An Audience With Heather Headley

 Heather Headley has been winning hearts with her rich, soulfully elastic voice since the moment she made her Broadway debut.

BY Duane Wells

February 06 2009 1:00 AM ET

Heather Headley
has been winning hearts with her rich, soulfully elastic
voice since the moment she made her Broadway debut as Nala
in the Elton John–Tim Rice musical The Lion
King
back in 2000. A subsequent star turn in
Aida, two critically acclaimed pop albums, and
a stack of anthemic hit
ballads–turned–contemporary club remixes
later, and the multitalented Headley is releasing her
first gospel CD, titled Audience of One. If the Lord
calls on us to make a joyful noise, then there is no
doubt that Heather Headley has earned points in heaven
with her new 10-track collection of pop-inflected gospel
that may well be among her best work yet. That said, don't
call Headley's latest inspirational outing a return to
her roots, because this self-proclaimed "church girl"
will tell you that you can't return to that which you
never left.

Advocate.com:So Heather, I actually listened to your CD…Heather Headley: OK…

And I was blown away. [Laughs] I thought you were going to come
for me!

No, not at all. Listening to Audience of One is
truly like going to church. In all honesty
it’s a testament to your ability to blend
traditional and evolving forms of gospel with
authentic inspiration into the disc’s 10
hallelujah-worthy tracks. How did you choose the songs
for the disc?
I am a church girl. I grew up in church. My
father is a pastor and we still go to church. I wanted
[Audience of One] to be all of the songs I
would listen to. I didn't want it to be all old, I
didn't want it to be all traditional, I didn't want it to be
all contemporary, I didn't want it to be all the new hip-hop
kind of gospel… I just wanted to find beautiful
songs that I loved, and that’s what we ended up
doing. I wanted it to be kind of like a pop-gospel album
rather than sticking to a particular genre.

Tags: Music

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