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LALAH HATHAWAY was born Eulaulah Hathaway in Chicago, Illinois, into a family for whom music was, in all honesty, their first language. As raised by Donny and Eulaulah, Lalah and her younger sister Kenya were baptized in pan-cultural artistic expressions of the highest order. "We were always involved in the arts," she remembers, "singing and taking piano lessons. It was part of our everyday life. At different points I wanted to be a painter, a magician, and a comedian. I've never had any aspirations to do any civilian thing."
"When I was 16 years old," she continues, "I had Janet Jackson's Control record and that's the direction I initially wanted to go in. I would watch Solid Gold every week. If I couldn't make the music that made it on that show, well then, I was going to be a dancer! There was so much for me to look at and be inspired by. I'm really thankful for that now. To me, to be a star and a musician can be synonymous."
Lalah attended Chicago's Performing Arts High School then graduated to the famed Berklee School of Music in Boston. She was soon snatched up by Virgin Records and, upon strong urging from the record company, relocated to Los Angeles following the 1990 release of her eponymous debut album (with producers including André Fischer, Angela Winbush, and Chuckii Booker). Four singles were released, including her No. 3 R&B charting summer smash "Heaven Knows," plus Quiet Storm covers of Brenda Russell's "It's Somethin'" and Gary Taylor's "I'm Coming Back." Lalah's sophomore album, A Moment, followed four years later in 1994. Though fewer people heard it, the now out-of-print collector's item featured the single "Let Me Love You" and five songs that Lalah wrote, including the fan favorite "So They Say."
Throughout her career, Lalah has worked alongside some of the finest artists of her time. In 1992, she recorded a single with the late, great saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. titled "Love Like This" (from his album, No Exit). In 1999, she recorded a critically acclaimed album for Verve Records with jazz pianist Joe Sample, The Song Lives On, highlighted by what is now her signature song, "When Your Life Was Low." Her credits also include collaborations with Marcus Miller, Meshell Ndegéocello, Art Porter, David Sanborn, Mary J. Blige, Take 6, Gerald Albright, The Winans, Pete Escovedo, Wayman Tisdale, and Hiram Bullock. She has performed live with Dizzy Gillespie and Stevie Wonder, and opened shows for Maze and Herbie Hancock.
Outrun the Sky, her 2004 release, beckoned the listener to part the veil and enter into the inner sanctum of her soul.
Lalah can also be heard on the film scores for Panther, The Ladies Man, and the acclaimed indie, The Visit. And, like her father, she's even done commercial jingles, including one for Office Max. "I love it," she screams! "It pays well, it's quick and I'm such a TV/media baby, that it's fun. I like to see how fast I can deliver what an agency wants. Anything I can do that's creative pleases me."
Lalah Hathaway has consistently proven over the course of her career that she is a multi-faceted artist who understands her gift. Her talents give her the ability to use the hues and colors of her vocal palette to paint new worlds and deepen the emotional bond that exists between her and the listener.