Heather worked with a host of top producers on the album, including Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston), Dallas Austin (TLC, Toni Braxton), Shep Crawford (Deborah Cox, Whitney Houston, and Britain's D'Influence (Shola Ama, Mark Morrison). Along the way, Heather turned these world-class music makers into true fans, with Dallas Austin saying, "Heather is an exceptional artist with a beautiful voice... working with her was truly an enlightening experience, and Jam & Lewis dubbing her an amazing voice and talent." On the album, Heather transcended the usual parameters, singing with a degree of finesse and passion rarely encountered these days. With her innate gift of song, Heather Headley is certain to captivate R&B for years to come.
Heather co-wrote several songs on This Is Who I Am, including the upbeat Fallin' For You, Sunday, and the moving Sista Girl. Joining her on the album are esteemed guest musicians and Jamaican dancehall master Chuckie Star (who takes a solo turn on the song Fallin' For You). On every track -- ballad and uptempo -- Heather used one criterion for selecting her songs. "My brain has to connect with my heart and my voice, she says. It's a simple test I know in twelve bars if I can sing the song or not."
For Heather, who's accustomed to a live crowd, the recording studio posed its own unique challenges. It's so meticulous, says the singer. "I would have to close my eyes and picture an audience." The result is twelve stunning performances that collectively announce to the world a new star is born.
Actually, long before now, Heather Headley impressed everyone around her with star potential. Growing up the daughter of pastors at the Barataria Church of God in Trinidad, Heather began competing in performing arts contests at age two, and by age four was playing concert piano. But she also was steeped in the calypso, soka, and reggae of the islands as well as the incomparable R&B music of America, far to the north.
At age 15, Heather and her family left the islands and moved to Fort Wayne, IN, where her father secured the pastorship of a local church. Though the culture shock was great at first, Heather graduated from high school and went on to study Communications and Musical Theater at Chicago's Northwestern University.
In 1997, Heather was offered the opportunity to originate the role of Nala, the feisty lioness, in what would become one of the greatest successes of Broadway History - - The Lion King. During her run with The Lion King, Disney asked Heather to audition for a new musical, Aida, the classic story of a Nubian princess, written by Elton John and Tim Rice. In February 1998, Heather was offered the title role, for which she won a coveted Tony Award.
Now, the self-proclaimed Trinimerican is eagerly looking forward to the next chapter of her life I can't wait to tour, says Heather. I'll drive the bus myself! As for the new album, Heather has the highest of hopes and the worthiest of ambitions. "I want this to be an album people can listen to now and ten years from now, says the singer, something that can exhilarates people and help them through these uncertain times."
The times may be uncertain, but music has always had the power to heal and bring joy, especially in the hands of a brilliant singer like Heather Headley.
Heather Headley Facts
|Birthday||October 5, 1974 (43)|
|Birthplace||Trinidad and Tobago|