Monday, June 10, 2013
UNSUNG: Siedah Garrett
I was thinking about someone to continue my effort to pay homage to the musicians who made such tremendous contributions to Black Music history. Now, I have a confession to make before I go further – I got chills thinking about this amazing lady who in my view one of the most unsung female artists of our time Siedah Garrett.
Siedah is a Grammy Award Winning and twice Oscar nominated songwriter and recording artist. As I started writing this article I was astounded by her accomplishments, which include writing songs and performed backing vocals for many of the legions in the music industry. Such as Michael Jackson, Brand New Heavies, Quincy Jones, Tevin Campbell, Donna Summers, Madonna, and Jennifer Hudson to name a few of the many great artists.
What really amazed me was that she has had huge hits singing duets but not on hit of her own. Most notably with Michael Jackson and she co-wrote Jackson’s #1 single “Man In The Mirror” as well as touring with him on his tours. She also had a number one hit with Temptations great Dennis Edwards “Don’t Look Any Further”. She has been nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Original Song and has won a Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media for co-writing "Love You I Do" performed by Jennifer Hudson for the 2006 musical film Dreamgirls.
Garrett was involved In 1987 Michael Jackson’s Bad album, singing a duet with Jackson on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”. The association with Jackson enabled her to sing on several Quincy Jones albums. She co-writing his hit songs “Tomorrow (A Better You, Better me” on the "Back On The Block" and "The Secret Garden" albums.
She forayed into the world of acting starring in a TV sitcom pilot for NBC called "Wally and the Valentines” as well as other television appearances. She hosted the show America’s Top 10. In another association with Maysa Leak’s's (of the group Incognito) solo debut album as co-writer of the track "Sexy" in which she also sang backing vocals. A few years later, she joined the Brand New Heavies, collaborating on their Shelter album. As part of the band, she co-wrote their top 5 hit “Sometimes” and enjoyed a minor hit with Carole King’s "You've Got A Friend".
Garrett worked with Madonna as a backing singer and dancer on The Re-Invention Tour in 2004. Garrett's professional involvement with Madonna goes back some years as she previously supplied backing vocals on some of Madonna's earlier material including True Blue, and Who’s That Girl.
She represented America in the opening ceremony of 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games singing the song "I Know I Can", and in the opening ceremony of Expo 2010 Shanghai China, singing the song "Better City, Better Life" with Jonathan Buck, both songs which she co-wrote with Quincy Jones.
Few artists have maintained such esteemed longevity with so many of the greats as Siedah. Whether she knows she’s great or not - I for one want to give props to this very special lady who gave so much and in my eyes amazing and not unsung at all. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…