Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter and actress, Thelma Houston’s list of achievements are a testament to her ability to celebrate success and create new opportunity. Such a simple sentence to describe an extraordinary talent. With over 23 albums, and over 43 years of performing, Thelma has crafted an outstanding career, ever since her very first album, and she shows no signs of slowing down. "I have so many things I still want to do", she says with typical enthusiasm and energy.
Whether she's appearing in Tokyo, Las Vegas or London, Thelma brings audiences to their feet with her dynamic, energetic stage show. This globe trotting Diva logs over 200+ live performances annually.
The ever-soulful songstress is enjoying every moment of her uber-successful career: "I still feel a tremendous excitement about performing", says an upbeat Houston, "It's such a part of me, and something I have to do!” And perform she does!
In April 2009 Thelma was honored to perform on the #1 rated television show in the America, ”American Idol” where she “tore it up” for an estimated audience of over 25 million people. In Sept. 2009 Thelma was asked to open up the finale show of NBC’s #1 rated show called “America’s Got Talent” which drew over 19 million people. On that show was the US debut of Susan Boyle along with Shakira and Rascal Flats.
Thelma's current CD is titled “A Woman’s Touch” with producer Peter Angell, puts Thelma's stamp on “Classic” cover songs, originally recorded by male vocalists and features songs like, Love and Happiness, By The Time I Get To Phoenix, Distant Lover, Brand New Day, Wake Up Everybody, Imagine, Try A Little Tenderness as well as special tributes to her friends Sylvester (Disco Heat/Mighty Real) and Luther Vandross (Never To Much) . This is a very special Cd that this record company really feels strongly about......so I feel the sky is the limit.
Television has always loved Thelma, especially when NBC offered her to perform on their hot music show called “Hit Me Baby, One More Time”. She performed with 4 other acts and ended up being the overwhelming audience favorite and winning $20,000.00 for her favorite charity, Minority AIDS Project LA. Thelma recently rocked Rockefeller Center on NBC’s Today Show’s, dazzled ABC-TV’s “Motown 45” and glittered at ABC-TV’s “The Disco Ball”.
With friends like Aretha Franklin and Mary Wilson, Thelma raised the roof on the TV specials, “Love, Rhythm and Blues,” and “Soul Superstars” both for PBS. Thelma’s also had the pleasure of performing with Stevie Wonder on the syndicated special called “Motown Christmas.” The legendary Nile Rogers called upon Thelma to be his “special guest” for a sold
out concert at the world famous Hollywood Bowl. Thelma was also asked by CHER to tour on her “Farewell” concert tour and recently headlined with her “Band” at Harrah’s Casino in Las Vegas and with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra.
Thelma recently did a "Live" on set performance and sat down with Mary Hart for an in-depth interview about her career that aired on Paramount's Entertainment Tonight and Entertainment This Weekend. And in December Thelma was asked to be the featured guest performer at the Entertainment Tonight 25 annual Christmas party. Gee they must have liked her amazing in studio performance…?
Thelma was recently inducted into the “Dance Music Hall of Fame” in New York City and was honored as an “Apollo Legend” on the hit TV show, “Showtime at the Apollo” for her amazing career in music. Known for her emotive style and passionate delivery, Thelma showed her musical versatility with the jazz-flavored, Top 20 hit "If it’s The Last Thing I Do”. She recorded many albums with soul legend Jerry Butler at Motown before scoring further success at both RCA and MCA.
Thelma really started out in the 60’s. "I've really been singing since I was three," says the Mississippi-born native who moved to Long Beach, Ca. when she was 10 years old. Like so many other great performers, her musical journey started in the church. "My baby-sitter was the piano player at our church and would play hyms and I'd sing them. After that I started singing in church myself and anywhere else I could!" Thelma's obvious vocal talent resulted in an early recording career in gospel music, with the renowned gospel group, the Art Reynolds Singers.
Word about Thelma's amazing voice spread, and Thelma quickly signed to Capitol Records (home of the Beatles, Nat King Cole and Nancy Wilson) in 1967 and had her first hit song called “Baby Mine.”
