When it comes to African American music legends, I think many people will agree with me when I say Luther Vandross is one of the greats. Luther’s music is timeless, and he will forever be one of my favorite singers.
Thanks to my parents’ great love for R&B and Soul music, Luther Vandross was introduced to me when I was a young girl. If This World Were Mine, A House is Not a Home, Here and Now, and Endless Love are just a few of my favorite Luther songs. There are so many Luther Vandross’ songs that I love that my list would actually be much longer! Do you have a favorite Luther song?
Today would have been Luther Vandross’ 67th birthday. (Happy Birthday, Luther!) In honor of the great Luther Vandross, it only seems fitting to share with you an interview I did with Grammy-nominated R&B singer and American Idol Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard.
If you’re a big American Idol fan like I am, you will remember Ruben won the second season of American Idol in 2003. It was during his time on American Idol that R&B legend Gladys Knight nicknamed Ruben “the Velvet Teddy Bear”.
Now Ruben is working on a very special project – a tribute to Luther Vandross! During our phone interview, I asked Ruben why did he decide to record his Luther Vandross tribute album. Ruben said, “I’ve been compared to Luther Vandross for so long. I felt it was time to do a full project paying tribute to him.”
The full project Ruben speaks of is his latest album Ruben Sings Luther, and his concert tour Always and Forever: An Evening of Luther Vandross. Ruben told me personally selected the songs for the Luther Vandross tribute album.
Here’s the list of Luther Vandross songs Ruben covers on his new album:
Always and Forever
Never Too Much
Don’t You Know That
Bad Boy Having A Party
Love Won’t Let Me Wait
Here and Now
Till My Baby Comes Home
A House Is Not A Home
Power of Love
Ruben told me his favorite song on the album is “Don’t You Know That” saying the song is a “Luther Vandross fan favorite.”
Always & Forever: An Evening of Luther Vandross
Ruben is currently on tour right now enchanting fans with a night of singing Luther Vandross’ songs. The Always & Forever: An Evening of Luther Vandross is a 25-city tour and it’s keeping Ruben pretty busy this spring. I took a peek at Ruben’s tour schedule and some of his shows are back-to-back. For instance, this weekend Ruben, is scheduled to perform in Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana.
“I know you’re really busy on your tour. Do you get much down time while you’re touring?” I asked Ruben. “Not on this one,” he told me. Ruben said he does his best to reserve time for self-care with his busy tour schedule.
Despite the busy tour schedule, Ruben told me the Always and Forever tour is going great and fans can expect “to have a great time. There’s going to be some great music, and it’s just a fun night.”
The Importance of Covering Legendary Artists
It is important for contemporary artists like Ruben Studdard to cover legendary singers such as Luther Vandross. Covering artists like Whitney Houston, Prince, and Marvin Gaye will introduce the younger generation to music legends.
Ruben agreed with me adding, “Luther’s biggest song, probably in his career, was A House Is Not A Home [which is also] a Dionne Warwick song.”
Many original songs have been remade by artists – Whitney Houston recorded Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You – and it helps keep the music alive. It teaches the next generation of musicians how to create timeless music.
What’s next for Ruben Studdard? Ruben told me after he finishes his Always & Forever tour, he will probably hit the studio and begin working on his next album.
We wish you all the best, Ruben!
For more information about the Always & Forever: An Evening of Luther Vandross, you can check out the latest tour dates and Ruben Studdard news here.
Special thanks to Ruben Studdard for taking the time to interview for Good Life Detroit!
Feature image by Davenport Design