Thursday, January 10, 2008

OST Artist Spotlight: Patti Labelle

This week's Spotlight is on MS. PATTI LABELLE!!!!

I love Ms Patti and I know you do too! So enjoy the the bio after the break and take advantage of the fact that I have two Download packs of her music for you. If anyone has a problem downloading the music, just let me know in the comments!

OST Artist Spotlight: Patti Labelle

Download Pack 1

Download Pack 2


Born the fourth of five children including three sisters and a brother, Patti began singing at the age of 14 in church. A shy girl, Patti had a voice of a torch diva. A school teacher advised her to start a singing group.

Read the rest of the Bio here

As Patsy Holte, LaBelle formed a four-member girl group called the Ordettes in 1958. In 1959, when two of the original Ordettes left, Holt and fellow Ordette Sandra Tucker brought in singers Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash. When Tucker's family made Sandra leave the group, she was replaced by Cindy Birdsong. With her mother's blessings, Patti left high school to tour with the Ordettes. The group was managed by Bernard Montague, The group toured from local nightclubs to honky tonks and truck stops.
Two years passed until the girls auditioned for Blue Note Records. The president at the time nearly passed on the group upon hearing the lead singer was Patti, or "Patsy" as friends and family called her, whom he had said didn't fit the traits of a traditionally beautiful lead singer. His mind was changed, however, when Patsy began singing. The president signed them to the label under two conditions: The Ordettes were now the Bluebelles and Patricia "Patsy" Holte would be given a new name: Patti LaBelle. For a woman that didn't have classic beauty traits by Eurocentric standards, the last name meant "beautiful" in French. The name was changed again to Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles after the manager of the group who had the same name sought to sue.

