5 questions: Darlene Love
Legendary singer Darlene Love has been called one of the greatest singers of all time by Rolling Stone. Darlene Love performed backup vocals for Dionne Warwick, Marvin Gaye and Elvis Presley before breaking out as a star in her own right. She also was featured in the Academy Award-winning film “Twenty Feet from Stardom,” which explored the fascinating lives of some of the music industry’s most prominent backup singers. The performance showcased some of the most recognized tunes in gospel, jazz, R&B, and pop as well as such gospel hits as “Lean on Me,” “Marvelous,” “Who Under Heaven” and “Please Be Patient With Me.”
“20 Feet From Stardom” has placed you in the spotlight again. What effect has it had on you?
Darlene Love: Oh my goodness! It’s been wonderful, plus it has gotten me more work which is always nice. I was becoming known as the “Christmas Queen” because of the David Letterman show. Instead of only having work in December, I am now having it spread out the entire year. It has truly been an amazing time in my career.
When you first worked with Phil Spector back in the ’60s, he didn’t want people to know you were black. Was there any hesitation on your part to either agree or disagree with him?
DL: We couldn’t disagree with him because we didn’t know. He never said anything to us, because the sound was not black, so he didn’t have to tell us.
At one point in your career, you left the music industry. What inspired to return?
DL: I left because Phil Spector was a jackass. I decided to return because one day I while I was cleaning a lady’s bathroom one of my songs came on the radio and I thought I am supposed to be sharing the gift that the good Lord gave me.
You will be performing for Gospel night with the Boston Pops. Do you have a favorite gospel song to perform and what does gospel music mean to you?
DL: There are a few that I absolutely love. I was raised in gospel music, so it definitely holds a special place in my heart. Gospel music is inspirational and has a beautiful message in its lyrics that are so uplifting and it can refresh anyone’s soul. Most of the time, before I perform, I listen to gospel music because it helps clear my heart and mind. I’m extremely excited to be performing with the Pops and to be able to perform in Symphony Hall is an amazing opportunity.
Can you tell us about any new projects do you have in the works?
DL: I do have lots going on. Right now, it’s like having a lots of sticks in the flames and waiting for one to catch on fire. Currently, I’m still out promoting my newest album “Introducing Darlene Love” and working with music producer Steve Van Zandt on a few new ideas. Stay tuned, there are some exciting things in the works.