So Donny Hathaway had such strong “sangin” genes, that he passed them on to his daughter Lalah—and this is without her having even spent much time around him. I remember watching her in an interview once speaking about how even though he passed away when she was 10 years old, he had already separated from her mother and had been battling mental illness for many years, so she was really never exposed to him musically while he was alive.
This means that Donny Hathaway was a transmitter of spirit! And we can certainly all attest to that when it comes to his music. Well, Lalah is no different, and the only reason she doesn’t yet share his infamy, is because of what has happened to the music business. She has made it very clear that she has no desire to fit into the current paradigm of the music business, and she has continued to work with master composers like renowned jazz musicians Marcus Miller, Robert Glasper, and my personal favorite collaboration, Joe Sample, in lieu of catering to the more commercial pop-tastes of the last couple of decades.
In the interview I saw, she also talked about how they tried to make her look thinner on the first album she did in 1990 with the popular tune that Angela Winbush produced called Baby Don’t Cry. Much like all of Angela Winbush’s songs, it is truly Funky. Anyway, Lalah decided immediately that Pop Music was a road she did not want to take.
I don’t think I have ever heard a Lalah Hathaway song that I don’t like. Her voice is so beautiful, she can almost make any song great. She has won three Grammy’s, and of her seven albums, my favorites are the album she did with Joe Sample called The Song Lives On (1999), and Outrun The Sky (2004). The former contains a few classics on it including a steamy version of Fever, and soulful melodious versions of Street Life and the song her father made famous For All We Know.
Outrun The Sky is categorized as R&B and Soul, but there are a couple of really funky tunes on it, mainly Back Then, Admit It, and We Were 2. My favorite tune on it is the beautiful love song Better and Better, and the outstanding remake of the Luther Vandross tune Forever, For Always, For Love. Lalah Hathaway continues to show her diversity as one of the greatest Blues, Funk, Soul, and Jazz singers of all time.