*Two-time Grammy Award winner, Lalah Hathaway, is an “independent recording artist” in every sense of the description.
As proof of her independence, Hathaway has recently recorded a live album entitled, “Lalah Hathaway Live!” which will be released by her Hathaway Entertainment company and chosen business partner, Entertainment One Music. The live album will be released on Friday, Oct. 30.
Hathaway was responsible for making critical decisions and overseeing the entire recording process, something that was left to others when she was previously signed to other record labels. The project represents the first live album of her career; her other six albums were studio recordings.
The live album was recorded at the storied Troubadour nightclub/theaterin Los Angeles, where Hathaway performed two back-to-back shows in front of a packed house, which included Anita Baker and Patti LaBelle and other celebrities.
Hathaway’s album comes 43 years after her father, singer and keyboardist Donny Hathaway, recorded “Donny Hathaway Live” at the same Los Angeles (West Hollywood) venue.
“I grew up listening to ‘Donny Hathaway Live’ and remember falling asleep at night to its beautiful songs and music,” said Hathaway. “To now make a live album in the same place where my father made his live album was surreal. It was special. I couldn’t believe it was happening. It is important for me to have ‘LaLah Hathaway Live’ in my catalog.”
As a precursor to the release of the live album, Hathaway’s company and Entertainment One Music have released two singles on iTunes: “Angel,” an Anita Baker ballad and bestseller, and “Little Ghetto Boy,” a song that her father once recorded.
Hathaway told the Electronic Urban Report/EUR’s Lee Bailey in a recent interview that if she had not been an independent artist, free to embark on the live recording project, the album would not had happened because past record labels where she was signed would have blocked such an effort.
“I had wanted to do a live album pretty much for my whole career, but was always met with resistance and nay-sayers,” recalled the Chicago native. “I’ve had conversations with past record companies where I spilled my heart out to them about doing a live album, and they would say, ‘Well, we don’t think this is going to work, or we don’t see a need to do a live album. ‘ Now, I’m at a point in my life, where I do what I want to. It’s OK for me to be on a Kendrick Lamar record or record with Kirk Whalum or Snoop Dogg, and then go sing background on a Nancy Wilson album. Now I call the shots as an independent artist.”
When Hathaway was asked about whether the two live shows at the Troubadour, which were the impetus for the live album, will ever be made available for television or on other visual platforms, Hathaway said: “We’re talking to some folks. It will absolutely be presented where people can see it; I just don’t know how they will see it, or when.”
While based in Los Angeles, Hathaway loves performing on the road, where her fans can see and hear her live, and just as importantly, she can see and hear them and how they respond to her music. Before September ends, she will have performed in Bremen, Germany, New York City, and Washington, D.C.
Hathaway’s performance in D.C., will have special meaning. Her father attended Howard University in Washington before embarking on a recording career that yielded such hit songs as, “A Song for You,” “Some Day We’ll All Be Free,” “The Ghetto” (Part 1 & 2), “This Christmas” and more. He also recorded a string of classic duets with Roberta Flack that produced songs such as, “You Got a Friend,” “Where is the Love,” “The Closer I Get to You.” Donny Hathaway died in 1979 at the age of 33.
For Lalah, her father’s song “Little Ghetto Boy” strongly resonates with her, especially because of the turbulent racial climate of unrest and unjust loss of Black lives in cities and towns across America, inclusive of Ferguson, Baltimore, Dallas and in many others locales. With the song recently released by Lalah Hathaway, and a forthcoming video, the artist is ready to engage both her singing and social conscious voices.
“Little Ghetto Boy” is speaking to me right now; it was my Daddy’s song,” Hathaway said. “I believe that black music and black culture influence everything in the world. Yet, I don’t feel that enough of us are speaking out on what’s happening. I want to be a voice for the people that don’t have a voice, and I want to be out on the streets in protest. I will use my platform anyway that I can to make a difference.”
“Lalah Hathaway is a world-class artist with a rich history and talent that’s second to none,” said Phil Thornton, Entertainment One Music’s vice president and general manager of urban inspiration, whose company is partnering with Hathaway at her behest. “She has been creating great music for over 20 years and we are excited to work with someone of her stature and continue that success!”