We are the brighter side of day
Kathy Sledge is a Renaissance woman — a singer, songwriter, author, producer, manager, and Grammynominated music icon whose boundless creativity and passion has garnered praise from critics and a legion of fans from all over the world. Her artistic triumphs encompass chart-topping hits, platinum albums, and successful forays into several genres of popular music. Through her multi-faceted solo career and her legacy as the widely known lead vocalist of the group Sister Sledge, which included her lead vocals on worldwide anthems like "We Are Family" and "He's the Greatest Dancer," she's inspired millions of listeners across all generations. Kathy is currently traversing new terrain with her critically acclaimed show The Brighter Side of Day: A Tribute to the 40s and the Legendary Billie Holiday among other icons of the era, plus studio projects that span elements of R&B, rock, and EDM. Indeed, Kathy's reached a fascinating juncture in her journey.
The Brighter Side of Day is not just a show. It's an experience where audiences are transported to the 1940s and immersed in the music of an unforgettable era. All the action happens inside the Gardenia Room, a club that summons the smokey ambience of celebrated haunts like Birdland and Café Society. The walls of the Gardenia Room are soaked with the sounds of Louis Jordan and Tympany Five storming through "Caldonia" and "Five Guys Named Moe." Imagine Max Roach sitting in and firing up some bebop on "A Night in Tunisia." John Coltrane might even step onstage and wail a few rounds of "Giant Steps." Then Lady Day appears. The unmistakable voice of Billie Holiday brings the Gardenia Room to a hush as she sings “Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be)." The Gardenia Room is hers, and not just because it's named after the signature blossom she wears onstage. With every note, she holds the audience in the palm of her hand.
Accompanied by Somebody Tell Joe and the Chops Horns (Sting, Alicia Keys, Maceo Parker), Kathy Sledge brings The Gardenia Room to life in this "spine-tingling musical journey" (NBC). She salutes an era when jazz greats like Louis Armstrong and Lester Young set the soundtrack for a night on the town and Lady Day was the jewel of the jazz scene. Broadway World applauds the show's "engine of sound … akin to hearing Count Basie and crew" while PopMatters has praised Kathy's "stunning characterization of Holiday’s style and, in essence, her soul." Since premiering in Philadelphia, this "brilliantly crafted review of music "(UrbSociety Magazine) has captivated audiences in Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., New York, and Los Angeles. When Kathy sings Billie Holiday masterpieces like “Good Morning Heartache” and "Them There Eyes," she captures all of the magic that made Lady Day a magnetizing performer. "In Brighter Side, we get to see Billie at her best," she says. "When I come out as Billie, a lot of people think it's a recording. I didn't have to learn a lot about how she phrases because I phrase like her anyway. When I get into character, people will say, 'Sing it, Billie!' They go in there with you."
While Kathy's performance in The Brighter Side of Day has inspired rave word-of-mouth reviews, the show's also earned many admirers from the world of contemporary jazz, including Stanley Clarke and Chick Corea. "My husband Phil Lightfoot is good friends with Stanley," says Kathy. "He played 'Good Morning Heartache' and 'Brighter Side of Day' for him. Stanley stepped back and said, 'This is some really cool stuff, man.' He complimented me as 'one of the greatest jazz singers,' which blew me away." Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, among other guest musicians, will soon join Kathy in the studio to record a companion album for the show, which also includes Kathy's original self-penned tunes, "Take Away Two" and "The Brighter Side of Day." The Brighter Side of Day continues to pack rooms and sell out some of the country's most prestigious venues. "It excites me because people leave feeling lifted," says Kathy. "It's about the music, it's about the era, it's about how Billie made us feel." Indeed, Kathy's homage to the 1940s in The Brighter Side of Day is nothing less than a spellbinding musical triumph.