Jennifer Holliday

Jennifer Holliday

Possessing one of the biggest and most powerful Soul voices of the last quarter century, Jennifer Holliday was an absolute smash in several seminal roles on stage, but never reached an equal level of success on record.  Questionable musical directions and uneven material dogged her recording career, resulting in a few bright spots among large numbers of tracks that simply were not worthy of her vocal talent.

Holliday first reached prominence on stage in the play Your Arm's Too Short To Box With God, but it was her tragic and triumphant role in the musical Dreamgirls and her Act One show-stopping performance of the ballad "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" that made her a star.  It led her to an unprecedented appearance on Saturday Night Live and a solo recording contract with Geffen Records.

Her 1983 debut album, Feel My Soul, was produced by Earth Wind & Fire leader Maurice White and was expected to be a smash.  Perhaps it was her un-diva like physical appearance at the time (she later went on to lose over 100 pounds and was quite beautiful), or perhaps it was White's overly slick production, but the album was only a moderate success.  Despite the tepid response it received, Feel My Love was a relatively solid album, featuring a couple radio-friendly songs ("I Am Love" and "Just For Awhile"), some decent album cuts, and an absolutely dynamite Gospel ballad, "This Day," which is still perhaps Holliday's finest interpretive piece on record.

 

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Jennifer Holliday - 'Millennium Collection - 20th Century Masters' image