About the Artist
These timeless ideals were fostered by Withers' loving parents and her preternaturally accomplished family of academics and scientists. Withers' Midwestern family unflinchingly supported their lone artist in her decision to train in piano and voice at the renowned Berklee School of Music in Boston and in her bold move to tackle The Big Apple. Championing their prodigal daughter in her early takeover of Manhattan's grueling audition circuit, they motivated Withers to master her craft by securing her MFA from New York University and create opportunities for herself instead of "waiting to be discovered." It was family who supported Withers' through her years as a session and background singer for A-list artists like Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, R. Kelly, Celine Dion and Jennifer Lopez, and Withers' early performances as a "Vowelle" on the PBS children's series Between The Lion. Their tireless encouragement paid off when Withers' talent and tenacity earned her (under her Ellé Patrice alter ego) the life-changing opportunity to co-write Billboard Top 5 club songs like "Rising" and "Emotions" with hitmaker Tony Moran (Janet, Beyonce, Cher) in 2002. By 2005, the entire family was rejoicing over the news that Withers had won over both Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones to land the feature role of Shug Avery as Withers' Broadway debut and eventual Tony-nominated turn.
Soon the family and critics weren't alone in cheering Withers; audiences around the world were beginning to recognize her singular talents. It wasn't long before the legendary Blue Note Records joined Withers' movement, signing and launching her as a national recording artist with the release of her critically acclaimed debut It Can Happen To Anyone. Largely self-penned by Withers, the skillfully crafted songs from her debut were quickly licensed by blue-chip companies like Corona and San Andreas for their Grand Theft Auto video game. The duel triumphs of being an acclaimed Broadway actress and major label artist, opened doors for Withers to become a darling of the speaker circuit, making featured appearances at Dr. OZ/HEALTHCORPS, VERIZON, The Uniworld Group, National Black Caucus, Odyssey Network Group, The LINKS, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, ASCAP and the Grammy Board for Grammy's In Schools.
But, that was then, and the never complacent Withers' razor focus is on the now. With a new partner (her Musical Director, musician Damon Mendes) , new daughter, a new Broadway vehicle in the pipeline, and a bevy of new material, Withers returns to the main stage refreshed, renewed, and ready to conquer even higher horizons. Recently signed through a landmark joint agreement between E1 Music and Purpose Music Group for the release of her forthcoming project, Withers is poised to re-introduce her artistry to eager fans after a three-year hiatus. With more intimate, world-wizened songs and dynamic performances intended to lighten listeners' heart, Withers is prepping a promotional tour to rival the great women who influenced Withers' distinct sound: the honey-warmed resonance of Gladys Knight, the fiery growls of rocker Tina Turner, and the storytelling realism of Mary J. Blige. Withers' has already convinced the legendary Bill Withers (no relation) she's the real deal; leading into her tour the two will be sharing a historic duet of "Lean on Me" for the Library of Congress. Adding esteemed company like Bill Withers to her unconventional, improvisational performance style, original jams, and fierce covers of rarities like Mother's Finest "Love Changes" and Knight's "Neither One Of Us," and you just know Withers' plans to take audiences up on a moving, unpredictable ride. Anything can happen.
From transforming girls' lives with her Too Beautiful foundation to caressing the souls of fans the world over with her generous gifts as an actress and singer/songwriter, the future Carole King of soul won't rest until she's quite "Simply The Best." Her family wouldn't have it any other way.