Spotlight On Adrienne Townes
Enige tijd geleden recenseerde ik de cd ‘So Natural’ van de Afro-Amerikaanse zangeres Adrienne Townes. Adrienne zou een vrouw zijn die, eens je haar ontmoet hebt, je nooit meer vergeet. Wel, als ik haar foto op deze cover bekijk, ziet ze er inderdaad leuk uit. Maar er zit meer achter, want ze groeide op in Baltimore, Maryland en was de dochter van de lokaal bekende actrice, zangeres en tv-ster, Joan Coursey. Haar uitstraling, podiumvastheid en articulatie zou ze van haar moeder geërfd hebben, maar haar zangstem is haar eigen. Ze begon te zingen en te acteren in toneelstukken en musicals in The Arena Players, het oudste zwarte theater in de USA. Daarnaast trad ze ook op in de kerk. Dat bleef ze doen tot ze volwassen werd, maar in het college studeerde ze af met zingen als bijvak. Toch vormde ze als zangeres een band en werd zelfs verkozen tot de eerste Black Miss Frostburg State University. Sindsdien heeft ze in talloze Amerikaanse reclames opgetreden, en was daarnaast als actrice ook te zien in films zoals ‘Barry’s Gift’ en ‘Sleepy Hollow High’. Haar debuut was de Kerstcd ‘To God Be the Glory’, en daarna rondde ze ‘So Natural’ af.
What was your first love, music or acting?
It’s really hard to choose which one is my favorite. I grew up in the theatre. My mother was an actress and she always took my sister and I with her to the Arena Playhouse from the time we could walk. I did my first play at about six years old. I did numerous plays throughout my childhood including several musicals. My mother realized that I had a knack for singing so she began having me audition for musicals, but my first singing debut was in the church when I was about six years old. I have been performing throughout high school and college and my adult life.
By who were you musically influenced?
I think my favorite artist of all time was Sarah Vaughn. I have always loved her voice. Phyllis Hyman was another one of my favorites.
Since your album situates itself in the R&B genre, did you listen to old school soul?
I grew up on old school soul. Any song you can mention, I think I have heard it and can probably sing it.
I notice that most of your songs are introduced by a spoken intro. Do you love the spoken word and poetry?
Most of my songs started as poems. I love poetry. I always wanted to write a book of poems, but it turned into song.....
Tell us something about the musicals and bands you were in?
I was in ‘Tambourines to Glory’, ‘Goodbye Blues’ and ‘Eden’. I done many plays that were not musicals, but I have performed songs for plays and events as well. The only bands that I have been in have been the musicians that have accompanied me when I have done my gigs.
You wrote every song on the album. I notice that they’re all about love. Do you draw on personal experiences?
Yes, some of the songs on the album were drawn from my personal experiences, but I like to write songs that may apply to other peoples experiences as well.
On the inside of the album I read “All Things Work Together For Good…”. Do you feel positive about life?
I am a very spiritual person. Throughout my life, I have realized that God has ordered my steps. I think that every experience in life happens for a reason, to teach us a lesson to prepare us for future endeavors. That’s why I feel that “All things work together for good...”
Your debut album was the Christmas CD ‘To God Be the Glory’. Is religion very important to you?
I don’t think that organized religion is as important as spirituality is to me.
The songs on your album are what I used to call “soft soul”. Is that how you would categorize yourself?
I really don’t like to put myself into a category. I am working on a new project, and I like to leave myself open to broaden my horizons to move into different directions.
Could you tell us something about the movies you starred in?
Well, I can’t say that I have starred in many movies, but I have done quite a bit of television and motion picture in the USA. I have starred in some major nationwide commercials as well as representing several brands of cars and sports. I had small parts in major films as well. There are examples of my work on my website. adriennetownes.com
What are your future plans?
My future planes are to continue to work on my music and hopefully be able to do it as a full time job.
I want to thank you for your time, and wish you a fruitful career.
Haar album ‘So Natural’ is te koop op deze link: www.cdbaby.com/cd/adriennetownes.
Meer info over haar vindt u op www.adriennetownes.com en op www.myspace.com/adriennetownesmusic.
Patrick Van de Wiele