These are a few of my Interviews from when I was into my Interview phase….I have so many other things that Require my attention at this time in my life I’m not sure if I will continue on this path..But My ties remain strong in the Disco community and I love everyone associated..
I am the owner and HBIC of Dva promotions, IN case you AINT KNOW..that mean’s (Head Bitch In Charge) ,I am also a former journalist and booking agent,I am an artist and have written liner notes for re released Cd’s..I create Cover art for Cd’s,I’m really a Jill of many trades because I do many things mostly that have to do with the arts and music. …I am also an avid Slasher and Horror film fanatic and review under the pen name Slasher Diva..I love Diversity ,things that make me laugh,cry and think..I always put myself in the other persons shoes because I have never had a one way view of anything and am always up for a friendly debate.I am a Transgender Woman,But a Woman and Lady first and foremost..I am not trying to hook up, or have any other kind of relationship other than friendly..Celebrate yourself,never complain,never explain…I am my own perfect creation…….
My interview with Tony award winner, and Diva Melba Moore
(Dayna) Hi Melba, Thank you so much for allowing me to do this interview. I hate stuffy interviews so I’m going to make it fun and informal. I have some of my own questions and some great members of DiscoMusic.com have submitted some as well.
(Melba Moore) Thank you Dayna, That’s fine with me.
(Dayna) Ok here we go, were you afraid that doing disco would compromise your Broadway career especially after winning a Tony award?
(Melba Moore) Not At all. If anything it helped it even Ethel Merman did a Disco album.
Broadway always tried to be hip. Basically it was a white bread kind of avenue but they brought in people like Stephanie Mills etc to hip it up to make it enjoyable for a more diverse audience. Basically hard core disco fans were theater fans as well so There was no threat at all .
(Dayna) That’s very true, I never really thought about it that way, very good thinking~!!!
You were the first African American woman ever to replace a white woman on Broadway, Diane Keaton you replaced.
That’s quite an achievement~!!
(Melba Moore) Yes, Diane Keaton went straight from Hair to Play It Again Sam. “Woody Allen” Broadway actually started from the Jewish community.
(Dayna) I didn’t realize that. Do you think being called a disco diva is in anyway restrictive or too boxed seeing that you have been successful in every other aspect of show business you were involved with?
(Melba Moore) NO, it’s an honor and I know that disco isn’t all I can do so it’s not restrictive.
(Dayna) You have been there at the beginning of disco all the way till the end were you coerced into doing disco or was it something you felt passionately about?
(Melba Moore) Disco is still around its just called something else You see artists like Martha Wash, Cheryl Lynn and know the music is still alive.
(Dayna) “You Aint Never Lied~!!” “Both of us laugh”
(Melba Moore) it was about the songs, the material, they were wonderful songs plus you have the remixes the different versions. All my disco songs are well constructed and stand up today, I don’t look back and think that’s silly or that isn’t good so no, I wasn’t coerced .
(Dayna) That’s the truth; those songs will never be anything but fabulous.
Melba you have worked with a lot of great producers, out of all of them which did you really click with and like working with the best?
(Melba Moore) Jean McFadden, John Whitehead and Paul Lawrence.
(Dayna) Bernie, the publisher of DiscoMusic.com wanted me to ask how you met Paul Lawrence.
(Melba Moore) Freddie Jackson brought Paul to me, he was the best for me like a vocal coach, and he would work with you until you got it right.
The public doesn’t know the process it’s not like any other business. No one ever thinks about what its like for the artist.
(Dayna) Are you in contact with any of the old Hush production members?
(Melba Moore) Not at all~!! And won’t be unless it’s in a court of law
Charles Huggins and Ann Thomas are white collar criminals “you can quote me on that.”
(Dayna) What about Clifton Davis?
(Melba Moore) Same thing as Hush, He has damaged me and never tried to set it right~!!
I have never gotten any closure. I just continue to rebuild my life despite of the obstacles and keep jumping over the holes that are still there.
(Dayna) GIRL~!! Sorry to hear that, but you are a survivor and it sounds to me like you have your priorities straight and in line. I know you have a very spiritual side and that’s wonderful.
(Melba Moore) The Church is a part of me and in everything I do.
(Dayna) What was it like working and recording “Time To Come Home” with Beyonce; Who I think is very talented, but doesn’t have your vocal range or polished sound.
(Melba Moore) She can crank things out, she’s ridiculously talented has a great work ethic and she’s so beautiful and tall she makes everyone else look short and ugly. And Cuba Gooding Jr. was cracking me up when he was acting like he had no rhythm while dancing, Neither of them had any negativity only positive.
(Dayna) Girl he’s so cute~!!
(Melba Moore) Yes he is gorgeous.
(Dayna) One of the DiscoMusic.com members called Remicks would love to know about Van McCoy and if you liked working with him.
(Melba) Very easy to work with, I had to bring his awareness to the fact that he wrote “Lean On Me” because he was so disco oriented and had done some wonderful songs that weren’t disco such as ballads.
(Dayna) Do you think today’s music is too massed produced and isn’t given that personal touch?
(Melba Moore) There is still a lot of great music out there but CEO’s of music companies don’t have backgrounds in music they have backgrounds in business. So they push music whether its good or not. It’s all about who has the money to put behind something be it good or not~!! Plus we have taken music out of schools. We didn’t give this to our kids..
(Dayna) I know that’s right… Other artists “your peers” have thrown their hats back into the ring so to speak, and while not being very well received by the younger listeners they were well done solid releases… I think you sound just as fresh on “My Heart Belongs To You” as you did in the 1970s so any plans for some new R & B or dance material?
(Melba Moore) Yes, I’m going to go to school to learn how to finance because I can do the rest.
