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Thelma Houston

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Leland MS, United States (1966 – present)

Thelma Houston is a singer-songwriter and actress. She has released records on Capitol and ABC/Dunhill.

It was a chance meeting in the early 1970’s with Motown Records which lead to a deal on the Motown subsidiary Mo-West Records. Like her past work, critics loved it but lack of promotion held her back from becoming a huge star, even though people were comparing her as the next Aretha Franklin.

Constant touring and background vocal work kept the money coming in, but she remained strong. While in California, she met with a series of session musicians, which would lead to an album made for the then-new audiophile market. This album, I’ve Got The Music In Me, was released by the new Sheffield Lab label. The album would become the label’s best seller, and everyone wanted to know who that voice belonged to.

This would lead to her biggest hit and the song she is known for, a cover of “Don’t Leave Me This Way”. The song itself would become a disco staple, up there with “Last Dance” and “Staying Alive”. She continued to record long after her biggest hit, and she still performs to this day.

Ms. Houston won the Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, the same year (1976) that many industry insiders believe that Diana Ross would / could / should have won for “Love Hangover”. Ironically, both songs were MOTOWN records produced by the same production team.

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