Oleta Adams is an American singer and pianist who rose to fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s with her soulful renditions of pop, jazz and gospel songs. She is best known for her hit singles “Get Here”, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” and “Rhythm of Life”. In this blog post, I will explore her musical career, influences and achievements, and why she is one of the most respected and admired vocalists of her generation.
Oleta Adams was born in Yakima, Washington, in 1953. She grew up in a musical family, as her father was a preacher and her mother was a piano teacher. She started singing in church at the age of three, and learned to play piano by ear. She was influenced by gospel legends like Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin and Clara Ward, as well as jazz and blues artists like Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Ray Charles. She also developed a love for classical music, especially Chopin and Debussy.
She began her professional career in the mid-1970s, performing in nightclubs and hotels around the Pacific Northwest. She moved to Los Angeles in 1979, hoping to break into the music industry, but faced many challenges and rejections. She recorded a demo tape that was ignored by most record labels, and worked as a secretary and a teacher to make ends meet. She also faced discrimination and racism as a black woman in a predominantly white industry.
Her luck changed in 1985, when she was discovered by the British band Tears for Fears, who were touring in Kansas City, where she was performing at a hotel lounge. They were impressed by her powerful voice and invited her to join them on their next album, The Seeds of Love. She sang lead vocals on two songs, “Woman in Chains” and “Badman’s Song”, and also toured with them as a backing vocalist. Her exposure to a global audience led to a solo contract with Fontana Records, a subsidiary of PolyGram.
Her debut album, Circle of One, was released in 1990, and featured a mix of original songs and covers. The album was a critical and commercial success, reaching the top ten in several countries and selling over three million copies worldwide. The lead single, “Get Here”, was a ballad written by Brenda Russell that expressed the longing for a loved one during the Gulf War. The song became an anthem for many soldiers and their families, and reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album also included a cover of Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”, which she performed as a duet with him at Wembley Stadium in 1991.
Her second album, Evolution, was released in 1993, and showcased her versatility as a singer and songwriter. The album featured more upbeat and contemporary songs, such as “Rhythm of Life”, which was co-written by Roland Orzabal of Tears for Fears and became a dance hit. The album also included more personal and spiritual songs, such as “Window of Hope”, which reflected her faith and optimism. The album was another success, selling over two million copies worldwide.
She continued to release albums throughout the 1990s and 2000s, exploring different genres and styles, such as jazz, gospel, R&B and soul. Some of her notable albums include Moving On (1995), Come Walk with Me (1997), All the Love (2001) and Let’s Stay Here (2009). She also collaborated with other artists, such as David Sanborn, Al Jarreau, Michael Bolton and Kirk Whalum. She received four Grammy nominations for her work, as well as numerous other awards and accolades.
Oleta Adams is still active today, performing live concerts and recording new music. She released her tenth studio album, Third Set, in 2017, which featured mostly covers of songs that inspired her throughout her career. She also released a Christmas album, Christmas Time with Oleta (2018), which featured original songs and classic carols. She is currently working on a new album that will celebrate her 50th anniversary in the music industry.
Oleta Adams is an artist who has touched millions of hearts with her voice and soul. She is a singer who can sing anything from pop to jazz to gospel with ease and grace. She is a pianist who can play with passion and skill. She is a songwriter who can express deep emotions and universal truths. She is a legend who has inspired generations of singers and musicians. She is Oleta Adams.