18.02. – Happy Birthday !!! Randy Crawford seemingly burst upon the scene singing “Street Life” when The Crusaders invited her to sing the eleven minute title song on their 1979 album “Street Life,” which remained #1 on the American jazz charts for twenty weeks. She recently in 2006 reunited with former Crusader keyboardist Joe Sample for “Feelin’ Good,” which was again a especially popular album.
Veronika Crawford was born in Macon, Georgia, in 1952, and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a child, she sang in school and church choirs. At the age of 15, she began to sing in clubs, accompanied by her father. She became the lead vocalist in a group that included bassist Bootsy Collins. In 1972, she had her first big concert in New York’s Club Nico’s, where she appeared in a program together with George Benson. In a tribute concert to Cannonball Adderley in 1975, she was on stage together with Quincy Jones and George Benson. Two of the songs recorded on that occasion were part of her debut album in 1976 “Everything Must Change.”
After her collaboration on “Street Life,” she joined the Crusaders for a tour which gained her international recognition, and she remained a bigger attraction overseas than in America. Her consequent albums were geared toward a more smooth jazz audience which played very well overseas.
Her album “Secret Combination” stayed on the albumcharts for over 60 weeks in 1981 and Randy returnedto the charts in 1986, with the top 10 single “Almaz”. Since then Randy Crawford has released over 15 albums and had several international multi-platinum hits. And if she still goes relatively unrecognized in her native land, she has become one of the world’s most successful popular singers.
The art of interpreting songs, as the great popular singers of old did, seems to be going out of fashion more and more. It is Randy Crawford’ s strength. She is willing to interpret any style of song-jazz, soul, rhythm & blues, pop melodies, smooth ballads or funk-as long as she feels connected to the music and lyrics at a certain time. The pieces she selects are transformed by her pure, warm tone and her emotional vibrato, together with their light and breezy jazz and funk arrangements.
After experiencing difficulties with America record companies who didn’t know what to do with an artist who wasn’t limited to either the jazz or R&B domain, Crawford got off to a new start in Europe. There the singer had instant success with the ‘95 album “Naked and True,” released by WEA Germany, the record saw Crawford return to her jazzy soul sound of the 1970s. The album remained in the top album charts for 20 consecutive weeks. Awash in newfound popularity, Crawford hit the road again and toured extensively all over the world.
In 1996, in the wake of Crawford’s second wave of success, Warner Bros. released “Best Of Randy Crawford” with 14 of Crawford’s greatest hits from 1976- 95. Crawford’s comeback won her new fans–not only those who grew up with black music classics of the sixties and seventies, but also younger people into acid jazz, retro funk and groove samplers.
She resided in Europe in the late nineties releasing an album a year, and after her last album “Love Songs” in ’98 took some time off, coming back with a vengeance for her 2006 reunion with Joe Sample on “Feelin’ Good.”
In 2009 her latest collaboration with Joe Sample, “No Regrets,” garnered her a Grammy nomination.