Artistry: Artist Feature
Brave Soul Artist: Lalah Hathaway

May 26, 2006 Print version       Other articles by this author

Our premiere Brave Soul Featured Artist is a woman who personifies what it means to be an artist. Music is in her genes, as she is the eldest daughter of the legendary and beloved soul singer, songwriter, & composer, Donny Hathaway. As raised by Donny and their mother, Eulaulah, Lalah and her younger sister Kenya were surrounded by artistic expression in numerous forms. Lalah attended Chicago's Performing Arts High School then graduated to the famed Berklee School of Music in Boston. With four studio albums to her credit, the self titled Lalah Hathaway(1990), A Moment (1994), The Song Lives On, with Joe Sample (1999), & her most recent masterpiece, Outrun The Sky (2004), Lalah continues to captivate audiences with her voice, which her beloved "LALAHOLICS" fans have coined "THE INSTRUMENT".
I would rather play music for 73 people who get it- than sell out who I am for any price.

Lalah is one of many 'indie artists' who continue to raise the bar, and re-define what it means to be a real artist, by writing, producing, and putting forth honest, heartfelt, material and then following up with breathtaking LIVE performances. She's also one of a few other artists who make a concentrated effort to connect, and interact with those who love her and her music. We, the creators of Brave Soul Collective, have all had the pleasure of chatting, laughing, and connecting with Lalah after her shows, as well as online, at her website, www.lalahhathaway.com. Though Lalah was not originally our first scheduled Brave Soul Artist, she came through in a pinch, and gladly agreed to be our premiere artist feature (in the literal kind of "ELEVENTH HOUR", after an unexpected conflict arose with another artist, who'll be featured next month). Initially Lalah was planned to be a sort of surprise artist feature later down the line, but fate had other plans. We reached out to Lalah to get her feelings and thoughts about some of the things we at Brave Soul Collective aim to address. Take a look into the heart and mind of this beautiful spirit, and dear friend of ours, Lalah Hathaway.

1. How has living your life as an artist differed from any dreams you may have had about stardom as a child?

LALAH: Well, other than having 3.5 million liquid, and a variety show on ABC, not much!

2. What is your definition of a BRAVE SOUL?

LALAH: Definitions are so hard for me...I see so many brave souls. I think all children have them...we start with them and unfortunately it seems sometimes we unlearn them as we grow old.

3. What do you feel it will take for the black community to openly acknowledge & address the HIV/AIDS epidemic?

LALAH: I wish I had an answer for this one. 10-15 years ago, some of us didn't know anyone - who knew anyone - that had AIDS, or so we thought.

I do think AIDS awareness is on the rise in our community. Unfortunately it takes an athlete or pop star to give something importance.

4. How long do you think it will be before R&B/SOUL music has its own 'Elton John' or 'Melissa Etheridge (in other words, an openly gay artist)?

LALAH: We have had a few!...a couple... OK-Sylvester! Was he out? I think it'll take a long time. There is so much homophobia and discrimination in the world at large, I imagine that a black artist may feel like they are already at a disadvantage.

I must say, I can also appreciate people not using celebrity to push an agenda.

5. How important is the component of TRUTH as it relates to your individual expression of artistry?

LALAH: 100%. - and I would rather play music for 73 people who get it- than sell out who I am for any price.

6. In your opinion, what are the benefits & disadvantages of being an 'independent' artist, versus being signed to a major label?

LALAH: There are pros and cons to both situations, but as an independent artist I have a lot more control over how I am presented to the world.

Think of a major label as 1 of about 4 banks. One of the perceived disadvantages is that you don't have that bankroll at your disposal, but the reality for most artists is that impact money is spent on a very select few. It is better in this industry to be a big fish in a small pond.

7. When can we expect to hear the follow up to your most recent project, OUTRUN THE SKY?

LALAH: I am in the concept stages right now! I've been saying that for 7 months now... I'm experiencing some writers block...pray for me.

8. When are we gonna get a Lalah Hathaway LIVE album?

LALAH: I wanted to do one in 1992.....as soon as I can.

9. What is one thing that your fans would be shocked, surprised, or amused to learn about Lalah Hathaway?

LALAH: That in about 5 minutes I'm meeting some friends from college online to play Tiger Woods Golf on my XBox 360...I think people might be surprised and amused about alot of me...

For more information about Lalah and her music, visit her headquarters at: www.lalahhathaway.com