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Grammy Legend THELMA HOUSTON is a multi-talented singer, songwriter, actress and international performer whose list of credits is a testament to
her desire to meet new challenges and create new opportunities.
With five decades as a recording artist, 20-something albums and a Grammy,
Thelma Houston can proudly look back at a career very rich in achievement.
Thelma was recently seen on the streets of New York City, performing on
NBC's Today Show's Concert In the Park series. She was highly featured on VH1's
hot new music series (which has been running extensively) hosted by William
Shatner, where she was interviewed extensively about her career. She starred in
the summer hit play "Big Otis's Jump Up Blues Revue" which was presented by
Tony award-winning director (Smokey Joe's Cafe) Otis Sallid. The play received such
an amazing response that now it might be taken directly to
Thelma guest starred on the highly rated ABC Primetime special called
"The Disco Ball," which directly benefited Aids Project Los Angeles, one of Thelma's favorite charities. She was also part of the "Motown
Christmas special" where she was joined by Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Take 6 and Brian McNight. Needless to say, her appearance at the Kodak Theater (home of the Academy Awards) brought down the house. She headlined "Devine Design"
for Project Angel Food, which raised over 1 million dollars to feed homebound people with AIDS. She taped a PBS special with Aretha Franklin and Mary
Wilson called, "Love, Rhythm & Blues", and went back to Vegas to make a "very
special appearance" at Harrah's on the Las Vegas strip.
Thelma taped five episodes of the syndicated hit game show "Family Feud" (raising over $5000 for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation) and several episodes of the hit syndicated game show called "The Pyramid" with Donny Osmond.
On Wednesday, Jan. 29th 2003, Thelma received a "Proclaimination" (for all of
her AIDS charity work) from the mayor who announced that it was officially "Thelma
Houston Day" in the city of West Hollywood.
In the '90's alone, Thelma's busy schedule included a whirlwind of
recording, film, television and songwriting activities and constant performances literally around the globe. She appeared in Oprah Winfrey's highly-acclaimed
1998 movie "Beloved," and towards the end of that year, was honored to be a big
part of a special stage show called "The British Rock Symphony" (in Australia)
where she appeared with a 30-piece orchestra paying tribute to the
legends of British pop and rock. Her '98 month-long Australian engagement as
part of the "British Rock Symphony" (with Eric Burdon) showcased Thelma's
stunning versions of Pink
Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" and The Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday", a reminder
that her sizzling cover of the Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash" was featured on
her very first album "Sunshower." Thelma also recorded three cuts for the
show's cast album (featuring Roger Daltrey, Paul Rogers, and Ann Wilson of Heart, among others) which was released worldwide by Point Music/PolyGram. The show toured all major European markets to great acclaim at the end of 1999.
"I've been singing since I was three," says
the Mississippi-born native who moved to Long Beach, California, when she was ten. "My baby-sitter, who was also the piano player at our church, would play
hymns and I'd sing along. After that I started singing in church myself and
anywhere else I could!" Like so many other great performers who began their musical
journey in church, Thelma's obvious vocal talent resulted in an early
recording career in gospel music with the renowned gospel group, the Art Reynolds
She soon realized that it was time to launching her own career in pop and R&B
in the late '60s. Her first album, "Sunshower," was produced by legendary
songwriter Jimmy Webb and was hailed by critics and music fans alike as a
triumphant debut from a rising new star. Thelma's breakthrough into mainstream
recognition and international acceptance came after she signed with Motown Records in
the '70's. After recording the theme for the hit Richard Pryor/Billy Dee
Williams movie, "The Bingo Long All Stars"," Thelma hit the top of the pop, R&B
and dance charts with her high-powered rendition of "Don't Leave Me This Way"
(originally recorded by Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes). A gold single, the
now-classic song gave Thelma the distinction of being the first solo female artist
at Motown to win a Grammy Award for "Best R&B Female Vocal Performance" in
1977 that launched her on a musical journey that has never stopped.