Success with The Bluebelles
In 1962, Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles scored their first Top 40 pop hit with the release of the doo-wop single, "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman." That same year, they began wowing audiences at New York's Apollo theater later given them the name "The Apollo Sweethearts." Throughout the '60s, Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles were one of the hottest touring acts on the chitlin' circuit while the hits continued: in 1964, they scored again with songs like "Danny Boy" and "Down the Aisle."
In 1966, the group signed to Atlantic Records and scored what later became Patti's signature song with their version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Her gospel-inspired, sometimes overly dramatic rendition ends each of her shows and climaxes with her throwing a microphone stand into the wings of the stage as she belts the final note. Around this time, LaBelle was engaged to be married to Temptations member Otis Williams, but the couple called off the engagement because of their conflicting touring schedules. The next year, LaBelle, Dash & Hendryx received a shock when Cindy Birdsong left to join The Supremes, replacing Florence Ballard. It would be years before Birdsong and the group began to speak again. After Cindy Birdsong left the group, Patti, Nona, Sarah found themseleves in a holt, But the group continued to tour around the country.
In 1970, Patti and the Bluebelles moved to England where they met promoter Vicki Wickham, formerly Janis Joplin's promoter. The next year when the girls returned to America, they came out with a different name - simply Labelle - and a new attitude, vocal style, and a new wardrobe. Wearing casual clothing and African adornments, Labelle often sung of racism, sexism and politics. Their sound was not taken to heart by consumers.
In 1974, however, learning of a cult following, the women changed their looks again now adorning space-like, rockish and uniforms, they began to sing about sex, space, politics, and things that many funk and rock bands were singing about at the time -- but with an exception; no female groups had dared up until now to broach this type of controversial material. In October of that year, they were the first African-American contemporary act to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. That December, they released their greatest record, Nightbirds, featuring their breakout hit, "Lady Marmalade," which hit #1 on the Hot 100 in 1975, helping Nightbirds to go gold. None of their subsequent albums would have quite the same success, although Phoenix and Chameleon were hailed by music critics as experimental and groundbreaking.
Solo career
The 70's
In 1976 during a performance in Baltimore, Nona suffered a nervous breakdown, forcing the band to separate abruptly. LaBelle released her self-titled debut in 1977 on Epic Records, where she recorded 3 more albums in the years to come. The debut album became an important hit for Patti at least on the R&B charts and was notable for the stand-out ballad, "You Are My Friend" and for the funkier "Joy To Have Your Love," which demonstrates Patti's large range with a typical Philadelphia Soul orchestrated arrangement with heavy bass. In the next year she released one of her most acclaimed albums, Tasty, featuring the salsa hit "Teach Me Tonight (Me Gusta Tu Baile)." The next step was the album It's Alright With Me featuring the disco classic "Music Is My Way Of Life" and the last album she recorded for Epic was Released, which did better than the previous one chartwise but didn't generate any important hits nor received the same critical acclaim. On July 21, 1979, she appeared at the Amandla Festival along with Bob Marley, Dick Gregory and Eddie Palmieri, amongst others.
The 80's
Success eluded LaBelle until early 1981, when she released the classic ballad, "I Don't Go Shopping." In 1983, she released her first charted hit album, I'm In Love Again. The album featured LaBelle's first #1 R&B hit with "If Only You Knew" and a radio hit with "Love, Need and Want You." In 1984, after an eighteen-year estrangement, she reconciled with Cindy Birdsong while she was on stage in Los Angeles. By 1985, LaBelle was on her way to pop stardom after her songs, "New Attitude" and "Stir It Up" (recently re-recorded by Patti and Joss Stone) from the soundtrack for Beverly Hills Cop (1984), which peaked at #17 and #41 on the pop charts respectively.
By the time of her rise to pop stardom in the mid-1980s, LaBelle was infamous for her wild hairdos, kicking off her shoes in a "Holy Ghost"-like rage, rolling over the floor while singing, putting the microphone stand down and then yielding it up in the air and choreographing the famous "spread my wings" move that she incorporated during her performances of "Over the Rainbow." Patti's appearance at the Motown Returns to the Apollo and Live Aid concert in 1985 introduced her to a whole new audience. During the finale of Live Aid, Patti took to the microphone for "We Are the World," during some points of which Patti's voice is the only one audible. As a result, Patti was often accused of grandstanding. In 1986, she released her best-selling album to date with Winner in You. The album yielded her first solo #1, "On My Own" with pop balladeer Michael McDonald, the Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hit, "Oh, People," the moderate pop chart hit, "Kiss Away The Pain" and the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart hit, "Something Special Is Gonna Happen Tonight."
The 90's
By the end of the 1980s, she scored a moderate R&B and pop chart hit with the Diane Warren ballad, "If You Asked Me To," in 1989. The song peaked at #10 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It was later covered by CĂ©line Dion in 1992 when it peaked at #1 on both the Pop & A/C charts. In an interview with the online magazine Monaco Revue., Patti said racism in the music industry was responsible for the difference in sales, and revealed that accepting this was the most difficult obstacle she had to face in her career.
