Question Time

 

Zelma Davis

 

Not only is she cute, talented and brave, but Zelma Davis (of C+C Music Factory fame) is also a real singer and a huge Donna Summer fan... Who could ask for anything more?

 

Before we start, have you anything to declare?

Oh yes, I have a few items. In case you haven't heard, Amber and I had the audacity to cover Donna & Barbra Streisand's NO MORE TEARS (ENOUGH IS ENOUGH). I hope Donna likes our version. Please check us out at http://www.facebook.com/zelmadavis and www.myspace.com/ambersings. Also, I'd like people to know that I'm a real singer, not a model, and I have never lip synched a live performance.

If you weren't a real singer I wouldn't be here, Zelma, believe me! (laughing) As for NO MORE TEARS, I bought the single on iTunes on its first week of release: I'm mad about the Solar City mixes and, strange as it may seem, Bruce Roberts learned about your new recording of the song from me. He loves it.

I'm delighted to hear that Bruce likes our version of NO MORE TEARS. Thank you for sharing it with Bruce, I really appreciate it.

How are you?

I'm wonderful, Sebastiano. Thanks for having me. I love the site.

Coffee, tea or...?

Hazelut coffee.

What are the latest additions on your iPod?

Donna's CRAYONS, Ultra Nate's ALCHEMY: G.S.T. RELOADED, Haki Madhubuti's RISE VISION COMIN, DJ Hen Boogie's A HAPPY PRESENT FROM THE PLANET EARTH, Jeanie Tracy's EVERYBODY UP, and some Million $ Mano remixes.

So tell me about CRAYONS. Is it the kind of record you were expecting from Donna? Which are your favorite tracks?

It's exactly what I expected. Brilliance. Donna is always a trailblazer. I happen to love BE MYSELF AGAIN, STAMP YOUR FEET, and BRING DOWN THE REIGN.

Do you remember falling in love with music or is it a part of you that's always been there?

Music is a part of me that's always been there. I grew up in Liberia, West Africa. There was always music around me, in church, on the radio, both African and foreign artists. My mom brought a lot of music home when she traveled to the U.S.

Don't tell me you first sang in church like Donna! What do you think singing gospel may have taught you?

Singing in church gave me confidence and a bit of flavor.

The first time you heard Donna's voice...

I was nine years old. I knew this is what I wanted to do. Donna was crisp, clear, soothing. I wanted to be her.

So maybe for you she was a role model and not "just" an amazing singer, am I right?

Absolutely. I had never seen a woman so powerful and confident. By the way, Donna's neice Taihisha is also a lovely gal.

Have you ever seen Donna in concert?

Yes, of course. Three times! My favorite show was in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She tore it apart.

Do you remember buying her first record?

I remember my Mom buying Donna's first album for me in the late 70s. I wore the grooves out.

Is there a particular Donna song you wish you had recorded - with her?

Yes. I wish I had recorded HOT STUFF with Donna.

Q Magazine recently compiled a list of the Greatest Duets Of All Time. In spite of its legendary status and worldwide success, Donna and Barbra's NO MORE TEARS wasn't even mentioned. Why do you think it's so hard for some critics to see the undeniable greatness of some disco/dance music?

I don't know. Most of my favorite records are disco/dance. I never understood the backlash against the genre.

Were you nervous before recording your own version of the song?

No, I wasn't nervous at all because I've been singing NO MORE TEARS regularly, at home, for nearly 30 years. I was quite comfortable recording our version.

What is the most appalling thing you've ever listened to?

Homophobic and racial rhetoric.

Is talent a gift or a goal?

Talent is a gift. To increase the level of ones talent can be a goal.

Do you have a favorite movie?

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951) and STYLE WARS (1983).

What is your drug of choice?

Caffeine.

What's on your bedside table?

THE FOUR AGREEMENTS by Don Miguel Ruiz, THE JOYS OF YDDISH by Leo Rosten, and a photo of my girls.

Donna (and Gershwin) not being available, who do you wanna have dinner with?

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president of Liberia.

Liberia must be a wonderful place... Do you go back there every now and then?

I left Liberia in 1982 because of the Civil War. I haven't been back.

What is your favorite color?

Black.

What is it that makes life worth living?

My husband, my daughters, and music.
 

 

 

Question Time: Zelma Davis  2008 Sebastiano Lionti
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