Known for her emotive style and passionate delivery, Thelma showed her
musical versatility with the jazz-flavored "If It's The Last Thing I Do," a Top 20
R&B hit in 1977, she then recorded several albums with soul legend Jerry
Butler at Motown before scoring further success at RCA and MCA records in the '80s.
It was at MCA that she gave then-fledgling producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis
one of their first Top 20 R&B hits with the dance jam "You Used To Hold Me So
Tight." Thelma then ended the decade with a rousing gospel-flavored version of
Bill Withers' "Lean On Me," recorded with The Winans and featured in the hit
movie of the same name starring Morgan Freeman.
Continuing to display her many talents, Thelma co-wrote "Be Yourself", the
title track for Patti LaBelle's 1989 hit album. Her burgeoning skills as an
actress first became apparent in the '70s and her resume includes "Death
Scream", "The Seventh Dwarf," and a remake of "And God Created Woman:
starring Rebecca DeMornay. Her music has been heard in a number of
hit films such as "Thank God It's Friday," "Looking For Mr. Goodbar," "Norman,
Is That You?". Thelma's numerous television credits include guest parts on
"Cagney & Lacey", "Simon & Simon" and "Fairy Tale Theater". In 1998 she also
performed in the initial workshop for "The Legend," Debbie Allen's adaptation of Ibsen's "Peer Gynt", with music by James Ingram, which also starred Hinton
Battle and Jasmine Guy. She also co-wrote a song ("The Night I Fly")
for the disco film "54."
Known as a humanitarian for her ongoing support for a variety of charitable
causes and most
specifically for her tireless efforts in the battle against AIDS, Thelma
participated in a special benefit in 1994 at New York's Algonquin Hotel with other
major female artists including Phoebe Snow, Chaka Khan, Mavis Staples, and CeCe Peniston,
under the banner of "Sisters of Glory". The show was so electrifying that
Thelma and the other members created a singing group where they performed
traditional gospel songs. An invitation to perform at The Vatican for the pope
followed in 1995, and they were invited to sing at the "Return to Woodstock" concert as well. That year Thelma participated with Snow, Peniston, and gospel great
Albertina Walker on the Warner Bros. album titled, "Good News in Hard Times."
Aside from her own Reprise album, "Throw You Down," Thelma's recording
activities has included guest appearances with guitarist Scott Henderson on his
1997 CD "Tore Down House" (for Atlantic) and guitarist Eric Henderson on his JVC
CD "Faces," also in 1997. Thelma can also be heard on the soundtrack for the
film "Into The Night," and she has recorded in the UK with well-known producer Joey
Negro in 1996.
Thelma does a great deal of globe-trotting, and has performed recently in
Switzerland, Indonesia, France, Chile, Singapore and Malaysia as well as
appearing at private parties, corporate conventions, major concert venues and
nightclubs throughout the U.S. where she averages 275 shows per year. Thelma's
appeared with many of the top names in the world of entertainment including the
late Sammy Davis Jr., Lou Rawls, Neil Sedaka, Engelbert Humperdinck, Smokey
Robinson, The Temptations and The Four Tops.
The year 2000 found Thelma Houston back in Australia starring in the
Broadway musical "Fame." Rave reviews and SRO crowds from Sydney to Perth kept
Thelma in Australia for the better part of twelve months firmly establishing
Thelma's reputation as a legitimate stage actress. This experience provided Thelma a
platform that she would like to pursue in future theatrical productions.
Whether she's appearing in Mexico City, Tokyo, Las Vegas, Hong Kong or
London, Thelma Houston has brought audiences to their feet with her dynamic,
energetic stage show. The ever-soulful songstress is enjoying every moment of her
ongoing career: "I still feel a tremendous excitement about performing," says
an upbeat Houston, "It's such a part of me, something I have to do! I used to
see success in a whole different light but, you know what? I feel blessed
because I don't ever stop working and I really love what I do, and I can truly say
that I appreciate my career now more than ever. Sometimes it really feels
like I'm just getting started."
For more info. on this true Grammy Award-winning legend, please log onto her official website at