Capathia Jenkins Nods to Billie, Ella & Gladys as She Talks Influential Female Artists
November 10th, 2015
by Capathia Jenkins
Friday, November 13 is anything but unlucky for New York Pops fans. That evening the Pops will be joined at Carnegie Hall by special guests Capathia Jenkins, Montego Glover & Sy Smith to present Sophisticated Ladies, a celebration of the centennial year of Billie Holiday's birth and other groundbreaking female icons of American popular song. Below, BroadwayBox hears from the Newsies and Fame Becomes Me alum about Holiday's influence on her and the four other great female artists who helped shaped her sound and style.
Why: Influential because she was a singer using her voice like an instrument in the band. She fit in to any arrangement like a hand in a glove. Her scatting is legendary she was a real master.
My Introduction to Her Work: I was introduced to her work in college where I was studying jazz.
Her Ultimate Song: ‘Somethings Gotta Give’
Why: Influential because she always sang the melody first and then improvised. Throughout my career whenever I have to learn a standard, if there is a recording of Sarah doing it, I could learn it from her. We are kindred spirits because I will always trust and sing the ink off the page.
My Introduction to Her Work: I was introduced to her work in college pretty much the same time Ella came into view.
Her Ultimate Song: ‘Lush Life’
Why: Influential because her phrasing was just so natural and conversational. Her raw soul and emotion was always on display in her recordings—the truth of her life experiences front and center in her tone. You cannot learn that, it just IS.
My Introduction to Her Work: I was introduced to her work early in life, perhaps around 12 years old, but all I knew at that time was "God Bless The Child". I really didn’t come to appreciate her until much later in life.
Her Ultimate Song: 'Strange Fruit'
Why: Influential because her tone is unmatched, and the honesty with which she delivers a song is so moving. She sings and I cry, she is my favorite singer of all time. Her longevity is awe inspiring, I saw her live this past summer and thought, 'Wow, she’s still got IT!'
My Introduction to Her Work: I was introduced to her work as far back as I can remember music being played in my home. I was very young, she was always there. First with the PIPS and then I just grew with her as she became a solo artist.
Her Ultimate Song: ‘You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me’
Why: Influential because she has a true command of storytelling and invites the listener to come to her; she stays within herself never pushing or trying to manipulate her audience. This is a rare gift in a business that is always swirling with the next best thing.
My Introduction to Her Work: I was introduced to her in the early '90s when she became popular on the radio. Subsequently, I sang back-up for her for about 6 years and witnessed firsthand the power that she has live. She’s so honest and consistent. The first time I stood on stage with her and she sang "Get Here", I could not stop the tears streaming down my face.
Her Ultimate Song: ‘When Love Comes To The Rescue’
Make sure you're at Carnegie Hall on November 13 to see Capathia Jenkins, Montego Glover & Sy Smith perform 'Sophisticated Ladies' with the New York Pops.