‘20 Feet From Stardom’ puts a spotlight on Darlene Love

Bay State Banner
”˜20 Feet From Stardom’ puts a spotlight on Darlene Love
Colette Greenstein | 4/15/2015, 12:14 p.m.


Introduced by Bette Midler and inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, Darlene Love has long been “the voice” heard in the background of some of music’s biggest artists from Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, The Righteous Brothers and Tom Jones to Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick and Cher, just to name a few.

Since the release of the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom in 2013, which also won the 2014 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, Love’s life and her music have finally hit center stage. Directed by Morgan Neville, the film puts a spotlight on the untold and true stories of backup singers Merry Clayton, Claudia Lennear, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill, Táta Vega, The Waters and Love, who were the voices performing behind some of the biggest names in the music business.

Since appearing in the documentary, “wonderful doors have opened for me,” says Love by phone in a recent call with the Banner. In February of this year, the 70-something singer won a Grammy in the category of Best Music Film for 20 Feet From Stardom, which she shares with Merry Clayton, Lisa Fisher and Judith Hill.

Earlier this month, Love was one of the signature speakers at the 2015 Simmons Women’s Leadership Conference which was held on Thursday, April 2 at the Seaport World Trade Center. It was her first time speaking at the conference and she was thrilled to be invited.

“They want to hear about my life and they want to hear me speak,” says Love of the invitation to attend the conference.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Dare to Compete” and of its meaning to Love, she says “you have to recreate yourself.”

“To compete you have to be what they want you to be and still be yourself,” she said, adding that her love for music and performing “is about lifting up the audience.”

With a career spanning over 50 years, Love’s journey has included being a part of Phil Specter’s legendary “wall of sound” hit factory, a recurring role as Danny Glover’s wife in the Lethal Weapon movies, and roles on Broadway in Hairspray and Grease. Over the last 25 years, Love has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman during Christmas week, singing her holiday classic, Baby Please Come Home.

Other opportunities have come her way including singing with Bette Midler on her song, He’s Sure The Boy I Love off Midler’s latest album It’s the Girls!, singing at the White House and performing now throughout the year at festivals which she hadn’t done previously.

And, a movie about her life, based on her memoir My Name Is Love: The Darlene Love Story (which is being re-released by Harper Collins’ on June 4), is in the works under Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. Love, who is an executive producer on the film, mentions they’re currently in production and looking for writers now. The hope is that “if 20 Feet From Stardom made people cry and laugh then the movie needs to make people feel the same way,” says Love of the upcoming project.

In the meantime, Love continues touring with concerts this month at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, N.J. and in June at B.B. King Blues Club in New York. With the success of the documentary, she’d like to do another television show, a situation comedy to “let people see the funny side of me,” she says.

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