Melba Moore is not only a Legendary Icon, she is a phenomenon. Most artists today may last through one album but Melba Moore has continued to shine after more than four decades of outstanding performances and continues to dominate the stage with her perfectly pitched tone whether it be singing or acting.
Gumbumber.com had the distinct pleasure to do a one on one exclusive interview with Melba Moore as she dished on her life in the music industry and her love of God.
Listen to what Melba had to say during her Exclusive Interview:
GB- In your opinion, what is the most difficult part of being in the entertainment business?
Melba Moore- That’s a good question, but it depends on if it’s in the beginning stage, the middle or end or your career. If I look at it in my perspective, I’ve been in the business for a long time and I’m an artist of longevity which brings on its own challenges. I say staying relevant and being aware of what’s going on. How the business part has changed, the business changes so much, you can’t just jump on the bandwagon. Mainly you have to try to be in control of your own destiny. You have to figure out how the record industry works and how you can get into it. Years ago if you wanted to do theater, you would have to show them your credentials, if they are too young to know who you are you can now you can just say Google me.
GB- If you had to choose a different career path besides entertainment, what would that be?
Melba Moore- I would probably be a Nun.
GB- What advice would you give to new artists trying to break in the industry?
Melba Moore- Again I would ask what stage you’re in; you have to go where there is training, where there is work, you may have to audition if that’s the case; you may want to try being an intern, get as much education and formal training you can get; you need the basic standard of education. Get as much experience as you can get, don’t give your talents away. Before getting a manager, learn how to book yourself. Do as much work you can do on your own. If your very young, try to get the support of your family, look at outreach programs, Also look at the church community, it’s their job to help you no matter what stage you’re in, If they don’t have an arts program make them start one like I said that is their job.
GB- What made you use your middle name Melba as opposed to your first name Beatrice?
Melba Moore– My mother’s name was Melba and I was named after her. She was also a singer which made me want to sing too.
GB- Does your music carry a particular message or is it meant for pure pleasure?
Melba Moore- Definitely a message. The music part with the message puts you in a certain mood. It changes the environment and puts you in a certain place emotionally and psychologically. The lyrics shoot fit that, the lyrics tell a story especially if it’s something interesting. I don’t necessarily have to relate to it unless it’s violent or negative; I don’t like violent music because I don’t want that in my system, I don’t want to hear it. If I’m singing a message, I want to inspire somebody. I want them to listen to the sound of my voice; I have worked very hard to get the proper tone and everything. I like music that put you in a mood that’s soothing, joyful, something that is good for them. The Lyrics are extremely important as well.
GB- What challenges have you had to face in your chosen career?
Melba Moore- Staying Alive!!! Do you remember that song? Staying alive- I can’t begin to tell you all the challenges, there were many of them which were very very important; I don’t want to just survive, I want to strive. There was difficulty making money and paying my bills, I couldn’t drive around in a limousine so I would walk the streets in New York or take the subway but I have pretty legs from all that walking. I had to have a knee and hip replacement so the walking became therapy and I made it my daily work out. I’m real cute now. ( Laughter).
GB- Can you talk about a fan encounter that completely took you by surprise?
Melba Moore- I was walking down 125th street one day and one of my fans, a tall heavy set girl, she saw me but I didn’t see her, there was a pedway in the middle of the street and I felt somebody pick me up in their arms and I was way over their head looking down on them; I was like who in the heck is this? I said, “put the star down”. It was scary at first but one of the things I try to do is not make my fans think that I’m untouchable, they usually want hugs, this was a big lady and she wanted to hug me but she just picked me up; it was a little shocking.
Can you talk about your training? Greatest inspiration; or who/what kept you motivated?
Melba Moore- I’m a born again Christian and that’s really the foundation, I say I would be a nun because that’s really my job now; if I’m able too, I will go to church service or mass every morning. I try to go early in the morning like 7:00 am. I get on the bus, then I get on the subway, then I walk so it’s a whole meditative process this helps to mentally reshape you. This industry is very very tough as it should be, it’s creative and everybody wants to be in it. Whatever your gifts are, you have to take care of it. Your greatest gift is your body and you have to take care of it. It’s your temple and God wants to dwell there. You have to keep it together.
GB- How did you overcome any of your challenges as an artist?
Melba Moore- basically what I said before, I go to church every morning, I listen to what god is telling me as to why I’m having any challenges and what I will learn from it. One of the things is I get invited to participate in a lot of things and It has to be of quality. You can’t do everything. I listen to God and do what he wants me to do. Every time I think something will become a disaster, it actually becomes a stepping stone to success. Whatever the issues are he takes care of everything.