Patti entered the 1990s on a high but not without tragedy. In July 1989, she lost her third sister Jackie to cancer. Patti's two elder sisters had similar fates, with her oldest sister Vivian dying in 1977 (at the height of LaBelle's success) and the second-eldest sister Barbara, dying in 1982 from colon cancer. Her brother, father and mother also passed away around the same time, making Patti the only living member of her extended family while being the mother of six kids - one of her own, three of one of her sisters' children and two adopted - and wife of Armstead Edwards (married since 1969), who had become her manager.
LaBelle herself was diagnosed with diabetes in 1995. She is a spokeswoman for the American Diabetes Association, and has published two cookbooks targeted at people with diabetes, containing low-sugar and low-fat recipes. In 2005, LaBelle began appearing in advertisements for OneTouch Ultra and later for OneTouch Ultra2, a manufacturer of blood glucose monitoring systems for people with diabetes.
In 1991, Patti released the Gold selling Burnin' album, which helped her win her first Grammy Award for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance. Burnin' featured the hits "Somebody Loves You Baby (You Know Who It Is)", "When You've Been Blessed (Feels Like Heaven)" and "Feels Like Another One." That album is also notable because it includes the first Labelle reunion recording with Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx, on the track "Release Yourself". That success continued onto subsequent albums like 1994's Gems (featuring the hit "The Right Kinda Lover"), 1997's Flame (featuring the hit "When You Talk About Love"), and 1998's Live One Night Only (which won her a second Grammy).
In 2000 she divorced her husband, Armstead. The same year she released When A Woman Loves, an album mostly of heartbroken-toned Adult Contemporary songs by Diane Warren. The album did not score an Adult Contemporary chart hit with the title track. LaBelle's musical legacy would be heard on several tracks by younger R&B and hip hop artists, such as "Lady Marmalade", which was resung by Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Pink and Mya on the soundtrack of Moulin Rouge!, and became a #1 hit again 26 years after the original topped the charts. She also appeared, though briefly, in a performance of the song at the 2002 Grammy Awards. "Love, Need & Want You" was sampled by rapper Nelly and Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland in their #1 hit, "Dilemma" and later by Outkast, who featured LaBelle re-singing parts of the song on their hit, "Ghetto Musick". "If Only You Knew" has also been covered and sampled in recent years.
On February 6, 2003, she performed "Way Up There" at a memorial service in honour of the astronauts lost in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, which was held at the Washington National Cathedral and attended by Vice President Dick Cheney among others. Patti was nominated for a Grammy for this tune, but lost to her friend Aretha Franklin. On July 22 of the same year, she sang the "Ave Maria" at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral during the funeral of the Cuban salsa singer Celia Cruz.
The year 2004 saw the release of Timeless Journey, which debuted at #16, making it LaBelle's highest charting album in eighteen years. Songs on the album include "2 Steps Away" and "When You Smile", a tribute song for Celia Cruz featuring Spanish language artists Carlos Santana, Andy Vargas, and La India. She scored modest hits with "New Day", "More Than Material" and, "Gotta Go Solo", a duet with Ronald Isley which peaked at #31 on the R&B chart. Patti has had her own reality show on TV1, Living It Up with Patti Labelle, since April 30, 2004.
In mid-2005, she released Classic Moments, a cover album featuring tracks made popular by other artists. LaBelle has often performed some of her favorite songs by other singers in her concerts. The album featured such songs as "I Can't Make You Love Me", the lead single, "Ain't No Way" (featuring Mary J Blige), "I'll Stand By You", "Land of the Living" (with singer-songwriter Kristine W.), and "Your Song" (featuring Elton John). Shortly after the release of the album, Labelle was dropped from her label. Reports of conflicts with label head Antonio "L.A." Reid were blamed for the dissolution, as well as an event where several high-profile stars abruptly backed out of appearances at a televised 60th birthday celebration for LaBelle.[2]
On November 21, 2006, The Gospel According To Patti LaBelle was released.[3] As a promotion, all copies sold at Wal-Mart have a bonus track, "The Lord's Prayer". The Gospel According To Patti LaBelle debuted at #86 on the Billboard 200, #17 on the R&B chart and #1 on the Gospel Albums chart. The unit sales of the first week tallied up to 18,000 units sold. Earlier in 2006, LaBelle performed at the 2006 Super Bowl Gospel Celebration.[4]
LaBelle is also said to be recording a new album with Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx, together as the reformed LaBelle, with help from Lenny Kravitz. They will be in the recording process this year and will possibly be on the road next year.
On June 26, 2007, Patti LaBelle gave a teary eulogy on the late Gerald Levert. Patti LaBelle along side Gladys Knight, Yolanda Adams and Eddie Levert paid tribute to Levert at the 2007 BET Awards singing "Wind Beneath My Wings", a favourite song of his which he sang often in his own concerts.
According to a message Ms. LaBelle posted on her official website, she has currently re-signed with Def Jam after being dropped by L.A. Reid in 2005. Reid decided he had made a mistake and offered her another deal, which she took a few months to decide upon but eventually accepted. She has since released a Christmas album produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and James "Big Jim" Wright. The album, titled "Miss Patti's Christmas", was released October 9, [2007] and was due to feature a guest appearance from Mariah Carey; however, this Mariah Carey track did not make the CD.
On November 4, 2007, the World Music Awards paid tribute to 63-year-old LaBelle for her enduring contribution to R&B. LaBelle sang a rendition of "Lady Marmalade" at the event with Shaggy. "I love this show because it unites the world with music; we need peace in the world," LaBelle said.


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