(Dayna) Ok., I’m excited as I know everyone else at DiscoMusic.com will be too. So in other words Miss Melba Moore is gonna be Comin Atcha~!!
(Melba Moore) Yes. .something like that “joyful laughter.”
(Dayna) Thank you so much Melba you are a delight… We will be looking for new projects from you while at the same time enjoying the ones that you have already given us.
(Melba Moore) My pleasure, thank you Dayna.
“Melba is always there when I need her and I am there when she needs me”..She is humble,Talented and an icon.. an inspiration for African American women and women in general..I love this woman..
Melba and I recently spoke about her Five re released Cd’s coming out .. since I was to write the liner notes for What a Woman Needs .
- This is the review I wrote for the Cd
This 1981 re release of What A Woman Needs is pure listening pleasure.
A Labor of Love by Melba,Bruce Hawes ,Kashif and The Team of McFadden & Whitehead.
It’s what R&B is all about,The song writing and execution of the tracks are great, mix that with Melba’s incredible vocals and you get pure Gold.
The Intro on “Lets Stand Together” Alone is enough to satisfy you but the song carries on and fulfills the promise the Intro gave you. The Ballad “Overnight Sensation” is so beautifully crafted and executed by Melba it will give you chills.”Take My Love” and “Let’s go Back To Lovin” are funky danceable tracks yet you could still sit back and chill while listening to them.That’s a hard combination to achieve..But it was done perfectly in this case.
All the tracks are special for different reasons but there are always the stand outs like those aforementioned.There isn’t a track on this Cd that I think of as a filler.They all have heart,soul and best of all they have Melba Moore.
My Interview with Grammy award winning Artist Jody Watley
Dayna) Hi Jody, thank you so much for allowing me to interview you, and thank Van as well. Oh where to begin, so many questions for such a talented lady and music icon.
First let me congratulate you on your #1 hit “I Want Your Love,” a cover of the Chic classic. You took this song and made it your own. I’m going to ask you about how this came about later in the interview, but I just wanted to congratulate you before we got started.
(Jody Watley) Thanks so much! I’m very proud of this new milestone. 2007 marks my third decade in this crazy and challenging business. Shalamar (1977-1984) and my solo career..1987 - Current. It’s a nice way to mark it!
(Dayna) I was so addicted to Soul Train, starting at age 12, I watched it every Saturday and would get up in front of the television and emulate every move that you and Damita Jo Freeman made. The two of you were my dance teachers and it worked because I put a killing on some dance floors in my time. Do you have fond memories of your Soul Train days?
(Jody Watley) “The Soul Train” era was a lot of fun. It’s where I received my diva training in working the camera, giving attitude and ‘working it’! All of the gay boys on the show taught me well!
(Dayna) Shalamar is one of my all time favorite groups, but to me Shalamar consisted of Jody Watley, Jeffery Daniels and Howard Hewitt bottom line.
When that formula was gone so went the magic for me! How do you feel about your Shalamar days and are you in contact with Jeffery or Howard?
(Jody Watley) Shalamar made some good music. In the end, the fact that we were a ‘put together’ group with no control took the joy out of it and the male egos just got out of control! That said - it was a wonderful time for learning… from the concert stage to the business side. I took the knowledge and ran with it for my solo career!
(Dayna) My favorite Shalamar song is “Right in The Socket” you set fire to that jam girl. Do you have a favorite Shalamar song?
(Jody Watley) Not really, there are a lot I liked… ‘I Can Make You Feel Good’ — the harmonies are sweet. ‘Full of Fire’ because it’s one of the first songs I wrote. I have to say - I did not like singing ‘Right in The Socket’ - AT ALL!! The lyrics are so lame - but the groove was smokin’! ‘I Don’t Want to Be the Last to Know’ was also a jam.”
(Dayna) I was watching Noah’s Arc on Logo and was pleasantly surprised to hear them playing your song “Borderline.” I thought the song was a great fit for the scene. That was the first time I had ever seen the show, but now I’m going to watch it faithfully. (Logo is a gay based cable channel and the gay audience has always embraced Divas and female icons.)
I think it’s because a lot of gay men worship women, but not in a sexual way so they’re free to see the true beauty inside a woman as well as the talent and fierceness because testosterone poisoning isn’t clouding there evaluation. Jody what is your take on this?
(Jody Watley) I was thrilled that Noah’s Arc featured my ambient and melancholy version of ‘Borderline.’ It fit the scene so well. The show is wonderfully done. I want to be on the show now. It’d be like me with my friends! I appreciate my gay fan base so much… I’m told they admire my individuality, style, and inner strength to persevere. I’ve also been told that my songs have helped people come out to their families or go through break ups. I’m always humbled.
(Dayna) I want to tell you how sorry I am about your friend Doug Blasdell’s passing. I watched the two of you on “Work Out” and you looked like you had so much fun together. I know you will hold on to the good times you shared and know that life kicks you in the gut when you least expect it, accept my blessing and I hope the pain will ease soon
(Jody Watley) Thank you. I still can’t believe Doug isn’t here. I will always love and miss him. It’s still difficult for me to speak on this…
(Dayna) When I first saw the video for “Looking For a New Love” I about passed out. I was blowing everybodys phone up saying, did you see JODY WATLEY’s video for Looking For A New Love? I was already fainting over the song, but when I saw the video I swear Jody, I was transfixed. After I got over the shock of how fierce it was I would sit in front of the television and watch BET and VH1 and wait till they played it and get up and do your moves.
To this day I haven’t seen videos that have made me feel something that special or given me a rush like Looking For a New Love, Don’t You Want Me, Some Kind Of Lover or Still A Thrill. did~!!!!
So how was it working with director David Fincher and did you do the choreography?
