Luther Vandross was one of the most successful R&B artists of the 1980s and '90s. Not only did he score a series of multi-million-selling albums containing chart-topping hit singles and perform sold-out tours of the U.S. and around the world, but he also took charge of his music creatively, writing…
Listen to Luther Vandross's most popular song
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When Luther Vandross was singing on a record, the song would automatically be granted a lot of soul. He was one the greatest, who's not only sold over 35 million records of his own, but throughout his career was often asked to sing background vocals on other people's songs as well.
In an interview he once said: "When I first came out, I was never heralded as the new Otis Redding, Smokey Robinson or Teddy Pedigrass. I was just Luther", but he's up there with them now and was given a title of his own. He became known as the man with the Velvet Voice.
He's one of those singers, who sounded like singing went pretty effortless for him, but when you watched him perform, his button eyes would show nothing but full focus. It's that focus on his craft and musical skill, that earned him respect and, to some, even made him a bit intimidating to work with. He just had a clear cut vision of what he wanted to sound like.
So he became known as the man with all the love songs, but his work ethic showed he did so much more in his career and wasn't afraid to take on anything he could to do what he loved to do. This resulted into a career that started late 60s and lasted until he's death.
Yep, this man came a long way from singing a song on Sesame Street to teach you how to count. He went from educating kids to bringing love right to your home every time you pop on his albums, but he did that via a detour of many bands and lending his voice to cartoon characters and adverts.
And it doesn't stop there. Luther also wrote and produced. I'm sure you know the Wizard of Oz song “Everybody Rejoice”, well, that's his. But he even collaborated on songwriting with people you might not expect at first, like David Bowie and his protégé Richard Marx.
He's recorded duets with people like Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson and has been named as an inspiration to many of today's artists.
His death was exactly 10 years ago this year, but he's never been forgotten. In fact, big artists have even recorded a tribute album to him over the years or performed tributes on various shows.
That Velvet Voice, ever so smoothly, still holds up in this musical era (and especially around the holiday season!). On October 16th an Essential collection of his most popular work was released. It contains all of the radio edits and single versions of his songs. And so the legend lives on 'cos, let's face it, it's never too much.