Lalah Hathaway

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Lalah Hathaway
Birth name Eulaulah Donyll Hathaway
Born (1968-12-16) December 16, 1968 (age 47)
Origin Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Soul, jazz, gospel
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, record producer, arranger, pianist
Instruments Piano, vocals
Years active 1986–present
Labels Virgin/EMI Records (1989–1995)
Mesa Bluemoon (2000–2005)
Stax (2007–2012)
Associated acts Marcus Miller, Rahsaan Patterson, Kirk Whalum, Robert Glasper

Lalah Hathaway is an American vocalist. She is the daughter of soul singer Donny Hathaway and an alumna of Berklee College of Music. In 1990, Lalah Hathaway released her self-titled album. The album's first single was "Heaven Knows", produced by Derek Bramble. The follow-up single was "Baby Don't Cry" was produced by Angela Winbush.

In 1991, Hathaway released her extended play, Night & Day in Japan. A Moment was released in 1994, debuting at #34 on the Top R&B albums chart. The lead single "Let Me Love You" charted on the Hot R&B charts at #37. In 1999, Lalah Hathaway collaborated with Joe Sample and released her third album The Song Lives On. After a five-year hiatus, Hathaway returned with her fourth album Outrun the Sky. The single "Forever, For Always, For Love" peaked #1 on the Hot Adult R&B Airplay.

In 2007, Hathaway signed to Stax Records and in 2008 released her fifth album Self Portrait. It was released on June 3, 2008 in the United States, debuted at #63 on the Billboard's Hot 200 and reached the top ten on the Top R&B albums chart, making this album, Hathaway's most successful album to date. She received a Best Female R&B Vocal Performance Grammy Award nomination for "That Was Then". She went on to win the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance along with Snarky Puppy for "Something" in 2014. On February 8, 2015, she won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Performance along with Robert Glasper and Malcolm-Jamal Warner for "Jesus Children".

Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Lalah Hathaway was born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 16, 1968. Hathaway is the daughter of Donny Hathaway, a soul singer, and Eulaulah Hathaway, an accomplished musician. In 1979, Hathaway lost her father, Donny Hathaway at the age of ten. He had plunged fifteen floors from a New York hotel. His body did not have any indication of struggle, and the glass from the window in Hathaway's room had been removed; investigators determined Hathaway had committed suicide.

The Chicago native first put pen to paper, "with the music," as a 10th grader. In 1989, Hathaway signed to Virgin Records and released her first song "Inside the Beat", which was released as a promo single. Later, as a student at Berklee College of Music, she recorded her self-titled debut in 1990.

Recording career[edit]

Lalah Hathaway and A Moment (1990–95)[edit]

In 1990, Lalah Hathaway released her self-titled debut album. The album debuted at #191 on the Billboard Hot 200 and #18 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.[1] The album's lead single Heaven Knows became a top ten single peaking at #3 on the Hot R&B charts. The album's second single "Baby Don't Cry" only charted at #18 on the Hot R&B charts. The follow-up single "I'm Coming Back" was less successful.The album's final single "It's Somethin'" debuted at #21 on the Hot R&B charts. In 1991, Hathaway released an EP entitled Night & Day. The EP was only released in Japan but the single "Night & Day" was released in America. "Night & Day"' debuted at #110 on the Hot R&B charts. In 1992, Hathaway appeared on Grover Washington's album "Next Exit". The song, "Love Like This", which featured vocals from Lalah Hathaway, was chosen to be the lead single off the album. The single charted at #31 on the Hot R&B charts.

In 1994, Hathaway followed up her success with her second album, A Moment, which debuted at #34 on the Top R&B albums chart and #23 on the Heatseekers chart.[1] The release of her second album saw Hathaway embracing an even more progressive sound as producer Brian Alexander Morgan was enlisted for her upbeat lead single "Let Me Love You", which debuted at the #37 on the Hot R&B charts. Later that year, the songs "Separate Ways" and "Family Affair" were released as singles, although neither charted. The album did not sell as well as her first release and eventually Hathaway left Virgin.

The Song Lives On (1998–2000)[edit]

She continued working with many other established artists, including Take 6, Mary J. Blige, The Winans, and Marcus Miller, writing, producing and doing background vocals. In 1999, Hathaway joined GRP Records and collaborated with jazz legend Joe Sample on the album The Song Lives On, which topped the jazz charts at #2.[1] The album became Hathaway's second debut on Billboard′s Hot 200 and later charted on Top R&B album chart.[1] The single "When Your Life Was Low" charted only on the Hot R&B charts at #118. The album's second single "Fever" failed to chart.