(Jody Watley) I don’t do choreography! I am always about the freestyle expression… and I can’t remember steps! I’m proud of all of my videos - they have held up… especially ‘Real Love’… which remains my favorite. I say ‘WORK B****!!!!!!!!!!” David Fincher was a doll - he was worried that I wanted to do my own styling as I had always done.. I won him over… since the stylist he hired brought some clothes… very uninspired… and then I rolled out what I’d brought. and we went with that!!
(Dayna) Not only were the videos visually wonderful but you started a major fashion trend. I and my girls would be getting ready to go out and we would call each other and say “what are you wearing”? The response was usually, Oh my jeans my black bustier and my Jody’s “Large silver Hoop Ear Rings” those were what we called are Jody’s, You were the first person I ever saw serving up those huge silver hoop earrings and the bustier was also a Jody Watley fashion statement. Plus your eye makeup was emulated as well it has to be rewarding to know that you have made such an impact on people and in some ways actually changing their lives. I want to personally thank you for the magic you brought to me.
(Jody Watley) I’m proud you know… to have hit records is one thing… but to impact style and culture is another… especially being a black woman. I’m aware of the lack of props at times.. and I don’t want to go all on a Kanye West rant (smiles and chuckles!!)… but at the core.. Everything was and is me.. just trying to be myself… many know of my impact… regardless of, if I get the credit for a lot of things initiated… that’s not why I do it, but it is nice to be acknowledged. I won’t lie!
(Dayna) I love your CD “Flower” it showed a wide range of material and really showcased your vocal talents. I know people pigeon hole you as a Dance Diva and that you are, but I think your voice is more educated than some people give you credit for.
(Jody Watley) Thank you… my Myspace page has a lot of live stuff… people can see.. I’m not a product of studio trickery! I think I have an easy ‘tone’… and I can sing various genres. dance..jazz.. soul..acoustic. I’ve had hits on Pop, R&B, Electronic, and Dance… so I never understand the ‘Dance Diva’ label…
(Dayna) Did you know that a copy of “Flowers” is going for $80.00(US) on Amazon? And that’s for a used copy~!! I have always enjoyed your ballads as well as your dance records.
(Jody Watley) I’ve seen promo’s go for hundreds of dollars for my new single Flower, Saturday Night Experience. I have mixed emotions about eBay and those copies on Amazon.com! One says - ‘Cool..you’re stuff isn’t over saturated, and therefore more valuable.’ the other says ‘It sucks because other people are making a profit off of my hard work!’
(Dayna) Do you feel that starting off doing Disco in anyway limited your career choices or do you believe that everything worked out the way it was supposed to?
(Jody Watley) Limited?? Not at all. As I said, I have charted in all formats… I perform at jazz festivals, gay clubs, theaters. I’ve done shows with newer neo soul artists like Donnie, Rahsaan Patterson… I even toured with Oleta Adams and Peabo Bryson for a holiday tour with an orchestra! I have a diverse career. and I’ve managed to keep things on my own terms.
(Dayna) Your CD “The Makeover” is wonderful too, I just haven’t heard anything of yours I don’t like, and I would say it if I didn’t like something TRUST~!!
(Jody Watley) lol!! Thank you!
(Dayna) It got 4 and ½ stars out of 5 from 34 customer reviews, that’s excellent.
(Jody Watley) I think people can see the growth and if I ever feel like I’m going to start making bad records and lose perspective I’ll hang up my stilettos and pack the microphone away!
(Dayna) When you do an album where does your inspiration usually come from?
(Jody Watley) I do what I like… first… I write from my heart… and I never want to feel as if I’m repeating myself. I have not gotten jaded, which helps!! I’m just trying to get better all the way around and not dumb myself down!
(Dayna) And what inspired you to make this beautiful record?
(Jody Watley) I’d done some shows in San Francisco — mainly covers… called ‘Songs in The Key of My Life’… it was so well received… and I decided to broaden the scope of doing what I started out wanting to do - which was a remix record.. ‘The Makeover’ - plays like a groovy compilation…or mixtape.. the project was anchored with the new songs like ‘Bed of Roses’ and ‘A Beautiful Life’..”
(Dayna) I know I say CD, record album. I’m old school, I miss vinyl but you know what I mean.
(Jody Watley) LOL! I know.
(Dayna) I see you’re going to be in Tokyo, thats very exciting. Are fans different in other countries or are we all pretty much alike as far as the responses you get and the hospitality?
(Jody Watley) I’m fortunate to have fans around the world. My MySpace page is representative. My music has reached places I haven’t! Japan is a favorite of mine. I’m also looking forward to
my single ‘I Want Your Love’ coming out in the U.K. and Europe.”
(Dayna) Paul from DiscoMusic.com wanted me to tell you he loves you and Videoskooter aka Johan wanted me to ask you to marry him. LoL, I swore I would ask and I did..
(Jody Watley) Tell him thank you! I don’t think I will ever marry again. I’m too independent…and it seems to run the guys away in the end.. They can’t handle my truth!!!
(Dayna) What song of yours means the most to you and why?
(Jody Watley) Currently, ‘A Beautiful Life’ from ‘The Makeover’… it just says so much.. acknowledges pain, but ultimately hopeful and full of attitude! I currently have a live, and more acoustic version of it on my Myspace page. This will be on ‘SuperHits Live! to be released by SonyBMG, by license from my company. It’s a part of a series they’re doing. It will have some of my hits - live- and some things from ‘The Makeover’. I believe it will come out in July….”
(Dayna) Back to “I Want Your Love”, How did you get hooked up with such a great project and how does it feel to be back on top and packing the dance floors around the world?
