Táta Vega

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Táta Vega
Try My Love (Táta Vega album) cover art.jpg
Try My Love cover
Background information
Birth name Carmen Rosa Vega
Born (1951-10-07) October 7, 1951 (age 62)
Queens, Long Island, New York, United States
Genres R&B, Contemporary gospel
Occupations Singer, actress
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1969–present
Labels Tamla, Qwest, Prophesy
Associated acts Pollution, Earthquire
Website tatavega.com

Táta Vega (born Carmen Rosa Vega,[1] October 7, 1951) is an American vocalist whose career spans theater, film, and a variety of musical genres.

Early life[edit]

Born in the borough of Queens, New York, Vega's parents are Luis Alfredo De La Vega, who served in the United States Air Force, and Rosaura Maltés. As a result of her father's work, the family moved frequently. Before she was even a teenager, the family lived in Panama, Puerto Rico, San Antonio, Texas, and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her father nicknamed her Táta, for that was the first word she uttered as a child.[2] She was trying to say, "Da-da," but "Ta-ta" came out instead. At age 17, she had her name legally changed.[3]

Vega is of Puerto Rican, Taino/Arawak, Dominican, Italian, British, and African descent.

Career[edit]

Vega began her professional singing career in 1963. In California (1969–70) she was cast in the Los Angeles, California production of the Broadway musical "Hair".[2] From there went on to join the group Pollution (Managed by Max Baer Jr.), led by Dobie Gray (who also appeared in the L.A. Cast of Hair). While performing in another group with vocalists Brie Brandt and Laurie Ann Bell at the Troubadour, Berry Gordy was in the audience and signed them on the spot. As Earthquire, the group released a self-titled album produced by Tom Wilson in 1972 on Motown's Natural Resources label. After the album failed to make a commercial impact, Motown dropped the group, but retained her.[3]

After the demise of Earthquire, Vega continued to work steadily in Top 40 bands and occasionally with some former members of Pollution. After hearing her voice on a demo for Jobete, Motown's publishing wing, producer Winston Monseque and Motown executive Iris Gordy, were interested in managing her. At first they were concerned that she sounded too much like Chaka Khan and actually thought it was her singing on "Tell Me Something Good," the Rufus recording of the Stevie Wonder composition.[3]

After getting past the concern about the similarities between her voice and that of Stevie Wonder and now, Chaka Khan, the next challenge was locating her. Finally, Monseque made a visit to her home and the two immediately hit it off. However, when Iris Gordy and Monseque informed Vega that her contract with Motown had been "shelved" and that they wanted to renegotiate her contract, at first she didn't believe them.[3]

Vega went on to release four solo albums on the Tamla record label: Full Speed Ahead (1976), Totally Táta (1977), Try My Love (1978), and Givin' All My Love (1981).

She has had an active career as a lead backing vocalist, working with Russ Taff, Stevie Wonder, Andraé Crouch, Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Michael Jackson, Ray Charles and Madonna, Singing duets with Lou Rawls, Jermaine Jackson, Peter Rivera with Rare Earth and Michael Sembello. She is featured on the 2010 Elton John and Leon Russell CD The Union. She also worked in film, performing the voice of Shug Avery in The Color Purple; she is featured on four songs on the 1986 soundtrack album, one of which, "Miss Celie's Blues (Sister)", was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Song category.

In 1985 Vega was nominated for Best Soul female Gospel Performance at the 27th annual Grammy Awards For her vocals on "Oh, It is Jesus" written by Andrae Crouch.

In 1994, she recorded two Spanish versions of the song "Circle of Life" from Disney's The Lion King, one for Latin America ("El ciclo sin fin") and the other one for Spain ("El ciclo de la vida"). During 1995, she was featured in the Warren Chaney docudrama, America: A Call to Greatness.[4]

In 1998, she signed with Quincy Jones' Qwest Records and released a gospel album, Now I See, which was nominated for a Stellar award.

In 2006, Vega signed with Do Rite Records, releasing a new gospel album This Joy on October 27, 2009.[5]

In 2010 Tata joined Elton John's band as a full-time backing vocalist along with Rose Stone, Lisa Stone and Jean Johnson Witherspoon.

In 2011, her first two solo albums, Full Speed Ahead and Totally Táta (1977) were reissued on CD by soulmusic.com records.[3]

On January 18, 2013, Vega, alongside Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer and Judith Hill, premiered 20 Feet from Stardom, a documentary about background singers, at Robert Redford's annual Sundance Film Festival.[6]

As of late 2013, she is touring with Elton John in the United States as "one of the girls" singing backup and counterpoint on his "The Diving Board" tour.

On February 18, 2014, in the wake of 20 Feet from Stardom's success, her solo albums at Motown were released digitally.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Vega has two daughters, Angelica and Chloe (b. 1990)[8]

Discography[edit]

As group member[edit]

  • 1971: Pollution; Pollution (Prophesy Records)
  • 1972: Pollution; Pollution II (Prophesy)
  • 1972: Earthquire; Earthquire (Natural Resources/Motown)

Solo albums[edit]

Appearances on other albums[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role
2013 20 Feet from Stardom Herself

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006), British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.), London: Guinness World Records Limited, p. 584, ISBN 1-904994-10-5 
  2. ^ a b Abbey, John (November 1976). "Tata Vega:Tata for Now". SoulMusic.com. "Tata was actually christened Carmen Rosa Vega when she was born back on October 7, 1951, in Queens, Long Island. It was her father who dubbed her Tata because they were the first words she learned to utter as a baby." 
  3. ^ a b c d e Nathan, David (2011). Full Speed Ahead (Media notes). Táta Vega. 
  4. ^ America Movie (Musicians)
  5. ^ http://www.doriterecords.com
  6. ^ http://variety.com/2013/film/reviews/twenty-feet-from-stardom-1117949005/
  7. ^ "Tata Vega Reissues Get Digital Release in the US". United States: Universal Music. 11 Feb 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  8. ^ http://www.connectionmagazine.org/archives_old/archives/2000/dec2000/amazinggrace.htm

External links[edit]