Black Music Month: UB Flashback Interview with Lalah Hathaway

In support of our Black Music Month Interview Series, we present to you a flashback interview from the UB vaults with the lovely and incredible Lalah Hathaway conducted by us in 2005. The interview was in support of her 2004 release Outrun the Sky, however interviewer Josiah got really creative with the interview and Lalah stated it was a unique, different and good interview! So with that said, for those that missed it here’s your chance to check it out!

Born to Donny Hathaway, one of the most influential soul artists of the eighties, and Eulaulah Hathaway, an accomplished musician in her own right, the Chicago native first put pen to paper, “with the music,” as a 10th grader. Later, as a student at Berklee College of Music, she recorded her self-titled debut in 1990, which spawned the hits “Baby Don’t Cry,” “Heaven Only Knows” and “I’m Coming Back.” She returned four years later with A Moment, followed by the much-lauded The Song Lives On, her duet album with Joe Sample in 1999, the same year she began growing her now-signature, cinnamon-hued ‘locs. By 2004, she’d deliver her fourth album, Outrun the Sky, garnering Hathaway her first number one single, the Rex Rideout-produced cover of Luther Vandross’ Forever, For Always, For Love, which was also featured on the critically-acclaimed Vandross tribute album of the same name.

Lalah is currently promoting her latest release via Stax Records entitled “Where It All Begins!”


Lalah Hathaway 2005 Interview! Who is Lalah Hathaway?
Lalah: I am a musician who loves to sing. If you had to choose one word to describe yourself, what would it be?
Lalah: I try to stay away from one-word descriptions and since my music can’t really be categorized into one single genre, I’d probably say I can’t. Here’s a scenario: “I mostly listen to hip-hop but I do like to lay back and listen to some R&B music every now and then, why should I buy your CD?”
Lalah: It’s a great CD with great music. I mean, I listen to hip-hop in my truck sometimes but then there are those times when you need to listen to great music with background vocals, stringed instruments and nice melodic tones. Speaking of hip-hop, who do you like that is out on the scene right now?
Lalah: Well, I like hip-hop but I like the old school hip-hop. I really listened to a lot of hip-hop back in the 80’s. I’m not into the popular stuff that much right now. A lot of hip-hop has changed but some of it’s still good. There is an R&B singer that I do like though and her name is Ledisi. Let’s talk about Outrun The Sky, and how the title came about?
Lalah: This was a record that I wrote while traveling on a very turbulent flight. I pulled a lot of inspiration while up there flying the not so friendly skies. But it’s great because each song has its own story that speaks directly to the listener’s spirit. Tell me who produced on the album and what kind of feeling you were going for?
Lalah: Mike City & Mr. Parks both contributed tracks on my album. Mike City is a great producer also because he has a way of connecting with the artist. The feeling that I was going for was one of connectivity. I just wanted the album to flow at a pace understandable by the listener. Tell me about you covering the Luther Vandross track “Forever, For Always, For Love.” How was that process?
Lalah: It was a wonderful process. The producer told me to pick a song to cover and that was the first song I originally picked. Luther is legendary and to work on one of his songs is an honor. How does it feel to have a record out as the same time as your father Donny Hathaway?
Lalah: This was not planned. It’s one of those things that just happened. It let’s me know that I’m in the right place at the right time. What are you most afraid of?
Lalah: I’m afraid of waking up one day and realizing that I can’t be a musician. When was the last time you cried?
Lalah: Last Saturday at my buddy Rahsaan Patterson’s show. He’s a good friend of mine. Any last words for your fans?
Lalah: Before I answer that question I would just like to say thank you for such a unique, different and good interview. I’m happy to see that you did not ask me any questions about my father and his passing away. Too many interviewers focus so much on my father when asking me questions and it gets frustrating. So thank you for steering away from that. No problem and your welcome. This interview is about you as an artist.
Lalah: To the fans, thank you so much for your devoted partnership.

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