The Song Lives On went on to become one of Hathaway and Joe Sample's most successful album to chart. In response to the album's success, Hathaway and Sample were honored with Billboard/BET on Jazz Award for "Mainstream Jazz Album".[2]

Outrun the Sky (2003–2006)[edit]

In 2003, Lalah Hathaway appeared alongside Sanctuary, Pyramid, Mesa, and Blue Moon Records. In 2004, Hathaway released a cover version of Luther Vandross's song "Forever, For Always, For Love". The song later appeared on the all-star tribute album "Forever, For Always, For Luther" and on Hathaway's fourth album Outrun the Sky. The song was released the lead single and peaked #1 on the Adult R&B charts. Forever, For Always, For Love became Hathaway's first single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, charting at #112 and #37 on the Hot R&B charts. Hathaway's first solo album in five years featured production from Rex Rideout, Mike City, and Chris Parks.[3] The album's second single "Better and Better" peaked #121 on the Hot R&B charts.

Also in 2004, Hathaway was featured on Donald Lawrence's debut solo album I Speak Life as a lead vocalist on "Don't Forget to Remember". In 2005, Hathaway was seen on the international Daughters of Soul tour along with Sandra St. Victor, Nona Hendryx, Indira Khan, Simone, and Joyce Kennedy.[4] Continuing her forays into the gospel realm, she could be found on Israel and New Breed's 2006 Chr*stmas album A Timeless Chr*stmas, which also featured Marcus Miller.

Stax and Self Portrait (2007–09)[edit]

The recently re-launched Stax Records label had announced signing Hathaway. Hathaway stated, "The foundation of soul music is rooted in Stax Records. Working with Maurice White on the Interpretations project was more than special to me. There is no higher compliment than to be signed to a label whose music is timeless. I'm proud to carry the torch that will continue to bring quality soul music to a new audience."[5]

Her first release from Stax was the single "Love's Holiday," from the Earth, Wind & Fire tribute album Interpretations.[6] In April 2008, Hathaway released her lead single "Let Go", which debuted at #51 on the Hot R&B charts and #16 on the Hot Adult R&B charts. In June 2008, Hathaway's debut for Stax Records, Self Portrait was released. Collaborating again with producer Rex Rideout on much of the album and working with such artists as Rahsaan Patterson and Sandra St. Victor, Self Portrait became her most successful album to date, debuting at #6 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #63 on the Billboard's Hot 200. The album sold over 9,400 copies in the first week.[1][7]

After the release of Self Portrait, Hathaway went on tour, which began in July 2008.[8] The Self Portrait Tour was singer Lalah Hathaway's second solo concert tour, intended to showcase songs from her debut solo album, Self Portrait. The concert tour contained ten tour dates in America and a collection of songs from her previous albums, Lalah Hathaway and Outrun the Sky, and few songs from her present album, Self Portrait. The tour only reached America. In late 2008, "That Was Then" was released as the album's second single. The single debut at #105 on the Hot R&B charts and #32 on the Hot Adult R&B Airplay.[9]

In November 2008, Hathaway joined Will Downing and Gerald Albright for the Soulful Chr*stmas Tour. The tour, which kicked off on November 28 at the Detroit Opera House, appeared in the places of Washington, D.C., Memphis, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Atlanta.[10] In January 2009, Hathaway appeared on BETJ in an interview and performed before an audience. Lalah Hathaway continued to support the album and she is currently schedule to perform at the Capital Jazz Festival in Columbia, MD, Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, LA, and Circle of Promise, which took place in July 2009.[11] In December 2009 she won the Song of the Year award in the SoulTracks Readers' Choice Award for her duet with DC singer Eric Roberson, "Dealing."[12]

Where It All Begins (2011)[edit]

On August 14, 2011, Lalah Hathaway took to her Twitter account to release a free download of "If You Want To",[13][14] the debut single from her sixth studio album Where It All Begins releasing October 18, 2011.[15]

Musical style and image[edit]

Music and voice[edit]

Hathaway, an alto and contralto, has always been identified as the eldest daughter of her father Donny Hathaway. Hathaway's longest singing note held for 17 seconds in the performance of "Forever, For Always, For Love". In many reviews, Lalah is often compared to her father and reviewed to be continuing his vocal style. Lalah has often been criticized[who?] for not covering any of her father's songs, although she has appeared on others' recorded covers, such as Take 6's rendition of "Someday We'll All Be Free". Singer Natalie Cole (herself having been noted for decades-long resistance to recording her father Nat "King" Cole's music) actually stated that Lalah should herself cover at least one song, however, Hathaway replied that she feels she does not need to. Hathaway also mentioned during the recording process of her fifth studio album that she does not want to fit into the music industry's current music. She stated, "I don't necessarily want to fit into what's happening now, but I want to stand with it, doing my own thing. I would really love it if people need the record. I put a lot of myself into this album, so I hope people can hear me and understand who I am."[16]

