Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Oleta Adams Going On Record Private 1983
Oleta Adams was not a native to Kansas City as she spent her youth in/near Yakima, Washington. In the 1970's, she took her vocals to Los Angeles where she was reportedly met with failure. Per the advice of her signing coach, she moved to Kansas City in the 1980's and started to perform locally. Sounds like a shit idea, but amazingly, it worked.
While in KC, she self-financed two full length albums (one of which may be demo only), this being the one readily available. The LP was met with some local success, but did little to advance her career as a singer reaching outside of Kansas City. Going on Record is a well-done live LP recorded at the Music Hall in 1983. All but one of the tracks were written by Oleta and are fairly strong mid-80s soul. It'd fall into the modern soul and boogie scene, but the live recording keeps it from being anything someone would spin as a DJ. People want studio jams on the dance floor. Still, despite no slick studio production, the LP is an enjoyable listen showcasing a talented singer, pianist and songwriter.
The crazy part of Oleta's story is her eventual discovery and success. In 1985 she was discovered by Tears For Fears while performing as a singer and pianist in a hotel bar. Two years after seeing and meeting her, Tears For Fears invited her to perform on their album, The Seeds of Love. The song "Women in Chains" by Tears For Fears featured her in a duet (and Phil Collins on drums). It was a hit. She toured with Tears For Fears in 1990 as the opening act and a member of their stage group.
The success with Tears For Fears led her to a contract with Fontana. She had a fair amount of success as a solo artist throughout the early 90s. Becoming very successful in England and breaking into the U.S. with a Grammy nominated cover of Brenda Russell's "Get Here", which was a top 5 single in the early 90s. Of note, many of the songs featured here on Going on Record were later re-recorded for her major label albums.
Oleta Live with Tears For Fears