In the new documentary “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” we hear the stories of singers that everyone’s heard whether they know their names or not. The doc showcases background singers, those vocalists, most often women, who support the star in front. From the Ikettes to the Raelettes to countless women whose names are not household ones, “Twenty Feet From Stardom” details their often challenging lives close to but not completely in the spotlight.
One of the most compelling stories in the doc is that of Brooklyn-born background singer Lisa Fischer, who sang for Luther Vandross and still works with the Rolling Stones. At 54, She is one of music’s best-known background singers and what makes her story unique is that she’s quite happy in that place. Despite winning a Grammy for her solo hit “How Can I Ease The Pain” in 1992, unlike Merry Clayton, Darlene Love and Judith Hill, also profiled, Fischer is content in the background.
“It’s an individual walk. A lot of background singers just really enjoy the blend and enjoy being in the room with other singers. I love it. Even as a child before I started singing for money, I just loved listening to my parent’s records and loved the background,” she told the Tom Joyner Morning Show. “I’d listen to it and figure out the harmonies and I just loved how they would sing together. I don’t know what that was about for me, but it was perfection for me….I don’t like being by myself.“ Clayton, who was a Raelette and Darlene Love, a part of Phil Spector’s famed Wall of Sound are both shown in their decades-long struggles to achieve solo stardom. Love has the most success, re-booting her solo career in her 40’s after a break with Spector and starring as Danny Glover’s wife in the popular “Lethal Weapon” movies.
Judith Hill, who sang with Michael Jackson, among others, was further frustrated in her solo aspirations when she was dismissed from “The Voice.” Hill’s early departure from the show led to judge Adam Levine famously saying “I hate this country.” It is Fischer, though, whose stunning talent if largely unheralded outside of music industry inner circles, is at the center of “Twenty Feet From Stardom.” There is a breathtaking sequence where she’s just scatting and while it underscores how truly gifted a vocalist she is, Fischer has no ambition beyond supporting other singers. She likes her privacy and anonymity although the festival success and release of “Twenty Feet From Stardom” is likely to threaten that.
“Twenty Feet From Stardom” opens in theaters on Friday, June 14th.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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