She Is Telling You She's Not Going — Following Sold-Out 54 Below Show, Jennifer Holliday Releases New Album

By Karu F. Daniels
14 Jan 2014

Making a home in the southern metropolis of Atlanta has become a salvation for the woman who made a name for herself immortalizing the role of tortured Effie Melody White in Michael Bennett's legendary Broadway musical in 1981. "I needed to have an environment that was much more peaceful and homelike, so Atlanta was just a great place for that," Holliday shared. "It's the best of both worlds because a lot of entertainment is here and also just the southern hospitality... and people just really look after you here. I just needed an environment like that."

The music project was two years in the making. On the 15-track set, Holliday is putting her special vocal flourishes on songs popularized by Dionne Warwick ("The Look of Love"), Etta James ("At Last") and Frank Sinatra ("The Song Is You"), alongside newer material like the self-penned "The One You Used To Be" (dedicated to her late friend Whitney Houston) and the Gordon Chambers-crafted "It's Not About You."

"Jennifer Holliday is one of the greatest voices of our time; her many fans are hungry for new music from her," Shanchie general manager Randall Grass said in a statement. "This new album may be the most complete fulfillment of her artistry and vision as she recorded it free from any pressure to fit a commercial format."

Holliday credits her publicist Bill Carpenter for introducing her to the Newton, NJ-based independent music company, which has distributed noteworthy albums from the likes of fellow R&B veterans Jody Watley, Deniece Williams, Vesta and Maysa.

She also credits the late, great Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch with reigniting her career over the past decade. "There were many years that I couldn't find work and... Marvin Hamlisch really encouraged me to learn this type of music and it opened up doors for me," she explained. "It opened up a lot of opportunities for me to get work. And even though people have not seen me around, I have been working in other venues that people haven't expected me, like performance arts centers, symphony dates, private corporate galas and that sort of thing."

As a tribute to Hamlisch, Holliday recorded one of his most popular compositions "Nobody Does It Better," which was popularized by Carly Simon as the theme to the 1977 James Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me."

As far as returning to her Broadway roots, Holliday said she hasn't been offered anything new but is hoping for someone to create a project "that would show different sides to me and to my growth as an artist."

Until then, there's always the music, and, of course, the performing.

"Well, I'm out here just doing my thing," she chuckled. "It's just now I get an opportunity for people to see it on a wider platform."