(Jody Watley) I’m still having fun! My single ‘Borderline Remixes’ went to #2 - my makeover of ‘Looking For a New Love’ - went to #1 in 2005 on the dance charts as well..I’m keeping it moving!!” Perhaps now, I will do my complete jazz record. I want to be on the jazz charts now!! I have a fantasy of winning a ‘Best Contemporary Jazz Album’ Grammy. I think it would be another first!”
(Dayna) Jody, I don’t want to take up too much of your time because I know with the new record you must be very busy and again thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for me. Best wishes and continued success, I know we certainly haven’t heard the last of you
(Jody Watley) Thanks Dayna. I appreciate it and you had good questions… Thank heavens!
My interview with Carol Douglas,The First Lady Of Disco
(Dayna) Carol, first off let me apologize for assuming things and not hearing both sides of the story before I spoke or wrote. I have nothing, but the best of wishes for you and Sharon Brown and you know I’m talking about the People’s Court dramarama girl.
(Carol Douglas) That’s ok baby, I’m not worrying about that I know what really happened and I’m going to tell you right now!!!
(Dayna) Oh where are my nerve pills when I need them. lol
I think I’m as Janice McClain would say “Smack Dab In The Middle.”
(Carol Douglas) L.O.L., ok Darlin’ here is the real story,
First of all Sharon Brown has issues: in 2003 I was getting ready for the Disco Ball at the Taj Mahal (Atlantic City, NJ) and decided I didn’t want to stay with Sharon anymore.
I had only stayed there for about six days anyway, so she was obviously bitter about that situation.
When I went to pick up my belongings she said that it wasn’t the right time and gave me some excuse so I never did get them from her. When I went to stay with her the phone was even cut off. I moved in with Sharon in the first place because I was recording in the Bronx and it was so much closer for me, I am not ashamed to say I am a New York City girl.
She even threw away a picture of my mother that you get from the funeral with the bible verses on it. I don’t think she knew that she threw it away, but if she would have given it to me when I went to get it that time she wouldn’t have misplaced it and threw it away. It was something that was irreplaceable to me.
Here’s a quote and PLEASE do quote me on this, If I didn’t have another picture of my mother and if I wasn’t the lady of class that I am I would have given her a Bed-Stuy A*S Whoopin!!! That’s a Brooklyn term.
(Dayna) KA PLUNK……… “I Fainted”. “Smelling salts applied”. Girllllllllllllllllllllllllll, oh my.
(Carol Douglas) We were going to blend our talent together and try and get something good going because the same person that discovered me discovered Sharon Brown, It was Eddie O’Loughlin. And I was not homeless, I was staying with my hair stylist I had lived at my previous residence for 26 years.
(Dayna) OK I’m going to move us in another direction. Although you have just as much right to say your piece as did Miss Brown.
Carol, what song would you say best represents you as an artist?
(Carol Douglas) I would say “Midnight Love Affair” because it’s elegant and sexy, yet very classy.
(Dayna) Yes, that’s a lovely song and my favorite of yours second only to “I Fell In Love For The First Time Today”. That I personally feel was under rated. You can hear it playing softly in the background right now.
(Carol Douglas) Thank you, that is so sweet. I love that song too.
(Dayna) Out of the producers you have worked with which one was your favorite?
(Carol Douglas) Eddie O’Loughlin of course, John Fitch and Rueben Cross. John and Rueben did Shame for Evelyn “Champagne” King as well.
(Dayna) As much as I love your songs and all the ladies I have interviewed so far “Shame” is my all time favorite Disco song. I can’t lie about it.
Which artists are your favorites to work with?
(Carol Douglas) Oh I would say I loved working with Sylvester, Grace Jones, Keith Harrell, France Joli, Taana Gardner, Carol Williams and so many that I can’t name them all but those are my favorites
(Dayna) It seems like most people loved working with Sylvester, I bet he was a scream to work with and so talented. You were nominated for a Grammy for your album Burnin that’s a lovely honor because many disco acts were overlooked at award shows except say someone like Donna Summer.
(Carol Douglas) Yes, I feel very blessed about that I’m proud of that achievement
(Dayna) Why did you fire your first agent Jay Ellis?
(Carol Douglas) At that time Jay was also managing Gloria and he was pushing her to do shows and he made us like a package deal “If you take Carol you have to take Gloria too” and I didn’t care for that so I hired Norby Walters.
(Dayna) I know you were a child star, who are some of the celebrities you worked with?
(Carol Douglas) Oh my I worked with Cicely Tyson, James Earl Jones, Glen Thurman, Gregory Hines and quite a few more.
(Dayna) I LOVE Cicely Tyson she is a fabulous actress and a classy lady.
Where was your favorite place to perform?
(Carol Douglas) Well Studio 54 of course, The Red Parrot, Bonds International… Actually I really love entertaining anywhere, it’s a passion. Let me tell you this story.
(Dayna) I love stories. hehe. I’m all ears.
(Carol Douglas) One night Gloria Gaynor and I were both going to perform at 54 and when we came out of our dressing rooms we had the same outfit on, we looked at each other like oh no you don’t. But I was going on first so I looked at Gloria as I walked on stage and said I guess you will have to change. We did a television show in Paris one time and she had to know what I was wearing as not to make the same mistake as at studio 54.
(Dayna) I ‘m not going near that one, lol.
Didn’t you and Gloria get along with one another?
(Carol Douglas) She doesn’t even speak to me. She has parties at her mansion and doesnt invite me. I cant wait to go on Oprah and call it out. I will also call things out when I write my book.
(Dayna) “Fans Self” don’t be shamed to call it out baby~!! Everyone else has tell all books, give us some real juicy stuff. Miss Carol. Can you tell us the title of the book?
