Jennifer Holliday shares her regrets and looks ahead

Jennifer Holliday/Photo Credit: Lou Freeman
Jennifer Holliday/Photo Credit: Lou Freeman

On the “A” w/Souleo…

Looking back on her life, Jennifer Holliday knows that she has much to take pride in and celebrate. She originated the role of Effie White in the classic Broadway musical Dreamgirls. Ms. Holliday is a Tony and two-time Grammy Award winner; she has persevered though the challenges of depression and multiple sclerosis. Still she is not ashamed to admit that she has a few life regrets.

“My greatest regret is that I’ve been a loner and led a reclusive life. In one way you think you’re protecting yourself but on the other hand you’re unable to grow and receive love and explore new possibilities in life,” she revealed. “I’ve had lots of problems with depression and I stayed in darkness too long. I was afraid to live and afraid to love, trust, or let people help me. I think that was a big mistake.”

Holliday is now casting off the darkness to head back into the spotlight with her first solo album in 19 years, The Song Is You. The album includes covers of jazz standards and R&B classics with romantic and passionate vocals. It is a bittersweet return for Holliday considering that so many of her peers are no longer around. “Unfortunately a lot of them are dead now such as Vesta Williams, Luther Vandross, Nick Ashford, Whitney Houston and Teena Marie. I haven’t had a chance to meet or reconnect anyone new at this point. I don’t have a lot of people right now,” she stated matter-of-factly.

What she does have is her fans and she is hoping that she can count on them and new ones to make this album a success and lead the way for a possible tour. “In this new era my chances are slim because unless you’re a big name you won’t sell a lot of CDs anymore. But maybe this will help in terms of getting more performances or concerts. I would love to tour even with somebody. So I have to see what will happen.”

As Holliday looks to reestablish her career momentum, labelmate Noel Gourdin is just getting started, by comparison. After receiving acclaim in 2008 with his single “The River,” Gourdin is preparing to release his third album City Heart, Southern Soul on February 18. This time around Gourdin feels as if he has more creative freedom than ever before.

To read the entire column click here.

 

Souleo

The column, On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture entertainment and philanthropy in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of arts administration company, Souleo Enterprises LLC.



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