Hiatus over for singer Heather Headley
By Jennifer Bogar
By Jennifer Bogar
NEW YORK — Stars rarely cede the spotlight, even briefly.
But after Heather Headley made the successful (and rare) leap from Broadway luminary to pop star — her 2002 album, "This Is Who I Am," was a best-seller that made her a fixture on R&B adult-contemporary radio and garnered her a Grammy nomination — she took time off to enjoy her personal life. Specifically, her new marriage to former New York Jets player Brian Musso.
The recess left her and her fans hungry for more. Her follow-up disc, "In My Mind," hit the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart at No. 5 its first week, and she's gearing up for a tour with fellow R&B singers Anthony Hamilton and Van Hunt.
AP: What was the inspiration behind this album?
Headley: I wanted it to be just great songs. And I think for me ... I was missing songs. You have the Jill Scotts, the India.Aries, the Alicia Keys, and Mary J. Blige and Mariah, but it was a time in there that I'd turn the radio on and I was like, I wanna hear a song. So we kinda went in and said we want big songs. We want to sing ballads about love and, you know, just relationships. So we just kind of got together with some great people and just went from there.
AP: Have you experienced what you sing about in the song "In My Mind"?
Headley: Yeah. (It's) like being married to somebody for a while and that being your only love, your first love, and who you gave yourself to, and then he divorces you and goes on with another woman and in your mind, it's like, "That was my soulmate, we were supposed to live forever, we were supposed to die together."
AP: During your hiatus, were you ever influenced by what was already out there before you completed this album?
Headley: Yeah, I think you get that way and there are times that the record company wants certain things. Radio is a different thing. Radio changes and certain things get play and you're like, Where do I fit in? You know, I had a lot of days that I'm like, I don't know what to do because I was just like I don't fit in. There's no way they're going to play what I want to sing on the radio. But (now I think): To thine own self be true, and don't compromise. ... I think (fans would) say, "What is Heather thinking?" if you go sing some crazy song.
AP: You moved to the United States from Trinidad at age 15, how was the transition?
Headley: I call it a culture slap. I feel there's a different respect value in Trinidad. If a teacher walks in the room, you stand up. You say, 'Yes, Miss. Yes, Sir.' The village raises you, you have this respect. I'm glad that I learned my foundation there, and I have that sense of culture and sense of island.
AP: Any more Broadway in the future?
Headley: I hope so. We're looking at some scripts right now. 'Aida' (for which she won her Tony), needless to say, was really, really good to me. Disney spoiled me. I loved the cast, I loved everybody I worked with, I loved doing it. So I think the next show that I do, I want to be able to latch on to it as much as I did 'Aida.' So I'm just trying to make sure it's the right part.