(Carol Douglas) “Mother Always Knew” The story of the first lady of Disco.
(Dayna) I cant wait to read it as I’m sure the rest of your many fans feel the same way.
I know there has always been a dispute over the first lady of Disco as to whether it’s you or Gloria Gaynor, because you ladies started around the same time. Although I think Doctors Orders was the first mega disco hit from the two of you. And both of you ladies are so very talented.
Do you think that might have something to do with the static between the two of you?
(Carol Douglas) I have no animosity towards Gloria but I suppose that might be the reason she doesn’t speak to me.
(Dayna) Ok lets talk about people you love in the business , who would you say are your best friends in the industry?
(Carol Douglas) Taana Gardner and Carol Williams .
(Dayna) Oh Miss Tanna’s my girl and Carol Williams is a doll, you pick lovely friends Carol.
What are you cooking up as far as music goes?
(Carol Douglas) I am remaking Doctor Orders as an R and B song .and a song called “It’s Only In My Heart” and I will be performing with the Ink Spots and Full Force and a new artist called Boogs.
(Dayna) Thank you so much Carol you have been so gracious and a pleasure to talk to.
(Carol Douglas) Now I see why everybody wants you to interview them Dayna. Go ahead girl and feel free to call me anytime.
(Dayna) Oh you know I will. Much Love to you bye bye.
Dayna Newman is a disco enthusiast, former booking agent. She is also the creator of Dva Promotions,She has done graphic work for many old school artists,written Liner notes and done cover art for re released Cd’s and member of Disco Music.com. A big thank you to Dayna for all her hard work and willingness to conduct,Contract, and write this wonderful interview with Carol Douglas. Of course a big thank you to Carol for being so generous with her time.
MY Interview with Grammy Award winning Diva Thelma Houston
(Dayna-I am going to ask you some questions about the CD later in the interview which I LOVE by the way.
(Thelma Houston)Oh Thank you so much Dayna It makes me so happy to know people enjoy my music.
1-(Dayna)- Thelma your career has spanned several decades and has been very prosperous for you. How does it feel to have such longevity and success and what do you think the secret to your success is? “so to speak”
(Thelma Houston)-I really don’t think about it until I see it in Black and white on paper.
2- (Dayna)-How did you like working with Motown .
3-(Dayna)- I know that you are very active in charities that benefit Aids foundations and have been very generous with your time not to mention the large sums of money that your presence at these events raise. Is there any particular reason that AIDS “a very worthy sometimes swept under the carpet issue ” is close to your heart ?
(Thelma Houston)-Because I have lost so many friends and supporters to Aids and now the highest risk group for Aids is young black women ,Plus I see all the children living with Aids It’s Devastating.
4-(Dayna)- You were recently inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame and also honored on Showtime at the Apollo for being an Apollo legend, Not to mention your Grammy ,how do these honors make you feel knowing that there are few and far between that will ever receive them ?
(Thelma Houston)-Of course it always feels good to be recognized for your work, plus it also motivates me .I suppose you could say it’s like a cherry on top of my Ice cream Sundae(both of us laugh)
5- (Dayna)Ok Thelma as a disco enthusiast I have to ask about Your Grammy award winning song “Don’t Leave Me This Way”. Easily one of the most beloved and recognizable
6-(Dayna) I have to say that I love “Don’t Leave Me This Way” with all my heart but I also love “I’m Here Again” and “Saturday Night Sunday Morning” just as much and after listening to your new CD over and over I see I am going to have a few more Thelma Houston Favorites to add to that list, Do you have a favorite song of yours or one that has special sentimental value?
(Thelma Houston)-Thank you so much Dayna I appreciate that, Saturday Night Sunday Morning is such a happy song and makes you feel good.
(Dayna)-Yes it does girl I Love the energy in that song.
(Thelma Houston)-I would have to say My favorite song Iv’e recorded “although I love them all” would have to be “That’s The Way Of The World” My cover of The Earth Wind & Fire Classic from My new Cd “A Woman’s Touch”
(Dayna)-My Pleasure Thelma, I have to say that’s a wonderful song and I can see how it would make you feel exhilarated.
7- (Dayna)-You have worked with some wonderful writers and producers which did you click with the best and why do you think that was?
(Thelma Houston)-Jimmy Webb without a doubt, He is responsible for my style of music.
8- (Dayna)-I have heard nothing but good things about Jimmy Web, a dear friend of mine “Sephra “Winters” who was in the music industry for years use to talk about Jimmy all the time and how much she loved him plus I have heard countless others speak highly of Him.
(Thelma Houston)-They were great to work with, such talent.
9-(Dayna) -Out of all the musical artists you have worked along side of which ones would you work with again in a heartbeat, whether it be because they are fun to work with or maybe there professionalism?
(Thelma Houston)- Dayna could you please hold on a minute? I’m in the middle of moving and the cable people are here, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do( laughing)
(Dayna)Thelma ,For you anything~!!and I know that’s right.
(Thelma Houston) Ok I’m back.. I would have to say all of the artists like The Village People, Kc & The Sunshine Band, Evelyn Champagne King, Nile Rodgers and Chic and a few others. We could go years without seeing each other and it would be like we just saw each other yesterday.
10-(Dayna)-One of our most popular and knowledgeable members “Markydefad wanted to know what happened to the tracks recorded with Van McCoy
(Thelma Houston)Umm The Van McCoy recordings…They were released on a Motown compilation.
(Thelma Houston)-Wherever there is a great audience..I like performing where I get imediate feedback, I love doing Musicals that way you can act and sing as well I also love doing concerts.
12-(Dayna)-Do you find that a Gay audience is more upbeat than a straight audience or does it depend on the venue ?
