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Since the runaway success of her 1990 debut album "Circle of One," and the impassioned hit single "Get Here" the Brenda Russell composition that became an unofficial anthem of the 1991 Gulf War Oleta Adams has inspired a growing legion of fans in the U.S. and Europe with journeys of the heart, songs that draw deeply from her roots in Gospel, while crossing effortlessly into the realms of soul, R&B, urban, and popular music.
Her success, nurtured by worldwide tours with Tears for Fears, Michael Bolton, and Luther Vandross, have been solidified by three Grammy nominations and a seemingly bottomless well of creative energy.
A longtime resident of Kansas City, Kansas, where she has found safe harbor from the tempestuous gales of the entertainment industry, Oleta Adams also remains anchored by her upbringing in the Pacific Northwest. The youngest of three girls and two boys, Oleta spent her formative years in Seattle before traveling over the mountains at age six to Yakima, Washington, an idyllic town of 60,000 with a black population of less than 600. She first demonstrated her budding vocal gifts in the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church where her father served as minister. By the time Oleta was eleven, she was directing and accompanying four choirs, having already established herself as a piano prodigy.
"Circle of One" made few concessions to commercialism. Yet, with its gospel-infused pop tunes and soulful ballads, including "Get Here," the album proved an auspicious beginning. "Circle of One," which sent three singles into the Top 20 on the pop charts and garnered two Grammy nominations Best Pop Vocal Performance / Female for "Get Here" and Best R&B Vocal Performance / Female for her cover of "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" led to a worldwide tour with Michael Bolton and gave Oleta Adams her first Platinum record.
Her second album, "Evolution," received equally exuberant kudos and sent Oleta on the road with soul master Luther Vandross. Of her sophomore effort, Rolling Stone magazine noted that Oleta remained fresh by focusing on "big, vibrant ballads" rather than parroting the "adventurous" mixed genre approach of her debut album. Among its stand-out selections: a jazz/gospel cover of Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind," a blues enriched interpretation of James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" and the lyrical vision of the title song.
Oleta's debut release for Harmony Records, "Come Walk With Me," found Oleta clearly representing who she is musically, continuing the stylings that have brought her such widespread acclaim. For Oleta Adams, this album is truly a reflection of who she is spiritually. It is a musical statement from one who has wrestled with the basic issues of her faith, as well from one who rebelled against the demands and expectations of being a pastor's child.
This album could have been named "Full Circle," for it is a testament to God's faithfulness to his children. Moreover, doing music that reflects her Christianity is not something constrained to an album. Each night in concert, Oleta openly shares her faith in Christ through a focused set of music similar to the tracks of "Come Walk With Me." Likewise, Oleta and her family are quite active serving in her church and around the community.
What others say --
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What Others Say
Los Angeles Times:
"Adams combines traces of jazz, soul and gospel into a smart and sophisticated form of contemporary pop. After years of longing for a great pop singer with a vision, it looks like we may have finally found one."
"Adams' exquisite voice is an instrument whose high end vibrates in stunning clarity and whose bottom range resonates richly."
New York Times:
"Ms. Adams sings about aspects of love that are basic, not cosmetic. She dares to be overtly inspirational, vulnerable and loving."
"Listen and you just might forget MTV ever existed."