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It has been 23 years since we have heard a new non-gospel recordings from the original Effie White from "Dreamgirls," Jennifer Holliday. (The last was in 1991, entitled "I’m On Your Side.") That wait comes to an end with the release of her new CD "The Song Is You" (Shanachie Entertainment/Euphoric Records), a collection of pop, jazz and R&B standards that have been blessed with Holliday’s powerful and emotional vocals.

All of the songs on "The Song Is You" are dedicated to an artist associated with the song (Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, Nancy Wilson, Michael Buble, Etta James, Patti LaBelle, Phyllis Hyman); but Holliday is quick to point out that it is not just about the recording artist: "......this is a dedication not just to the artist, but also to a good song. The songwriters have to be acknowledged as well."

With a 35-year career which was kicked off by her debut performance in the 1979 Broadway hit "Your Arms Too Short To Box With God," you would think that Jennifer Holliday would have amassed quite a collection of music well beyond the 5 albums to her credit. Shortly after gaining much fame after her 1982 Tony and Grammy Awards, Holliday recorded 4 albums cumulatively with Geffen Records and Arista, but the advent of MTV quickly set a different course for Holliday’s career. "Because I was overweight with a different sounding voice the label was like ’there’s not much we can do for you with the videos and dance music...’," she explained. With persistent weight problems, failed marriages, chronic depression and a battle with multiple sclerosis, the downs came to overshadow the ups in her career.


  • Anonymous, 2014-02-03 15:00:07

    I enjoyed this insightful interview by BeBe of the incredibly gifted singer Jennifer Holiday. I look forward to hearing the recording, and hoping that the club owners will welcome her back with open arms. I certainly would. Continued success for you and Jennifer.

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