(Thema Houston)-Well..I love all my audiences and You find upbeat crowds in both gay and straight clubs although with a gay crowd The audience is more apt to start dancing and getting into the music quicker than most would.
(Dayna)-OK the new CD “a Woman’s Touch” Thelma let me tell you I love it, Starting with Wake Up Everybody, such a stylish, soulful rendition of a great song. The songs just flow so gracefully. I absolutely LOVED your reinventing of Sylvester’s classic “You Make Me Feel Mighty Real/Dance(Disco Heat)” I expect to see this on the billboard dance charts very soon.. Jody Watley recently had a number one hit with a remake of Chic’s “I Want Your Love” and I see the same thing happening to this song. Fabulous!!!!
(Thelma Houston)- Oh Thank you Dayna that’s so sweet, I did that particular song especially for the dance market ,I use to go to Jazzersize and the instructor would play that song and the little blue haired ladies would run up after class and ask ,who was that singing that song?(Laughing)and of course it was Sylvester, I loved him.
(Dayna)-Another of my favorites on the Cd is Love and Happiness, the Al Green cover, the groove on this song is one that makes you want to grab a margarita sit under a palm tree and just chill.(Both Giggling) Thelma, There isn’t a song on the Cd that I don’t like. I know your produced the CD please tell us about it and what inspired you to make it and why you chose the songs you did, “great choices by the way “.
(Thelma Houston)-Myself and one of my gay friends both had crushes on Al Green at one time so maybe that’s why I chose that song,(Both giggling )Really ,I just love that song.
(Dayna)-We’re very pleased that you didn’t change your style as well, It’s 100% pure Thelma Houston and that can only be delicious~!!!
(Thelma Houston)-Aw, Thank you Johan and Miss Dayna thank you so much it has been a pleasure.
(Dayna) The pleasure was all mine.I wish you continued success and I will be looking for you on the charts.
Dayna Newman is a disco enthusiast, former booking agent. She is also the creator of Dva Promotions,She has done graphic work for many old school artists,written Liner notes and done cover art for re released Cd’s and member of Disco Music.com. A big thank you to Dayna for all her hard work and willingness to conduct,Contract, and write this wonderful interview with Thelma Houston. Of course a big thank you to Thelma for being so generous with her time.
Interview with the 1st Lady of Salsoul Miss Carol Williams
(Dayna ) Hi Carol.. You were the first female artist signed to the Salsoul label. That’s quite a milestone in disco history. Disco was in it’s early stages at this time as well. Did you have any idea that Disco was going to blow up like it did? And how did the whole Disco explosion affect you?
(Carol Williams) I had no idea that Disco would take off the way it did, it hit so fast… I mean you could work anywhere and everywhere sometimes doing 2 and 3 gigs a night, and it was wonderful. My song “More” from Lectric Lady was the first 12 inch ever to be sold to the public; the second was Ten Percent by Double Exposure. Of course the DJ’s had access to them but this was the first time the 12 inch was available for public distribution.
(Dayna) WOW! That was another milestone, you were quite the innovator Miss Carol~!! Very impressive. How was it working with producer Vincent Montana Jr.?
(Carol Williams) He was the easiest going producer I have ever worked with. He let me do my thing, I had creative freedom with him, it was great.
(Dayna) Is there a city or venue that you held a special place in your heart, or you just liked the energy?
(Carol Williams) I would have to say Toronto Canada; they were into Disco before the States. And of course New York, Studio 54, Zanzabar, The Garage and a club called New York, New York. I remember working a show at New York, New York with Luther Vandross and Gwen McCrae. It would be so packed that it would take like 40 minutes to get from the dressing room to the stage. I remember thinking am I ever going to get there!!! “Laughing”
(Dayna) I know you have toured with a lot of other talented artists, can you tell me which you had the most fun touring with?
(Carol Williams) I used to love watching Loleatta Holloway, she was so much fun and that was really the only chance I had to see her perform because I was so busy myself. Then there was Sharon Brown, Claudja Barry, Carol Douglas, The Salsoul Orchestra of course. The Trammps, Tavares… There were so many. Gloria Gaynor and I are good friends, but we never worked together. She’s a wonderful entertainer.. I have opened for James Brown, Ray Charles and Dizzy Gillespie. They were all wonderful to work with and so talented!
(Dayna) How exciting, so much talent. You really did work with the best. I know you wrote some songs for Lectric Lady. What songs did you write?
(Carol Williams) Your So Much a Part Of Me, My Time Of Need and Come Back.
(Dayna) How was it doing an album with Tony Valor?
(Carol Williams) Tony let me write everything I wanted to. It was very rewarding.
(Dayna) I love the funky R & B feel to “Can’t Get Away” That’s the song that got you booked into Paradise Garage. What did you think of Larry Levan?
(Carol Williams) Larry Levan was an unbelievable DJ. He was way ahead of his time and could work the crowd like they were his puppets.
(Dayna) AMEN Sister… Larry Levan could do no wrong in my book..
Miss Carol what can we expect from you in the future, any projects in the works?
(Carol Williams) My wheels are always turning. and I’m working on a few things. You haven’t heard the last of me!!!!
(Dayna) I would hope not, you have too much talent to waste. I’m trying to get you ladies down here to Florida to do a Diva revue. I’m working on it, I’m just waiting on the venues to take their thumbs out of there behinds and put their money where their mouth is~!!! I love Ron Richardson to death, “Your Manager” he has a lot of talent within his grasp. Is he always so sweet and so personable?
(Carol Williams) Ron is the kind of person that when you meet him it’s like you have known him forever, he’s a wonderful man. And manager, he works hard.
