like working with Motown. And was it really like the big family they so often portrayed in the media?
I was on MoWest and I was so in awe of being a part of Motown with people like Smokey Robinson etc I felt like part of the family but I really wasn't a part of it in some ways and the Motown label continues being like a family to this day.
Listen to Don't Leave Me This Way by Thelma Houston:
I know that you are very active in charities that benefit Aids foundations and have been very generous with your time not to mention the large sums of money that your presence at these events raise. Is there any particular reason that AIDS "a very worthy sometimes swept under the carpet issue " is close to your heart?
-Because I have lost so many friends and supporters to Aids and now the highest risk group for Aids is young black women ,Plus I see all the children living with Aids It's Devastating.
You were recently inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame and also honored on Showtime at the Apollo for being an Apollo legend, Not to mention your Grammy ,how do these honors make you feel knowing that there are few and far between that will ever receive them?
-Of course it always feels good to be recognized for your work, plus it also motivates me .I suppose you could say it's like a cherry on top of my Ice cream Sundae(both of us laugh)
OK Thelma, as a disco enthusiast I have to ask about Your Grammy award winning song "Don't Leave Me This Way". Easily one of the most beloved and recognizable dance songs in music history. Does it bother you that you are called a Disco Diva, or do you feel it limits you at all professionally?
The word Diva is used with the highest respect, so no it doesn't bother me at all. I do all kinds of music, In this business it's better if you are versatile and have a range as far as the kind of music you can perform especially when you open for artists like Sammy Davis Jr, Lou Rawls, Dionne Warwick as well as other artists. I loved working with Sammy Davis Jr, he made sure you were given the same treatment he was given, He was a wonderful man a great entertainer.
I have to say that I love "Don't Leave Me This Way" with all my heart but I also love "I'm Here Again" and "Saturday Night Sunday Morning" just as much and after listening to your new CD over and over I see I am going to have a few more Thelma Houston Favorites to add to that list, Do you have a favorite song of yours or one that has special sentimental value?
-Thank you so much Dayna I appreciate that, Saturday Night Sunday Morning is such a happy song and makes you feel good.
Yes it does girl I Love the energy in that song.
-I would have to say My favorite song Iv'e recorded "although I love them all" would have to be "That's The Way Of The World" My cover of The Earth Wind & Fire Classic from My new Cd "A Woman's Touch."
I could be feeling bad or have a problem and put that song on in my car and drive down the PCS Highway and by the time I get to where I was going my problem would be solved and I would be feeling so much better. It has so much passion and feeling to it.No ones ever asked me that question before Dayna, Thank you
My Pleasure Thelma, I have to say that's a wonderful song and I can see how it would make you feel exhilarated.
You have worked with some wonderful writers and producers which did you click with the best and why do you think that was?
-Jimmy Webb without a doubt, He is responsible for my style of music.
I have heard nothing but good things about Jimmy Web, a dear friend of mine "Sephra "Winters" who was in the music industry for years use to talk about Jimmy all the time and how much she loved him plus I have heard countless others speak highly of Him. How was it working with the great Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis?
-They were great to work with, such talent.
Out of all the musical artists you have worked along side of which ones would you work with again in a heartbeat, whether it be because they are fun to work with or maybe there professionalism?
- Dayna could you please hold on a minute? I'm in the middle of moving and the cable people are here, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do( laughing)
Thelma, for you anything and I know that's right.
Ok I'm back.. I would have to say all of the artists like The Village People, Kc & The Sunshine Band, Evelyn Champagne King, Nile Rodgers and Chic and a few others. We could go years without seeing each other and it would be like we just saw each other yesterday.
One of our most popular and knowledgeable members here at DiscoMusic.com, "Markydefad" wanted to know what happened to the tracks recorded with Van McCoy as referenced in a Tom Moulton interview in 1976?
Umm The Van McCoy recordings...They were released on a Motown compilation. (Dayna) I'm certainly going to look into it and see if I can find them somewhere.
You have performed just about everywhere imaginable where would you say is your favorite venue to perform?
-Wherever there is a great audience..I like performing where I get imediate feedback, I love doing Musicals that way you can act and sing as well I also love doing concerts.
Do you find that a Gay audience is more upbeat than a straight audience or does it depend on the venue?
Well..I love all my audiences and You find upbeat crowds in both gay and straight clubs although with a gay crowd The audience is more apt to start dancing and getting into the music quicker than most would.
OK the new CD "A Woman's Touch" Thelma let me tell you I love it, Starting with Wake Up Everybody, such a stylish, soulful rendition of a great song. The songs just flow so gracefully. I absolutely LOVED your reinventing of Sylvester's classic "You Make Me Feel Mighty Real/Dance(Disco Heat)" I expect to see this on the billboard dance charts very soon.. Jody Watley recently had a number one hit with a remake of Chic's "I Want Your Love" and I see the same thing happening to this song. Fabulous!
- Oh Thank you Dayna that's so sweet, I did that particular song especially for the dance market ,I use to go to Jazzersize and the instructor would play that song and the little blue haired ladies would run up after class and ask ,who was that singing that song?(Laughing)and of course it was Sylvester, I loved him.
Another of my favorites on the CD is Love and Happiness, the Al Green cover, the groove on this song is one that makes you want to grab a margarita sit under a palm tree and just chill.(Both Giggling) Thelma, There isn't a song on the Cd that I don't like. I know your produced the CD please tell us about it and what inspired you to make it and why you chose the songs you did, "great choices by the way."
-Myself and one of my gay friends both had crushes on Al Green at one time so maybe that's why I chose that song,(Both giggling )Really ,I just love that song. I wanted to do a Cd of songs that I love to sing at my live shows and that's what I did. I refused to change my style and I didn't, I stayed true to myself and I am very pleased at the way it has been received.
We're very pleased that you didn't change your style as well, It's 100% pure Thelma Houston and that can only be delicious! Thelma, thank you again for allowing me to do this interview. I know everyone at DiscoMusic.com will be delighted, Oh and before I forget, a member and moderator at the site, Johann aka Videoskooter, wanted me to tell you hello and he thinks your beautiful.
-Aw, Thank you Johann. Miss Dayna, thank you so much it has been a pleasure.
The pleasure was all mine. I wish you continued success and I will be looking for you on the charts.
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