In 1982, Jennifer Holliday took the world by storm when she sang “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” in her role as Effie Melody White in the Tony award-winning Broadway musical Dreamgirls. At the age of just 21, she was a powerhouse. The next year, she recorded her Feel My Soul album for Geffen Records. This was my favorite of her three Geffen albums. It was produced by Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire and had a who’s who of contributors including a couple of The Emotions on background vocals. I enjoyed all the songs on the album. The ballads were solid and the up-tempo tracks had an EWF feel to them which was not a bad thing. “I Am Love” was the heavy-hitting ballad on the album. Other gems included “Just For A While”, “Change Is Gonna Come”, “Just Let Me Wait”, “Shine A Light On”, “I Am Ready Now”, and “This Game Of Love (I’m Never Coming Down” and “This Day.”
Jennifer’s next two Geffen albums, Say You Love Me and Get Close To My Love yielded the hits “Come Sunday”, “Hard Times For Lovers”, “Say You Love Me”, “Read It In My Eyes”, “Heart On The Line”, “Givin’ Up”, and the ever so danceable “No Frills Love.” Her Say You Love Me album was never released on disc but several of the songs can be found on The Best of Jennifer Holliday which was released in 1996. I just recently purchased her I’m On Your Side album from 1991.
No matter the genre, Jennifer brings a lot of power to her music which makes me wonder why her star is not shining brighter. She has done some great TV and theatre roles but nothing has topped her Dreamgirls performance but is that a realistic expectation? It frustrates me when wonderful singers fade away only to be replaced by newcomers who don’t even feel what they are singing. Rant off! Her most recent album, On & On, was a very well produced gospel album released in 1994. In recent years, she has provided her powerhouse vocals to the catchy dance club hits “A Woman’s Got The Power” and “Think It Over.” I look forward to more good music from this Dreamgirl. Enjoy your music.