Black History Month: Celebrating The Marlena Shaw Sound
From the 1960’s era of music came many music icons that have shaped the sound for Soul, R&B, Blues, Jazz and more modern sounds such as Hip-Hop and Rap.
One of the many icons that dawned from that decade is Marlena Shaw.
Marlena’s voice possesses a power that transcends the decades and often can in many ways jolt one into waking up. Her voice carries a power that can either command one’s attention to the message of the song, or encourage times of fun and joy, or both.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of Marlena’s recording career. Her first album was released in October of 1967 entitled Out of Different Bags; it was produced by Cadet Records. Just as it was being released another historic event was taking place; Thurgood Marshall was being sworn in as the 1st Black Supreme Court Justice. It was truly a great month in Black history.
Marlena sits down to talk about how her immensely successful career came to fruition, today’s music and what the future holds.
There are three words that are considered the common usage for those in the business of music or show:
A singer is defined as a vocalist producing musical sounds with the voice, and augments regular speech by the use of both tonality and rhythm.
A performer is defined as one who presents a dramatic or musical work or other entertainment before an audience.
A personality is the visible aspect of one’s character as it impresses others.
The sum of all three scarcely does justice to the art of Marlena Shaw and the way she connects with those around her, especially her audiences and her fans.
Though she might not have known it at the time she first began, all the signs were there that she was quite obviously a natural.
“I didn’t really know I was in show business,” Marlena said. “I’m just going to make a few bucks, oh, and I’m going to make a record too. It just didn’t hold the same something for me. I was still kind of the little girl from New Rochelle; what’s it all about y’all?” She chuckled.Continued on the next page