The R&B singer, a Grammy Award nominee, got her start in show business playing Bay Area clubs and appearing in "Beach Blanket Babylon" for years. She lives in New Orleans, but calls Oakland home, too. She appears Monday at the KBLX Stone Soul Concert at Sleep Train Pavilion on a bill with Maze, Chaka Khan and the Whispers.
You’re a soul singer, but your album "Lost & Found" is on Verve, a jazz label. What’s that about? My path has never gone the way I thought it would; it’s the same label that rejected me years ago. Yet this fits with who I am. It’s working.
What has being nominated for a Grammy meant for you? Acceptance. It’s people saying, "We see you. We see your work." It’s opened doors that I’d never imagined. I’ve crossed to the other side of the velvet rope.
What was your breakthrough? I was at the end of my rope when I sang "My Sensitivity" onthe Luther Vandross tribute album produced by Rex Rideout. I did it for free. On every tribute album I’ve done, I’ve taken someone else’s leftovers. I won’t say who didn’t want to do it, but it led to me being signed to a major label.
What was it like being in George Clooney’s movie "Leatherheads"? I was blown away. He made me look so beautiful. I’d never been in front of a camera like that before. I didn’t even audition — he just wanted me to come by and sing standards. Not only is he gorgeous, he’s so nice. He talks to you like he’s known you forever.
What are you going to do being home for this concert? Nothing! I’ll walk around the park and do some journaling. I’ll just chill — maybe walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.