Linda Clifford is interviewed by DiscoMusic.com member, Dayna Newman. Linda is best remembered for her vocals on "Runaway Love" and "If My Friends Could See Me Now."
Linda Clifford is interview by DiscoMusic.com member Dayna Newman
Hi Linda, it's always a pleasure speaking with you. I would like to thank you for doing this interview with me for DiscoMusic.com where you are loved, respected, and held in such high esteem. You are truly Disco royalty and your songs are part of the soundtrack of our lives.
I know you are a Miss New York State I don't say "former" or "were" like most writers because they can't take that away from you, you will always be Miss New York State. Of course there are other winners of the title but that doesn't erase the fact.
Did you sing for the talent portion of the pageant and if you did what song did you sing?
Linda Clifford: Hi Dayna, This is so exciting! My very first DiscoMusic.com" interview. Okay, let's start at the beginning. There has never been a talent portion in the Miss USA system, at least as far as I know. It's all about the look (face), the evening gown, and that swimsuit, okayyyyyyy.
And I know you were WEARIN' that swimsuit too~! OKAYYY... L.O.L.
I know your roots are in jazz and you sang with the Jericho Jazz Singers and later toured the country with your jazz trio, Linda and the Trade Winds. After touring plus earning parts in several Hollywood movies you moved from your native Brooklyn to Chicago. Where is home to you?
Linda Clifford: Home has been Chicago for quite some time, although there were many stops in between.
My first stop away from the Big Apple was Miami. The Jericho Jazz Singers were from there, and still used it as a home base. I lived there for about a year, performing the whole time in different clubs in the area. From there I went to California. I spent about five years there, before settling in Chicago.
Listen to Runaway Love by Linda Clifford:
You and I have talked about how important family is to us both, so I know how much your children are loved and how much they love you. Of course most children think their parents are stars but in your case it was a fact. When your children were younger did they understand that mama was a celebrity and a music icon?
Linda Clifford: Ah, my children. They didn't have a clue! I was simply mommy to them, and that's exactly how I wanted it. I'm sure there's something to be said for children of privilege, but I think theres more to be said of children who learn to appreciate the joy of realizing a dream, earning something you want very badly, understanding what sacrifice is. Nick (my better half of 30 years) and I are from a generation of hands on parenting. No nannies for us. We put them on the school bus every morning, and greeted them at home every afternoon. During the summer months, they traveled with us. By the time they were five, they both had passports, and were world travelers!
I worked in Discos from the age of 16 till I was 21 so you were a part of my life way before we had ever spoken, not many things in life were certain but I always knew that you would be a part of my night and it felt like you were singing just for me and I know a lot of other people that feel and felt the same way, your voice has such a pure rich powerful quality to it and it goes straight through your soul.
As a performer how does it feel to know that you have touched so many lives and made so many people happy?
Linda Clifford: Well, that's quite a compliment. Thank You. You know whenever I have the chance to really think about what I do, my career, I realize how truly blessed I am. Aside from being with my family, the one thing I enjoy doing most in the world, is also how I make a living. To say that I'm grateful is a real understatement. I am blessed!
You don't have to answer this if you don't want to, of course I will edit it out if you don't, but I think a lot of the readers on DiscoMusic.com would like to know the answer to this seeing as we have such diverse members and readers, and we all get along very well in spite of that. That's something you wouldn't find on a heavy metal or country music site: When doing a club gig, is the energy any different in a straight club than it is in a gay club? Of course there are the mixed clubs, I hate to categorize or label anything, but let's face it, it's human nature. So if you don't mind? And if you had to pick your favorite club to perform in what club would that be?
Linda Clifford: Oh boy, That's a good one. The answer to the first part of this is YES, the energy is definitely different. I have been fortunate enough to work all kinds of clubs, and I really think each place has its own energy. I love all my fans, but there are some who are more reserved than others. There are some who just let it all hang out. I like the "let it all hang out." etc crowd myself, because they want to have fun.
As for my favorite club, that too is very tough. There was a club in Fort Lauderdale called the Copa. I did some heavy partying there! They knew how to treat a guest, they came to have a good time, and there was never a dull moment. Some might expect me to say Studio 54, or the Red Parrot in New York, but I have to say that Copa stole my heart. It wasn't just about the club, it was about the people.
Listen to Bridge Over Troubled Water by Linda Clifford
Girl, I worked at the Copa in 1978-80 on and off and saw you perform there twice and have said on DiscoMusic.com before and will say again, you can BLOW "for those that don't know, that's a term meaning THE GIRL CAN SANG" not sing but SANG, big difference... it's an American thang... haha.
