Oleta Adams

*Although superstar Oleta Adams emerged as a vocal phenom with the British rock group Tears For Fears, it was “Get Here,” a cover of a Brenda Russell composition and a benediction of sorts to US troops who were stationed overseas during the first Gulf War, that really catapulted her to the international stage.

Other standout recordings of Adams’ include the definitive cover of Billy Joel’s “New York State Of Mind,” “Captain Of My Ship” (a reverent tribute to Rosa Parks), and superb gospel (Come Walk With Me) and holiday (Christmas Time With Oleta) albums.

The 62-year-old vocal powerhouse has toured the world along with artists including Luther Vandross, Phil Collins, and Michael Bolton. She has delighted Bay Area audiences a number of times over the years at the annual Colors of Christmas show with Peabo Bryson and the San Francisco Symphony.

Adams’ voice is truly one of the most powerful and identifiable I’ve ever heard. It simultaneously enfolds, comforts, seduces, and ignites. Listen to “I Just Had To Hear Your Voice” from her brilliant 1993 Evolution album and you’ll understand — you’ll feel — what I mean.   And it’s truly wonderful — and increasingly rare — to hear an artist who can deliver the same vocals live that you’ve come to love on record.  Adams is one of those artists.

The four time Grammy-nominee — I can’t tell you how in the world she’s never won one! — is finalizing work on a stunning new album, she’s just released two new singles, and she’s preparing for two solo shows in Oakland on February 21. Trust me: if you can get to Oakland in February, get there if you can!

Adams and I chatted by phone recently, and I had to share highlights of my incredible conversation with one of the music industry’s most gifted artists.

The conversation between Michael P. Coleman and Oleta Adams continues at EURThisNthat.