The frontwoman for Detroit’s Laura Rain & The Caesars not surprisingly has been shaped by the music of classic R&B and funk artists. Listen to tracks from all of her picks at Local Spins.
EDITOR’S NOTE: All musicians and singers can trace their inspiration to key recordings that captivated them and influenced their own music. Writer Ross Boissoneau today showcases recordings that changed the world for Detroit soul singer Laura Rain. Scroll down for a Spotify playlist of her picks, including a couple of her latest singles.
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The leader of the Detroit soul-funk band Laura Rain and the Caesars says she never had a choice about pursuing her lifelong vocation. “Music brought me in, pulled like a tow rope. At 3 or 4, I knew it. I didn’t have a choice,” she says with a laugh.
Not that it was easy. “It took me a long time to live up to that calling, with a lot of ups and downs,” she recalls.
She was pulled in two directions at home. Her dad had a stereo in one room where he listened to classical music. When he wasn’t around, she and her mom, a devotee of funk and soul, would listen to music by the likes of Curtis Mayfield and The Gap Band.
She gravitated toward the latter: “Music that made me dance and feel happy. It’s still the same, I’m still that person that wants to dance.”
1. Chaka Khan, “I Feel For You” (1984); Rufus and Chaka Khan, “Tell Me Something Good” (1974) – It’s her voice. If (classical soprano) Leontyne Price sang funk, it would be Chaka. Her range, her timbre, the phrasing – there’s gospel (influences). She’s probably my biggest influence, with her delivery and range.
Listen: “I Feel for You”; “Tell Me Something Good”
2. The Gap Band, “You Dropped A Bomb On Me” from “Gap Band IV” (1982) – I’d hear it on my way to preschool. It had an insistent beat. That’s what was pulling me, like my allusion to a tow rope. Songs like that grabbed me in my gut. As a young child living in Detroit, seeing the way it affected people on the dance floor. It fills your soul, makes you feel good.
Listen: “You Dropped A Bomb On Me”
3. Donna Summer, “She Works Hard For The Money” (1983); Leontyne Price, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” (2012) – Both grabbed me in the gut. The subject matter is different, but (both) have gospel, spiritual (elements). The Detroit gospel scene inspired me heavily. The Donna Summer (recording) is still one of my favorite album covers.
Listen: “She Works Hard for the Money”; “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”
Currently Loving: H.E.R., Silk Sonic – With H.E.R., the natural quality of her voice is beautiful. It almost could be kind of folky. It’s an interesting take on soul. Silk Sonic is retro soul. It’s a really different kind of music coming from the younger generation.
Listen: “H.E.R.’s Greatest Hits”; “After Last Night”
ALBUMS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: Laura Rain’s Playlist on Spotify
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