*One of the hallmarks of Oleta Adams’ 45 year career has been the authenticity she brings to any and every lyric. Whether it’s the yearning behind her 1990 breakout hit “Get Here,” her incendiary cover of Billy Joel’s “New York State Of Mind”, or the joy that runs through her 2006 holiday collection Christmas Time With Oleta, Adams’ listeners never have had to wonder whether the artist is feeling what she’s singing.
Fans may be surprised to hear that there was a time when Adams felt pressured to sing what her audience wanted to hear, rather than what was in her heart.
“Mostly I did hotel gigs,” Adams remembers of the days before she became a household name. “They were usually big hotels that had conventions coming in — funeral directors, insurance people, medical people, professional athletes, all sorts of people.”
“How do you keep an audience that doesn’t know what you do? You have to perform the songs they’re familiar with, and that’s the top of the charts on the radio — whether you’re feeling those songs or not.”
Adams, 63 recalls that early stage in her career when she dedicated her performances’ third set to songs that she wanted to do, with less pressure on what was expected of her. That same freedom — to sing the songs she wants to sing — is behind her phenomenal new album, aptly entitled Third Set. Continue reading