It is commonplace for a singing career to begin in a church/gospel setting, it is not commonplace to be take the advice of a singing coach and move from Los Angeles to Kansas City, Missouri to build a singing career. What is even more rare is being discovered by Tears For Fears while having a gig at a hotel bar in Kansas City. This is the career of Oleta Adams.
After the discovery, Adams claimed her first hit in the duet with Tears For Fears in the song “Woman In Chains”, which would be a Top 40 hit in 7 countries around the world, including peaking at No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was off of Tears For Fears’ “The Seeds Of Love” album, and it featured Phil Collins on drums. Check out the track below!
After that song, Oleta Adams would be the touring keyboardist/backup vocalist on Tears For Fears’ 1990 world tour. This led to a solo record deal via Fontana Records where Roland Orzabal of Tears For Fears would co-produce her album “Circle Of One”. The album would peak at No. 1 after many rave reviews in 1991 and Oleta Adams would be nominated for a Grammy for her cover of “Get Here”, originally done by Brenda Russell. The song was immensely popular in the military as it struck a chord with family members who were deployed during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Oleta Adams would achieve another UK Top 40 hit with her cover of “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”, originally done as a duet by Elton John and George Michael.
In 1993, Oleta Adams released her album entitled “Evolution”. Fans began to see her evolve as an artist as she incorporated more r&b and gospel into her music. The album would peak at No. 67 on the Billboard 200, but without a major single, the album would quickly fall off the charts. The album featured covers of “New York State Of Mind” by Billy Joel and “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” by James Taylor. In 1994, Oleta Adams would receive an honorary doctorate degree from Berklee College of Music.
In 1995, Oleta Adams released “Moving On” and recorded a duet with Tears For Fears on their song “Me And My Big Ideas” off of Tears For Fears’ release “Raoul And The Kings Of Spain”. “Moving On” peaked at No. 193 on the Billboard 200 and Fontana Records wouldn’t resign Oleta Adams.
In 1997, Oleta Adams found success in the Gospel and Christian music market with her album release “Come Walk With Me”. “Come Walk With Me” would peak at No. 4 on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart and at No. 10 on the Billboard Contemporary Christian Albums chart. The single “Holy Is The Lamb” would receive a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Recording.
In 1998, Adams would tour with Phil Collins as a guest/backup vocalist on his Big Band Jazz tour. In 2001, Adams would return to her r&b roots with her album “All For Love” and in 2006, Adams would release her Christmas album “Christmas Time With Oleta”. In 2009, she would release “Let’s Stay Here”, and in 2017, she would release “Third Set”. “Third Set features covers of “Don’t Interrupt The Sorrow” by Joni Mitchell and “Blowin’ In The Wind” by Bob Dylan.
Madness To Creation’s Take:
This is why you play shows. You never know when opportunities can strike! I mean, you’re having a gig at a hotel bar and Tears For Fears happens to be walking in and they discover Oleta Adams’ talent. She can absolutely sing and her music is heartfelt. She has seen success in the pop, r&b, jazz, and gospel genres of music. I really wonder what could have been with her if her music was properly marketed and managed. I think she could’ve consistently had hits like someone like Anita Baker or Dionne Warwick. She is an exceptional singer and musician. Very enjoyable listen, Madness To Creation gives Oleta Adams a solid 8 out of 10 stars.
Fans can find Oleta Adams on tour:
Friday, February 23rd- Powell Hall in St. Louis, Missouri
Sunday, February 25th- Ram’s Head On Stage in Annapolis, Maryland
Sunday, March 11th- Yoshi’s Jazz Club in Oakland, California
Saturday, April 21st- Newcastle International Jazz Festival in Newcastle, South Africa
Friday, May 11th- South Orange Performing Arts Center in South Orange, New Jersey
Saturday, May 12th- Jeanne Rimsky Theater at the Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington, New York
For tickets and further information, click here!
Check out Oleta Adams’ official website here!