GB- What advice would you give to kids today who look up to you as their inspiration?
Melba Moore-I would tell them not to listen to bad things, I would tell them to not listen to negative things because they bring on a negative spirit. I would tell them to stay positive, get their education; I would tell them to listen to clean music and not dirty music. I don’t want to preach the them though; I want to continue to be an icon I want to set the example.
GB- If there was one person, dead or alive that you would have loved to work with; who would it be and why?
Melba Moore– I would say somebody like Dorothy Dandridge, She is someone that came along the way, very iconic. If they could see where we are now from where we came. I would like to also work with Tyler Perry who has the grace and stamina to do what he does, he is amazing.
GB- Was there ever a time where you wanted to quit and go back to being a regular person in society?
Melba Moore- Nope!!!!! Been there, done that and I don’t want to do that anymore.
GB- Do you have any personal ambitions yet unattained such as Directing, Producing or Writing for other artists or yourself; Or anything in general that you want to achieve?
Melba Moore– I should be able to be on Broadway anytime I feel like it ( Laughter) I would like to produce, direct and write.
GB- Are there any new projects you’re currently working on that you can talk about?
Melba Moore- I have a new cd called forever more, I also have a new single called “What can I do to Survive, You can find my music on Amazon.com, CD baby etc.
GB- Can you talk about other artists or people that have inspired you to embark on your own career?
Melba Moore- I can go way back but like I said before, Dorothy Dandridge, Eartha Kitt but my greatest inspiration was Mahalia Jackson. I can’t do what she does but she inspires me. In terms of today, I like Beyonce, she works very very hard. I admire her performance and her stamina. I also like Mariah Carey she is another inspiration. Mary J is another one. In terms of young people, believe it or not, I think Nikki Minaj is bright, hardworking and focused. She’s not just a rapper but she can also sing.
GB- When acting what character was the easiest to play or most difficult? (Stage Plays)
Melba Moore– The easiest to play was the one I got a Tony Award for because I felt I wasn’t really acting, I was singing and being my little country self (laughter) the character was Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins. The hardest character was playing the role of big Momma you know the role Queen Latifah played in the movie Chicago. It was a small role, though It was hard for me because you know, I’m not gay, I am very feminine and soft, the character had to be tough and macho and I had to pull it off. Fortunately, one of the things that helped me was the vocal range changed and I really like using my voice. I really worked on developing it and using a lower tone and then of course changing my body language. That to me was the hardest because it was so unlike me.
GB- What is the biggest impact that you would want people to remember you for?
Melba Moore- The little lady with the big voice.
GB- If today was the last day that you were able to sing, what would be the last song you would sing? (It doesn’t have to be your song) and why?
Melba Moore- Well it would be my song, I know that sounds selfish but I would want people to remember me by my song. First of all it would be a hit record, one song I like in particular is a song I re-recorded by Ben McCoy called Mind Up Tonight.
GB- What was your favorite moment in the entertainment industry?
Melba Moore- I really don’t think I can answer this because it was too many. My most recent favorite moment is that I was just invited to do a play called The Four Little Girls. It’s about the bombing that took place at the 16t street Baptist Church. I was invited after someone else dropped out. What I discovered when I went there was this is the birth place of my mother and a lot of my family.
GB- Which is your favorite song that you like to perform?
Melba Moore- A lot of times I can’t perform what I want to perform. You usually have to perform what the people want you to sing.
GB- Of all the movies you played in, The fighting Temptations, All dogs Go to Heaven, Hair, Lost in the stars and Ellis Island, Which was your favorite roll and why?
Melba Moore- Definitely “The Fighting Temptations. I loved all that great gospel music.
GB- What impact did your mother Bonnie Davis has on your career as a singer? We know she was a singer as well.
Melba Moore- She was the greatest inspiration I ever had, even as a child. She was beautiful, she carried herself exceptional. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be just like her. I got caught up in the whole euphoria of her singing. I thought she was a star.
GB- Please tell us about the new album you currently have out and what inspired it?
Melba Moore- I’m not signed to a major label so I was able to pick what kind of music I wanted to have on it. I have to finance it and get distribution. I’m being held responsible for it so now I’m an entrepreneur. I feel like I’m singing better now than I ever did before. I’ve had the time to work on my vocals. I think this album is going to reflect the growth.
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