Although she has created a space for herself, it is not surprising that Hathaway remains connected to her late father and his classic sound. Lalah Hathaway stated: "I am his daughter and that’s the truth of who I am, every day. When I was 15, and then, 20, I didn’t get why people were asking me how I felt about him and his music. But when I turned 25, I began to understand. Like my father, I want to leave a legacy of music that makes people really feel something, whether it be happiness, sadness, grief or heartache. I also want them to appreciate my humor which I know can be difficult to interpret in a song."[16]

Songwriting and producing[edit]

Between album projects, Hathaway, who has recorded collaborations with Marcus Miller, Meshell Ndegéocello, and Mary J. Blige, keeps her creativity nourished by taking to the global stage and contributing her voice to Daughters of Soul Tour, a musical mélange founded by comrade Sandra St. Victor, and featuring Nona Hendryx, Joyce Kennedy as well as Indira and Simone, daughters of Chaka Khan and Nina Simone.[16]

While it might seem that "On Your Own" from Self Portrait, which re-teams her with Rex Rideout and Rahsaan Patterson, is inspired by a past heartbreak, in fact, the idea for the song came to her in a dream. While Lalah Hathaway is often known for singing down tempo songs, during the period of 2004 and 2008, Hathaway has done mid-tempo songs such as "Let Go", "Let Me Love You", and "Better and Better". Keeping in step with the theme of her family, Hathaway often journeys back to her childhood with "Little Girl", which she co-produced with Rex Rideout, Rahsaan Patterson, and Sandra St. Victor.[16]


On stage, Hathaway performs the songs longer than the album version with new arrangements. In concert, the stage mainly consists of Lalah Hathaway, the back-up singers, and the band. Often at audience's request, the vocals would be turned higher than band. Hathaway's band would often consist of a keyboardist, guitarist, bassist, and drummer. Most songs would last over approximately five minutes. Dawn! E. Robinson of attended a Hathaway in concert and reviewed stating, "The sound in the house was strange – the band was really too loud all evening. Even when the sound guy turned LALAH's vocals up (at the audience's request) the band got louder. I got the impression that the sound onstage was good though, because none of the singers appeared to be over-singing."[17] Hathaway appeared with her band on Prince's Welcome to America opening concert at the Izod Center, December 15, 2010.

Other ventures[edit]


Lalah Hathaway is one of the National Ambassadors for the Circle of Promise. Launched in October 2007, the campaign was created by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to educate, empower and mobilize the African-American community in the fight against breast cancer.

"The rate of Black women and girls diagnosed with breast cancer is rising at an alarming rate," said Hathaway. "We are fighting a common enemy. Knowledge and having a take-charge mindset and attitude are critical weapons in the fight against this deadly disease. I became active because I want to be an ambassador of change. If I tell seven of my friends and they tell seven of their friends and so on, the circle will continue to expand and we'll create a chorus of voices within the African-American community to eradicate breast cancer. I truly believe that this is a goal we can achieve together." The Circle of Promise is nationally represented by several phenomenal African American women. Hathaway has raised money on her tours and record sales to help find a cure for women with breast cancer. She has also influenced women to get tested and tell family members to be aware of the cancer.[18]



Year Album Peak positions
US U.S. R&B U.S. Jazz Heatseekers Comprehensive Albums
1990 Lalah Hathaway
  • 1st studio album
  • Released: October 20, 1990
  • Label: Virgin
191 18 - - -
1994 A Moment
  • 2nd studio album
  • Released: May 31, 1994
  • Label: Virgin
- 40 - 23 -
1999 The Song Lives On
  • 3rd studio album (collaborate with Joe Sample)
  • Released: April 20, 1999
  • Label: PRA / GRP
196 53 2 - -
2004 Outrun the Sky
  • 4th studio album
  • Released: September 24, 2004
  • Label: Mesa/Bluemoon
- 34 - 18 -
2008 Self Portrait
  • 5th studio album
  • Released: June 3, 2008
  • Label: Stax
63 6 - - 67
2011 Where It All Begins
  • 6th studio album
  • Released: October 18, 2011
  • Label: Stax
32 7 - - -
2015 Lalah Hathaway Live
  • 1st live album
  • Released: October 30, 2015
  • Label: Hathaway Entertainment/eOne Music
33 2 - - -


