"Just kick back and fall into a dreamy, glossy evening of upbeat, fantastic, incendiary singing"! --Lee Hartgrave, contributor San Francisco Chronicle
OLETA ADAMS Raised the daughter of a Baptist minister in small Yakima, Washington, Oleta Adams was somewhat of a child prodigy, playing piano at an early age and directing choirs by the time she was a teen. At 18 she made a decision to forego a college scholarship and instead headed to Los Angeles seeking a musical career. When her jazzy, torchy style didn't fit the dance oriented sound of the mid to late 70s, she moved to Kansas City, where she slowly gathered a following singing and playing piano at local nightclubs, with her show eventually becoming a regular stopping ground for visiting celebrities.
Her big break came in 1988 when Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith of the then-hot British group, Tears for Fears, saw her show and offered her the opportunity to sing backing vocals for their album The Seeds of Love, the follow-up to their international smash album Songs From the Big Chair (and its hit "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"). Her performance on The Seeds of Love was notable, and she was soon signed by Mercury Records to record her debut album with Orzabel producing.
Adams ' 1990 debut, Circle of Love, was like nothing else at the time, and it took the musical world by storm. Her cover of Brenda Russell's breathy "Get Here" was virtually unrecognizable from the original. It was a smoldering, torchy masterpiece, and Orzabal's sparse production behind her deep, clear voice, made for one of the decade's truly great ballads. The rest of the album was equally notable, especially her seven minute jazzy cover of the classic "Everything Must Change" and Orzabel's cool composition, "Rhythm of Life." At a time when urban adult audiences were already rejoicing in rising stars Luther Vandross and Anita Baker, Adams provided an equally strong - but jazzier - addition to the burgeoning Urban Adult Contemporary market.
Oleta Adams recorded other albums and eventually moved back to her gospel roots in 1997 with Come Walk With Me, achieving her greatest critical acclaim since her debut. She then spent the next few years touring before releasing All the Love in Europe in 2001. She followed it a few years later with Christmas Time With Oleta, but didn't issue another standard studio album until 2002's All The Love on Sugo/Monarch Records.