When we see live concerts of our favorite singers and songwriters, it’s easy to zone in on the lead talent and ignore what’s going on around them. Think about going to a Bruce Springsteen concert, for example. His name is on all the tickets, he’s the one blown up on every monitor, and he’s the guy belting out leading vocals while strumming his guitar – but he’s not the only one on stage. There are other musicians, technical people, and backup singers who all contribute to the experience, yet most of the credit goes to whatever name is on that ticket.
Being a backup singer isn’t easy, but neither is making it as a solo act, and that’s the dangerous balance that documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville approached for one of 2013’s best documentaries, 20 Feet From Stardom. Neville’s film is an entrancing look into the world of backup singers like Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, and Lisa Fischer, all of whom possess immense talents and have performed with legendary icons throughout the music scene. You may not know these names immediately, but then you’ll listen to “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones and hear that prevalent female voice belting “Rape, murder!” and realize just how impactful these behind-the-scenes talents are.
While promoting their film a few weeks ago in New York City, I had the distinct honor of sitting down with musicians Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer and Judith Hill to discuss their journeys as they became part of musical history. While Darlene and Lisa have been performing for years, Judith is newer to the scene, having had a stint on NBC’s popular reality show The Voice that followed with launching her own solo career, but all three women bring experiences from their own unique perspectives on the music industry in today’s “get famous quick” reality, what it takes to be a backup singer, and what music truly means – its heart and soul.
Enjoy our exclusive video interview with Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, and Judith Hill, who I’d like to thank for sharing their time with We Got This Covered!