Year Title Chart positions Album
US U.S. R&B US R&B Adult Airplay US Dance UK[19]
1987 "Inside the Beat" - - - - - -
1990 "Heaven Knows" - 3 - 35 66 Lalah Hathaway
"Baby Don't Cry" - 18 - - 54
1991 "I'm Coming Back" - 54 - - -
"Something" - 21 - - -
"Night & Day" - 110 - - - Night & Day EP
"Family Affair" (BEF feat. Lalah Hathaway) - - - - 37 -
1992 "Love Like This" (Grover Washington feat. Lalah Hathaway) - 31 - - - Love Like This
1994 "Let Me Love You" - 37 - - - A Moment
"Separate Ways" - - - - -
"Anyone Can Be A Hero" - - - - - Blankman (Soundtrack)
1999 "When Your Life Was Low" - 118 - - - The Song Lives On
"Fever" - - - - -
2004 "Forever, For Always, For Love" 112 37 1 - - Outrun The Sky
"Better and Better" - 121 - - -
2005 "If U Ever" - - - - -
"Boston" - - - - -
2007 "Love's Holiday" - - - - - Interpretations: Celebrating the Music of Earth, Wind, Fire
2008 "Let Go" - 51 16 24 - Self Portrait
"That Was Then" - 105 32 - -
2011 "If You Want To" - 72 - - - Where It All Begins
"You Were Meant For Me" - 84 - - -

Album appearances[edit]

Year Song Album
1986 "Flying Easy" Pete Escovedo feat. Lalah Hathaway Flying South
1992 "Love Like This" Grover Washington Jr. feat. Lalah Hathaway Next Exit
1993 "It's Not Heaven If You're Not There" The Winans feat. Lalah Hathaway All Out
1993 "Round Midnight" Marcus Miller feat. Lalah Hathaway The Sun Don't Lie
1994 "I Surrender" Gerald Albright feat. Lalah Hathaway Smooth
1996 "One More Chance" Art Porter feat. Lalah Hathaway Lay Your Hands on Me
1996 "Summer Breeze" Wayman Tisdale feat. Lalah Hathaway In The Zone
1998 "My Only" Wayman Tisdale feat. Lalah Hathaway Decisions
1998 "I Just Wanna Stop" Chris Minh Doky feat. Lalah Hathaway Minh
1998 "24/7" Bread and Butter feat. Lalah Hathaway & Roy Hargrove The Adventures of Bread and Butter, Vol. 1
1998 "Summertime" Marcus Miller feat. Lalah Hathaway Live & More
1999 "All I Ask of You" Ricky Peterson feat. Lalah Hathaway Souvenir
1999 "When I'm with You" David Sanborn feat. Lalah Hathaway & Eric Benet Inside
1999 "I Want You" John Tropea feat. Lalah Hathaway A Simple Way to Say.. I Love You
2000 "A Simple Song" Alex Bugnon feat. Lalah Hathaway As Promised
2002 "Earth" Me'shell NdegeOcello feat. Lalah Hathaway Cookie: The Anthropological
2002 "Someday We'll All Be Free" Take 6 feat. Lalah Hathaway Beautiful World
2003 "You've Got a Friend" Ken Hirai feat. Lalah Hathaway Ken's Bar
2003 "I Loves You Porgy," "Burning Down the House," "When Your Life Was Low," "People Make the World Go Round," "Killing Me Softly" (Marcus Miller feat. Lalah Hathaway) The Ozell Tapes: The Official Bootleg
2004 "Don't Forget to Remember" Donald Lawrence feat. Lalah Hathaway & Ramsey Lewis I Speak Life
2005 "La Villette" Marcus Miller feat. Lalah Hathaway Silver Rain
2005 "Heaven" Me'Shell NdegeOcello feat. Lalah Hathaway The Spirit Music Jamia: Dance of the Infidel
2006 "Silent Nocturne"/"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"(Israel & New Breed feat. Lalah Hathaway A Timeless Christmas
2007 "Heaven" Mike City feat. Lalah Hathaway We Are Family 2007: Artists & Friends for Hurricane Relief
2007 "Love's Holiday" feat. Lalah Hathaway Interpretations: Celebrating the Music of Earth, Wind & Fire
2007 "Thought You Should Know" Carl Thomas feat. Lalah Hathaway So Much Better
2008 "Ooh" Marcus Miller feat. Lalah Hathaway Marcus
2008 "Lost Without You (Spoken Words)" Marcus Miller feat. Taraji P. Henson and Lalah Hathaway Marcus
2009 "Dealing" Eric Roberson feat. Lalah Hathaway Music Fan First
2010 "It's What I Do" Kirk Whalum feat. Lalah Hathaway The Gospel According to Jazz Chapter 3
2010 "It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World" Mindi Abair feat. Lalah Hathaway In Hi-Fi Stereo
2010 "You Had to Know" Kirk Whalum feat. Lalah Hathaway Everything Is Everything: The Music of Donny Hathaway
2010 "Come over" Natalie Stewart feat. Lalah Hathaway Floetic Soul
2012 "Endangered Species" Esperanza Spalding feat. Lalah Hathaway Radio Music Society
2012 "My Worship" John P. Kee feat. Frank McComb, PJ Morton, Lalah Hathaway, Patrick Dopson, Maranda Curtis Willis, Lil' Mo, Le'Andria Johnson, Dathan Thigpen, Zacardi Cortez, Kim Burrell, Lowell Pye, Glenn Jones & Shelia Lakin Life and Favor
2012 "Cherish the Day" Robert Glasper feat. Lalah Hathaway Black Radio
2013 "Something" Snarky Puppy feat. Lalah Hathaway Family Dinner - Volume One
2013 "Ultimate Relationship" Donald Lawrence feat. Lalah Hathaway 20 Year Celebration, Vol. 1: Best for Last
2013 "Jesus Children" Robert Glasper Experiment feat. Lalah Hathaway Black Radio 2
2014 "Sweet Baby" Al Jarreau feat. Lalah Hathaway My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke
2015 "We Are Young, Gifted & Black" Common feat. Lalah Hathaway Nina Revisited...A Tribute to Nina Simone
2015 "Momma" Kendrick Lamar (backing vocals by and sample of Lalah Hathaway) To Pimp A Butterfly
2015 "Complexion (A Zulu Love)" Kendrick Lamar (backing vocals by Lalah Hathaway) To Pimp A Butterfly
2015 "The Blacker the Berry" Kendrick Lamar (backing vocals by Lalah Hathaway) To Pimp A Butterfly
2015 "This Too Will Pass" Terri Lyne Carrington feat. Lalah Hathaway The Mosaic Project: Love and Soul
2015 "When" Kirk Franklin feat. Kim Burrell and Lalah Hathaway Losing My Religion