Soon Thelma was being courted by several record labels and signed with ABC/Dunhill where she recorded and released her first solo album called “Sunshower” which was written, arranged and produced by the legendary Jimmy Webb. The album, "Sunshower" was hailed by critics as "a triumphant debut from a rising new star.
After this critically acclaimed album was released, Thelma decided to accept an offer from one of the biggest record companies around…..Motown Records.
At Motown, Thelma claimed the top of the Pop, R&B and Dance charts with her high-powered rendition of "Don't Leave Me This Way". This classic gold record gave Thelma the distinction of being the first solo female artist at Motown to win a Grammy Award for "Best R&B Female Vocal Performance".
"Don't Leave Me This Way" has literally taken on a life all it’s own, and has become one of the “defining” songs of the disco era, and has been licensed to well over 400+ CD compilations, including the soundtrack for the movie “Miss Congeniality 2.”
While at MCA she worked with producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, to record the Top 20 R&B hit, "You Used To Hold Me So Tight." Thelma lent her talents to a rousing gospel-flavored version of Bill Withers' "Lean On Me", with gospel greats, The Winans, featured in the hit movie of the same name. An outstanding song writer, Thelma co-wrote "Be Yourself", the title track for Patti LaBelle's critically acclaimed, best selling album of the same name and "The Night I Fly" for the hit film “54.” Thelma recently received the honor of recording (with the London Symphony Orchestra) an incredible duet with music great Roger Daltry (of the Who) of the classic Beatles song “Let It Be.”
Thelma has played the “Lead” role of Madam ZinZanni in the pre-Broadway run of “Teatro ZinZanni”, Thelma’s burgeoning skills as an actress first became apparent in films such as "Death Scream", "The Seventh Dwarf", "And God Created Woman”, with Rebecca DeMornay and Oprah Winfrey's, "Beloved". Some of Thelma's television credits include guest parts on "Cagney & Lacey", "Simon & Simon" and "Fairy Tale Theater."
Thelma toured Australia with the Broadway musical "Fame". Rave reviews and SRO crowds from Sydney to Perth kept Thelma touring the country for nearly a year. She also starred in the musical "Big Otis’s Jump Up Blues Revue” by Tony Award winning director, Otis Sallid (Smokey Joe’s Cafe). Known as a humanitarian for her ongoing support for a charitable causes and her tireless efforts in the battle against AIDS, the City of West Hollywood proclaimed, Wednesday, Jan. 29th 2003 "Thelma Houston Day." She has also donated her talents to “Devine Design” ( put on by Project Angel Food) which raised over 1 million dollars to feed home bound people with AIDS. Thelma is very active in the Beverly Hills/Hollywood branch of the NAACP.
Thelma also had the honor of Headlining the “Race to Erase MS” star studded charity event in Beverly Hills, which raised nearly 3 million dollars that evening. Thelma had the pleasure of performing at a special benefit in New York City with Phoebe Snow, Chaka Khan, Mavis Staples and CeCe Peniston as the "Sisters of Glory". As a result of Thelma’s rousing performance she received a special request to perform at the Vatican in Rome for The Pope. A short tour is being planned for Jan. 2007 with most of the original “Sisters of Glory”.
Thelma say's at some point I would like to do a CD of original dance music because the fans of dance music have been so loyal to me over the years, and possibly a jazz and gospel album to remind people of my musical roots”.
As Thelma reflects on her success she continues “I used to see success in a whole different light, but you know what, I feel blessed because I’ve never stopped working and I love what I do. I can truly say that I appreciate my career, and sometimes it really feels like I’m just getting started".
GRAMMY AWARD WINNING
SINGER, SONGWRITER AND
CAREER SPANS 43
INDUCTED INTO THE DANCE
MUSIC HALL OF FAME AND
HONORED AS AN APOLLO
2009 GUEST PERFORMANCE
ON AMERICAN IDOL AND
AMERICA’S GOT TALENT