You have the best live voice of any diva who ever performed there and we had em ALL.. I was betting you would say the Copa. I loved the tropical decor, the energy and ambiance was intoxicating. Okay, I'm going to go to my next question cause I could ramble on forever. My personal favorite song of yours is If My Friends Could See Me Now. I love the energy and it has always held a special place in my heart, and Gypsy Lady is right up there too. Of course I love all your songs. Runaway Love is also a favorite of mine. I love the rap in it. And no one can say OOWWWW like you ha-ha.
If you had to choose a song as your favorite or one that has the most sentimental value what song would that be?
Linda Clifford: The song I think I would choose would be, All the Man that I Need." Most people associate that tune with Whitney Houston, and she sang the hell out of it, but it was actually written for Nick and I. Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford wrote that for an album after we spent some time together. They got to know me, and saw how happy we were. After being in a terrible marriage for years, I didn't think happiness was possible. Boy was I wrong!
Listen to All the Man that I Need by Linda Clifford
Now thats some info I doubt many people are aware of and Im thrilled you shared it with us. Im so happy for you, you deserve all the happiness in the world, and I wish you many more wonderful years to come.
Linda, you have had the pleasure of working with some wonderful producers and artists. Who have you loved working with and who do you really respect in the business? I know you cant mention all but are there any that just pop right into your head?
Linda Clifford: Hnmmmmmm, Well, I loved working with Isaac Hayes the best. He was so down to earth, and easy to be around. Still love him.
What a great Talent, his musical accomplishments are legendary.
And I know DJs are very important in an artists career, my personal favorites are Larry Levan , Bobby Guttadaro Nicky Siano and Dj Russell. Who are your favorites?
Linda Clifford: That's a tough one. I don't want to leave anyone out, but Ralphi Rosario has always been a favorite. Davidson Ospina is a real winner, OMG, I can't think. There are Too many to mention.
Mel Cherin of West End Records is a genius in my opinion, how was it working with him?
Linda Clifford: I Love that man!
What's your secret for longevity? You're still beautiful full of life and that voice is still flawless.
Linda Clifford: Estee Lauder should be canonized. She is a friend to all women and men. The best skin care on the planet. Trying to stay positive in all things, keeps you happy and full of life.
I don't think Miss Lauder can take all the credit; Genes have to play a role in there somewhere. <Wink..> Linda, tell us what's going on with you these days. Do you have any plans to hit the studio, any club dates coming up or any events that we can look forward to?
Linda Clifford: Well let's see. I've been in the studio with a wonderful producer in L.A. His name is Rick Gianatos, and we did a few things together. We're in the process of searching out a deal for distribution right now. The first single is called, " How Long." Great tune and lots of fun. Also, would love to start touring more actively this summer, while I can still shake my groove thang.
Oh, and I just shot a fabulous DVD in L.A., with Thelma Houston, Taste of Honey, France Jolie, and Cee Cee Peniston. So keep watching for that. I'll be posting a bulletin on my space, as well as opening my "store" and selling it along with other goodies.
Im so excited as so many other people will be, I can't wait. OK, If you could sum up your life in a word what would that word be?
Linda Clifford: Blessed
If you could relive any year in your life, not change anything just relive it, what year would that be and why?
Linda Clifford: That's easy! It would be my twenty-eighth year. That's when I knew I was in love with my best friend, and that we'd always be together.
After the "other" marriage I told you about, I swore off relationships. But he convinced me that love didn't have to be painful. After he proposed twice, and I turned him down, out of fear, I suggested that we just live together. His reply was, I don't want to 'live' with you, I want you to be the mother of my children, and I want to die in your arms." I said yes, can you blame me? Like I said, blessed.
Umm no, I cant blame you at all,thats the stuff dreams are made of, SO Romantic ~!! Yes you are truly blessed. You have what most women and quite a few men are looking for but usually find it very elusive and usually don't find it at all... Whoever said. A good man is hard to find NEVER LIED... haha.
Linda, Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions, we as your friends and fans can never get too much Linda Clifford ~ ! I only wish much Lesser Divas and people that havent accomplished a quarter of what you have in your life so far had your sweet humble disposition, I know we will be hearing a lot more from you in the future You know I love ya and many thanks from myself and DiscoMusic.com.
Recommended Listening & Related Linda Clifford Links
If My Friends Could See Me Now
I Just Wanna Wanna