||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2009)|
Try My Love cover
|Birth name||Carmen Rosa Vega|
October 7, 1951 |
Queens, Long Island, New York, United States
|Genres||R&B, Contemporary gospel|
|Labels||Tamla, Qwest, Prophesy|
|Associated acts||Pollution, Earthquire|
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. She was trying to say, "Da-da," but "Ta-ta" came out instead. At age 17, she had her name legally changed.
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". 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.
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 Stevie Wonder and actually thought it was her singing on "Tell Me Something Good," the Rufus recording of the Stevie Wonder composition.
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.
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 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.
In 2006, Vega signed with Do Rite Records, releasing a new gospel album This Joy on October 27, 2009.
In 2010 Tata joined Elton John's band as a fulltime 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.
On January 18, 2013, Vega, alongside Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer and Judith Hill, premiered Twenty Feet From Stardom, a documentary about the sound that shaped music, at Robert Redford's annual Sundance Film Festival.
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.
Vega has two daughters, Angelica and Chloe (b. 1990)
As group member
- 1971: Pollution; Pollution (Prophesy Records)
- 1972: Pollution; Pollution II (Prophesy)
- 1972: Earthquire; Earthquire (Motown)
- 1976: Full Speed Ahead, Hollywood, Calif.: (Tamla Motown), OCLC: 33057917
- 1977: Totally Táta (id =OCLC: 33057752 ed.), Hollywood, Calif.: (Tamla Motown)
- 1978: Try My Love, Hollywood, Calif.: (Tamla Motown), OCLC: 6634273
- 1980: Givin' All My Love (Tamla Motown)
- 1987: Time's So Right
- 1998: Now I See, Burbank, CA: (Qwest Records), OCLC: 40485132
- 2009: This Joy (Do Rite Records)
Appearances on other albums
- 1979: Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants Stevie Wonder
- 1994: The Gate To The Mind's Eye Thomas Dolby; "Armageddon"
- 1985: The Color Purple (movie soundtrack)
- 1985: Mathematics Melissa Manchester; background vocals
- 1985: Medals Russ Taff; background vocals
- 1985: No Time to Lose Andraé Crouch; "Right Now", "Oh, It Is Jesus"
- 1986: Frontline Koinonia
- 1988: Back to Avalon Kenny Loggins
- 1988: Non Stop Julio Iglesias; background vocals
- 1988: The Real Me Patti Austin; background vocals
- 1990: Love Is the Reason Engelbert Humperdinck
- 1991: Give in to the Rhythm Arthur Baker; "Let There Be Love", "Inspiration"
- 1991: The Comfort Zone Vanessa Williams; background vocals
- 1992: Live! Patti LaBelle; background vocals
- 1993: My World Ray Charles; background vocals
- 1994: A To a Higher Place Tramaine Hawkins; background vocals
- 1994: El Rey Leon [Musica Original de la Pelicula] Hans Zimmer; "Ciclo Sin Fin"
- 1994: Is There Anybody Out There? Gloria Loring; background vocals
- 1994: Mercy Andraé Crouch; background vocals
- 1994: Reach Patti Austin; background vocals
- 1994: The Gate to the Mind's Eye Thomas Dolby; background vocals
- 1995: Sisters: The Story Goes On various artists; "You Don't Have to Know Why"
- 1995: Am I Still in Your Heart Chuck Negron; background vocals
- 1995: Gary Oliver Gary Oliver; background vocals
- 1986: Wildcats [Motion Picture Soundtrack]; "Love Lives Alone"
- 1997: Pray Andraé Crouch
- 1998: The Gift of Christmas Andraé Crouch
- 1999: Tropico/Seven the Hard Way Pat Benatar
- 2001: If We Pray Anointed; background vocals
- 2001: Joy to the World Chuck Negron
- 2002: Life and Love Philip Bailey; background vocals
- 2002: Night of Your Return Fernando Ortega
- 2002: Real Israel & New Breed
- 2002: The Gospel According to Jazz: Chapter 2 Kirk Whalum; "El Todopoderoso"
- 2005: Mighty Wind Andraé Crouch; "I Was Glad"
- 2006: The Lord's Prayer: A Musical Tribute; "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread" (with Sheila E.)
- 2006: Unbreakable Bond GB5; "You Who Reigns"
- 2011: Low Country Blues Gregg Allman; background vocals
- 2011: The Journey Andraé Crouch; "Somebody Told Me About Jesus", "He Has a Plan For Me"
- 2013: Live in Los Angeles Andraé Crouch; background vocals
- Roberts, David (2006), British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.), London: Guinness World Records Limited, p. 584, ISBN 1-904994-10-5
- 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."
- Nathan, David (2011). Full Speed Ahead (Media notes). Táta Vega. http://soulmusic.com.
- America Movie (Musicians)