(Dayna) That’s a very accurate description I think the world of him. Carol you told me that when you were a little girl you knew you were going to be an entertainer. Its as if the spotlight were waiting for you to grow up so it could shine on you. Thank you so much for granting me access into your world. You are a true lady and great talent. I will talk to you soon… Love Dayna
This is one of the last Interviews Loleatta Holloway did before she passed,RIP Angel
1-(Dayna)-Girl I heard you tore the roof off of Splash the other week, Lady Bunny and I are very good friends she as well as Ron Richardson said you were on FIRE and when you did “Worn Out Broken Heart” you were beating on tables and the floor.
(Loleatta Holloway)- (both of us giggling”Oh thank you darlin, and the energy has everything to do with it, I play off the energy and it really gets me going. I had a great time at that gig.
2- Miss Loleatta ,as you know I run your myspace page and I have to tell you that I have never seen anyone with such devoted fans..and I’ve dealt with lots of other artists fans.
(Loleatta Holloway)-It feels great, I thought the children had forgot about me, with me going off to Japan and things like that.
(Dayna) Oh trust me girl ,the children have most definitely not forgotten about you.
(Loleatta Holloway)-That’s good to know, That makes me happy, thank you for saying so.
3-(Dayna)-I have to give it up for Mr Ron Richardson, he is an amazing person and we have a kiki when we blow up the phone. He has to be fun to work with ?
(Loleatta Holloway)-Oh I love Ron.
4- I have to ask you about working with Dan Hartman, How was that experience for you and
(Loleatta Holloway)- Oh yes we had a very special bond.
(Dayna)- I know you were workin girl.”both laughing”…Because that song is off the charts hot.
5-(Dayna) When I say Vince Montana Jr. What words come to mind ?
(Loleatta Holloway)-Runaway…Vince was really cool, I never had a problem with any of my producers, they kind of let me take the reins .
6-(Dayna)-Johan aka Videoskooter from DiscoMusic.com would like me to ask you if while you recording all your fabulous tracks “too many to name” would you imagine so many years later they would still be packing dance floors and you would be basically designated as “THE VOICE”.?.Oh he sends a big kiss to you as well. and he’s fine too,”both LOL”
(Loleatta Holloway)- For real? No I would have never thought so.
(Dayna)- GIRL~!!!..OMG, You have such a clear voice with so much range.
(Loleatta Holloway)- When I was five years old I started singing in church and I hated my voice because I sounded like a grown woman not a child.
7-(Dayna)-How was it working with Norman Harris on the legendary “Hit and Run”?
(Loleatta Holloway)-It was beautiful, Norman was like a baby.
8-(Dayna) How was it working on Good Vibrations with Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch how did you resist grabbin Mark Walberg’s booty lol?
(Loleatta Holloway)-“both laughing”…Imma leave that alone, They really don’t talk about that song anymore..
(Dayna)-OH I see, because Mark Walberg is a big movie star now he thinks he can erase it just like that, WELL, he cant take away the fact that you laid down some Fierce vocals on it and he never will be able to.
(Loleatta)-When they did the video the first time I was in it ,everything was in black and white but I was in color singing.
(Dayna)- That’s a Travesty.
9-(Dayna)-I Love “Crash Goes Love” was that what you would call freestyle?
(Loleatta Holloway)-Oh I don’t know what it was but I do know that the first day they gave me that song they said come on Loleatta and get in here and lets just hear a little bit of how it might sound.
10-(Dayna)-I’m scared a you..”both lol”Who are your favorite artists to work with?
(Loleatta Holloway)-I don’t mess with a lot of people I go to my dressing room and mind my business, I finish mine and I’m gone, I have always had kids so I had to get my rest on..
That way you can stir and not get caught..
(Dayna)-I aint mad at ya “both LOL” but I was “ROTF”@ The Long Spoon .
Girl I need to get me one of those long spoon’s mines to short I always get caught stirring the sh*t..
(Loleatta)-“both still lol” But I love working with Melba Moore, I’m very comfortable working with her plus I love to hear her sing, that lady is a worker.
11-(Dayna)-If you could only use one song to define your career what song would it be?
(Loleatta Holloway)-Love Sensation.
12-(Dayna) Loleatta you don’t seem to slow down girl.
(Loleatta Holloway)-Oh really ? That’s so nice..I haven’t talked to Tom in so long tell him I said hello as well as the rest of them.
(Loleatta)-Show me the first white person that said “I didn’t get a royalty check”
(Dayna)-I’m shocked, but then again I have heard this from Taana Gardner and others as well
(Loleatta) They don’t care, People don’t care Dayna.
(Dayna)-Well I am going to do my best to see what I can do as far as at least letting it be known that it’s so lopsided and shady.
15-(Dayna)-Discodisc ,would like me to ask you what your favorite songs from your aware recordings are?
16-(Dayna)-Do you have any new projects in the works that we can look forward to ?
(Loleatta Holloway)-I always have something up my sleeve”then tell’s me a couple of things that aren’t out of the box yet”
(Dayna)-Sounds fabulous ,Thank you Loleatta and I love you.
(Loleatta)-I love you too baby
I will miss her immensely..
Interview with West End Records Diva Taana Gardner
(Dayna) Hi Taana, I’m going to keep this informal kind of like a rap session between girlfriends.
(Taana Gardner) OK Dayna, I like that.
(Dayna) How does it feel knowing you’re the golden child of West End Records? Your song “Heartbeat” being one of the most successful 12 inch releases in that label’s history.
(Taana Gardner) It feels good to hear people like you say that, but at the same time I feel I could have done more; I’ve done more than people realize. I feel West End stifled me and did me an injustice.
(Dayna) I’m sorry to here. Can you elaborate on that?
(Taana Gardner) I never received a royalty check from West End.
