Thursday, March 12, 2009

Interview: Stephanie Mills at the Nokia Theatre

The GRAMMY award-winning R&B artist Stephanie Mills will be performing at the Nokia Theatre March 14 as the opening act for the legendary group The Whispers. Since the days of hits such as Sweet Sensation and What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin, among other smash hits extending into the 90's like Comfort of a Man, Stephanie Mills has resurged and elaborated on her musical odyssey.

"I characterized it as my journal of life through music. My music has changed as my life has changed. My music will live forever because people can relate to my lyrics," Ms. Mills stated in a recent interview I had with her.

Unbeknownst to most people, Mills - at the tender age of nine - performed in her first play and eventually appeared at the Apollo Theatre winning Amateur Night six times! Stephanie Mills at that time was characterized as "The little girl with the big voice." She describes of music, "Oh, yes, music is in my soul. It is the only thing that I have done and I am a whole [other] person on stage. I have an alter ego."

Before being discovered by Jermaine Jackson of the Jackson Five, Mills landed the opportunity to open for another legendary group, The Isley Brothers. Ms. Mills signed with Motown, releasing two albums but they didn't generate much attention. However, in 1975, her career ascended into the stratosphere with her getting the role as Dorothy in the African-American adaptation of the Wizard of Oz.

As we continued talking I discovered that there were other compositions that weren't hit songs but that she considered dear to her heart: "Light, Jessie, Secret Lady - which I will be singing in L.A. - and The Medicine Song."

She was also very candid in her perspective of today's music. "The music of today won't last five to ten years from now. The music from...back [in] the day still lives on." But this is not to say she doesn't like some of today's artists, mentioning Indie Arie as someone who has her ear these days.

Ms. Mills is very excited about this year's tour with the Whispers. "The Whispers and I have done lots of shows together, and I will be back before the year is over to perform in Los Angeles if anyone won't be able to attend the show on March 14th."

You don't want to miss the show if you're a fan as she will be singing her hits. I asked Ms. Mills why it was so important to be at the Nokia Theatre to see her perform, and she responded, "I think it is wonderful to see an artist evolve from a young girl to a woman and still sound and look the same."

For more information on Stephanie Mills' show at the Nokia Theatre with The Whispers, visit

-Daood, Contributing Writer

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