The daughter of R & B great Donny Hathaway has made her own name in music in her own way. She was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 16, 1968 to father Donny and mother Eulaulah Hathaway, also an accomplished vocalist. As a 10th grader, she first started writing music. In 1989, Hathaway signed with Virgin Records and released her first song, “ Inside the Beat”. She recorded her first album, entitled, Lalah Hathaway, as a student at Berklee College of Music. Her debut released the hit single, “Heaven Knows.”
A host of albums later, including a cover of Luther Vandross’ “Forever, For Always, For Love”, shows that her alto and contralto voice continues to have a smooth sound and large following. Her longest singing note was on this performance, holding a note for 17 seconds. She is also an accomplished producer and songwriter.
When asked about her rich legacy in music with father Donny Hathaway, she responded, “I am his daughter and that’s the truth of who I am, everyday. When I was 15, and ten, 20, I didn’t get why people were asking me how I felt about him and his music. But when I turned 25, I began to understand. Like my father, I want to leave a legacy of music that makes people really feel something, whether it be happiness, sadness, grief or heartache. I also want them to appreciate my humor which I know can be difficult to interpret in a song.”
This year she won a Grammy for Best R&B performance with her own cover of “Something “ with Snarky Puppy. Her unique performance, including her unique ability of singing two notes at the same time, earned her the Grammy nod.
Throughout her career, her music and her locs have taken center stage. Her signature curly look is as much an ambassador for locs as her voice is for jazz and R&B.
Check out this video of her Grammy-winning performance. You will see how Lalah Hathaway beat the year’s best contenders. Here’s to Lalah Hathaway, a singer who makes Black history every time she sings a note.