I received $15,000. as a signing bonus now they say they owe me not one red cent. Mel Cherin promised me he would make it right and he hasn’t done that!!! I hear he’s ill and that hurts my heart, I thought we had a friendship that went deeper than money. We went shopping together, we were like a family, and then he turned on me.
My heart is very soft. I believe in mankind. Maybe i’m too trustful.
The black artists never received their royalties, but the white ones did, Karen Young got hers. I love the way these new girls like Beyonce, Jill Scott, India, Aire etc play it… they are hip to what was happening.
(Dayna) OH MY~!! That’s sounds downright shady. I always here about some kind of shade being thrown, my heart is with you mama. Didn’t know Karen Young and you were friends?
(Taana Garner) I loved Karen. That was my baby ,she was a super talent and she was my eldest daughter’s god mother. We spent a lot of time together. One time we went to this bar and played a joke on the band. Karen had polio “Bless her heart” so I went up to the band and said my friend is very sick and she has always had a dream of playing with a band. So the band said ok and I helped Karen up to the stage and of course she exaggerated her limp and acted extra crippled then she sat down in front of the piano, you know she could play the hell out of a piano.Then she said GOOD EVENING LADIES AND GENTLEMEN MY NAME IS KAREN YOUNG AND I’M ABOUT TO GIVE YOU A HOT SHOT. Girl we were falling OUT laughing off of that for days.
(Dayna) How funny, I wish I could have been there with you. I know you have been asked this a million times, but I’m going to ask it anyway, How was it working with the great Larry Levan?
(Taana Gardner) Larry was a sweetie at first he was always quiet around me then one day he saw me and I had lost about 60 pounds and he said “Miss thing you look fabulous” that’s when he started to talk to me.
Then when we started doing the final mix on “Heartbeat” and we started hanging out and doing things other than business related. We really connected.
(Dayna) Was there any place that had energy like the Paradise Garage?
(Taana Gardner) NEVER!!! No place like the Garage, it chokes me up thinking about it. [Taanas Voice cracks with emotion] I have never felt anywhere else what I felt there. I feel I took it for granted, If I would have known, I would have savored it more, took more of it in.
(Dayna) I feel ya girl. I feel the same way about the Copa (Florida).
(Taana Gardner) The COPA? Girl I love the Copa. I had some great times there.
(Dayna) Every Diva I talk to loves the Copa. They recently tore it down so I know exactly what you mean about the Garage.
Miss Taana, I know that “Work That Body” was already an instrumental track approved by Larry Levan it just needed vocals. They had another vocalist in mind, but she got sick and Kenton Nix brought you in and the rest is history. Do you know who was originally supposed to do the vocals?
(Taana Gardner) I have no clue. I have always wanted to know though.
I was so excited to be recording in the studio. It’s funny because I had met the members of Crown Heights Affair in 1974 and they would say “we’re gonna call you… blah blah blah.” And guess who was working for me in the studio that day? Mmhumm
Crown Heights Affair. There is a god.
Then that same day Doctor Buzzard and The original Savannah Band asked Bob Blanks if I would sing on there record, I did and the record” Spooks In Space” went double platinum in Europe.
(Dayna) Was Corey Daye in the picture?
(Taana Gardner) This was after Chez Chez la femme and Corey wasn’t the chosen artist for this record.
(Dayna) It sounds like you had fun and enjoyed your success and knew some wonderful people.
(Taana Gardner) Yes girl, I LOVED Sylvester on time he was going to go get his hair done and asked me if I wanted to go get mine done too, I said “Are you gonna pay for it ” “lol” he said yes come on and after that we were joined at the hip. He was so talented and sweet. I met so many wonderful people and some that weren’t so wonderful. No names will be mentioned. I’ll tell you off the record though Dayna.. lol
(Dayna) Oh you know I love some fresh squeezed juice, “Gosssip” lol.. Girls really get along with gay men I suppose it’s because you can talk to them like girlfriends but also get a male perspective and they don’t try and hit on us.
(Taana Gardner) Yes, I had a best friend I called him Billy who was gay I miss him so much, I’m mad at him because he was sick and didn’t tell me, Kenton Nix and I were working on my new song called Flow and in between recording I would run back and forth to the hospital but then Billy’s mother wouldn’t let me see him and I wanted him to hear my song “FLOW” so bad. But it never happened he passed.
(Dayna) Taana I’m sorry sweetie, I know what it’s like to lose a very close friend and it hurts a lot. I was just about to ask you if you had anything in the works as far as a new song or anything of that nature and you just answered that for me, thank you.. OK everyone be jealous very jealous.. Taana gave me a copy of Flow for my ears only. Well maybe a very close friend and let me tell you it is HOT~!!!!!!!!!!! I have listened to it about 10 times in a row already. Work it on out Miss Taana~!!!
We talked about some other crazy things like the girl who doo doo’ed on the floor on the flavor of love “A reality show.” Also Taana and I were talking about people with talent and Jocelyn Browns name came up and Taana belted out in a perfectly pitched tone a few verses of “Somebody Else’s Guy”
(Taana Gardner) lol Girllll people know how I am, they won’t be surprised. We were talking about the doo doo incident.
(Dayna) OMG.. lol.. were crazy you do know that right?
(Taana Gardner) Yes lol.
For some reason I feel like I can trust you. But yes you do have a heads up on what I have been doing in the studio, myself and Kenton were making this record and it will be on Plum records.
(Dayna) You feel you can trust me because I’m honest, down to earth crazy and I like to make an interview fun. Plus I am trustworthy.
Taana, Thank you for everything, the fabulous song. Your wonderful company and for letting me inside you’re your head for a hot minute.. I’ll be talking to you soon.. Much love to you
Taana, Mel Cherin and Kenton Nix