The present video Doodle, made by Atlanta-based guest artist Sam Bass, celebrates the 70th birthday of multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer Luther Vandross—the “Velvet Voice” whose silky-smooth tenor ballads romanced generations with inimitable style and grace.
Born on this day in 1951 in New York City, Luther Ronzoni Vandross grew up inspired by soul music giants such as Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, and Dionne Warwick. At five years old, he sharp interest in singing, regularly utilizing the coin-operated recording corners found in stores sprinkled throughout New York City at the time.
He genuinely realized music was his destiny after a Warwick performance blew him away at 13—so he started to compose his own songs. After high school, Vandross showcased his tunes at Amateur Night at Harlem’s Apollo Theater.
In spite of the fact that he always lost in front of the pack, he joined the theater’s performing arts group “Listen My Brother Revue,” who sang on the 1969 pilot episode of the children’s show “Sesame Street” and gave Vandross his first taste of far widespread exposure.
Vandross’ next big break came when his original composition “Everybody Rejoice” was featured in “The Wiz,” a 1974 Broadway musical later adjusted into an Academy Award-winning film.
From that point, Vandross launched himself into many shared tasks with craftsmen like David Bowie, Ringo Starr, Whitney Houston, and Ben E. Ruler. His talent for irresistible snares additionally landed him gigs singing commercial jingles for Juicy Fruit and a few other significant brands.
In 1981, Vandross launched his solo career and took creative control to compose, write, and produce his debut studio album “Never Too Much”— the soundtrack of the present Doodle and the first of 14 studio albums that went either platinum or multi-platinum! An fine-tuned maestro of performance, Vandross took his passionate songs on world-wide tours, where he emptied his style into all parts of live production, from the design of background singers sparkling gowns to the mind-set setting stage lights.
In 1989, Vandross’s devotion to the live experience set a international milestone when he became the first male artist to sell out 10 consecutive shows at London’s Wembley Arena.
Vandross’ successful music career culminated in eight Grammy Awards (out of 33 nominations), a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a 1997 Super Bowl half-time show performance, and eight Billboard Top 10 albums.
Glad birthday, Luther Vandross! The joy your music brings to the world is never excessively.