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BRENDA HOLLOWAY 2000 INTERVIEW
Resurrecting a recording career that has lain dormant for almost three decades is no mean feat but Brenda Holloway is living proof that the combination of faith and talent can endure. The California native is best known to mainstream record buyers through her 1964 classic "Every Little Bit Hurts" and although she had a handful of other notable hits (including "When I’m Gone," "I’ll Always Love You," the original of "You’ve Made Me So Very Happy" which she co-wrote with Berry Gordy Jr. and her sister Patrice and one of my personal favorites "Just Look What You’ve Done") during her Motown years, Brenda never achieved superstar status. Fortunately, die-hard soul aficionados – most especially in the U.K. – never forgot about the statuesque beauty and many treasured her one Tamla album and other singles that never made it to the charts.

Brenda made a gospel album for the Birthright label in the early ‘80s and her career underwent rejuvenation when she went to the U.K. in 1987 and recorded for Ian Levine’s Motorcity label. However, it was until 1995 that Brenda began working again consistently in and around Los Angeles, initially with Brenton Wood of "Gimme Little Sign" fame. "When Mary Wells passed away, that perked me into doing something," she recalled in a recent interview for this newsletter. "I felt a vital [musical] icon was gone and I had to make my own musical contribution again."

After Wood "took me under his wing," Brenda experienced a revival of interest in her career. She returned to the U.K. to do shows with fellow former Motown labelmate Kim Weston and in 1999, Motown issued a "Very Best Of" collection which included some previously unreleased tracks. That year, Brenda also received a Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer Award and a performance with Brenton – seen by producer Fred Pittman – led to a contract with Fantasy Records’ revived Volt imprint. "The truth is, they were trying to sign Mary Wilson," Brenda reveals. "There were some problems with contract negotiations and after Fred saw me, he asked me if I would be interested in signing with the company. It’s funny because it was Mary who also turned me on to the whole U.K. connection years ago so I have her to thank for this!"

Brenda worked with Pittman and former Narada Michael Walden associate Preston Glass on the album "It’s A Woman’s World" and the result is easily one of the best sets from an old school artist in years. Brenda has lost none of her soulful magic and the songs are a perfect fit for her, contemporary without being brash or corny. "The producers really updated me and I experienced a new time of relaxation in the studio. The songs had an easy flow and it was different from the old days when I used to record and I felt, ‘I better get this hit!’ I could finally be myself and I felt so much freedom for the first time."

Brenda is particularly proud of the title track "because it’s so 21st century! I also love "I’ll Keep You Dry Through The Rain" because it reflects my spiritual connection, it’s saying God will always be there to keep you in tune above all the mess." Other standouts include "Easier Said Than Done," "Walk Right Back," "A Perfect Rendezvous" and "Never Forget Your First" and Brenda is elated at the chance to be heard once again in the marketplace with an album she describes as "quiet storm with a ‘60s hint! I feel like I moved into another area with this record. I don’t know how this opportunity fell into my lap but I am so happy it did! " she enthuses. "It feels like I’m starting all over again but for the first time, all the pieces are beginning to fit. I’d have to say that 1999 was one of the best years of my life and really validated my being in this business."

Brenda recently completed shows with fellow Volt artists L.J. Reynolds, Angel Sessions and Lenny Williams and is looking forward to more ‘live’ work and until she’s in your neighborhood, you must check out "It’s A Woman’s World," a truly welcome return for one of our soul survivors.

About the Writer
David Nathan is the founder and CEO of SoulMusic.com and began his writing career in 1965; beginning in 1967, he was a regular contributor to Blues & Soul magazine in London before relocating to the U.S. in 1975 where he served as U.S. editor for the publication for several decades and began being known as 'The British Ambassador Of Soul.' From 1988 to 2004, he wrote prolifically for Billboard, has penned bios, produced and written liner notes for box sets and reissue CDs for over a thousand projects. He returned to London in 2009 where he has helped create SoulMusic.com Records as a leading reissue label.
  
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