Soundtrack appearances[edit]

Year Song Album
1994 "Anyone Can Be a Hero" Blankman Soundtrack
1996 "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (Lalah Hathaway, Marcus Miller, Joshua Redman) World Christmas (Special Olympics)
1998 "On My Own" (Lalah Hathaway feat. Warren Wiebe) Burt Bacharach... Applause "The Look of Love"
1999 "Looking Back on Your Love" ELT Songs from L.A. (VA)
2000 "All This Time" (Lalah Hathaway feat. Marcus Miller) Ladies Man Soundtrack
2003 "My Love (Holy Night)" Cover Morning Musume: Hello Project in International
2010 "Sun" For Colored Girls Soundtrack

Music videos[edit]

  • "Heaven Knows"
  • "Baby Don't Cry"
  • "Something"
  • "Love Like This" (Grover Washington feat. Lalah Hathaway)
  • "Let Me Love You"
  • "Family Affair"
  • "Let Go"
  • "Dealing" (Eric Roberson feat. Lalah Hathaway)
  • "Nights (Feel Like Gettin' Down)" (Sy Smith feat. Rahsaan Patterson)
  • "Little Ghetto Boy" 2015

Concert DVDs[edit]

  • The Gospel According to Jazz Chapter 3 DVD (Kirk Whalum feat. Lalah Hathaway et al.) includes the 2011 Grammy winning song "It's What I Do"


  • Billboard/BET on Jazz Awards
    • 1999 – Mainstream Jazz Album "The Song Lives On" – Won
  • Grammys
    • 2014 – Best R&B Performance "Something w/ Snarky Puppy" – Won
    • 2015 – Best Traditional R&B Performance "Jesus Children w/ Robert Glasper Experiment & Malcolm-Jamal Warner" – Won


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  3. ^ "eJams: Lalah Hathaway". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  4. ^ Shelah Moody (October 20, 2005). "Lalah Hathaway grateful for her father's gifts". San Francisco Chronicle. 
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  9. ^ "Lalah Hathaway - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  10. ^ "Will Downing, Lalah, Gerald to Headline Soulful Christmas tour | SoulTracks - Soul Music Biographies, News and Reviews". SoulTracks. Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
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  19. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 246. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]