News / Arts & Entertainment

Candi Staton Brings Multiple Stylistic Elements to 'Life Happens'

Katherine Cole

Candi Staton has been called the “First Lady of Southern Soul” thanks to a string of hits in the 1970s that included R&B versions of "Stand By Your Man" and "In The Ghetto." Later, she topped the disco charts, before turning back to her roots singing gospel music. Staton brings all those stylistic elements and more together in her new album, Life Happens.

Candi Staton Brings Multiple Stylistic Elements to 'Live Happens'
Candi Staton Brings Multiple Stylistic Elements to 'Live Happens'i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

The new album finds 74-year-old Staton back in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and reunited with producer Rick Hall for the first time since they made music history at FAME studios back in the 1970s. Hall produced three of the 13 tracks on the disc. Marcus Williams helmed the rest. Williams, whose resume includes work with John Legend, Stevie Wonder & Tyler Perry, is also Staton’s son - which brought a different dynamic to the studio sessions.

“Well, you can kind of tell him what to do. You can’t tell a lot of producers what to do," she said. "I used to call him up and say ‘you know what? I lived with that song last night. I need to do that first verse over. I need to come over right now because I’m in good voice and I need to put it down.’ And he’d say ‘Come on! Let’s do it, let’s just do it.’”

While there are two producers sharing credit on the album, Staton said she took total control of the project.

“For the first time in my whole career, and I’ve been doing this, Lord, since I was five or six years old, I’ve always had people telling me what to do," she said. "What not to sing. What to sing, how to sing it. And this time, I was so free. I was able to write my own stuff, sing it the way I wanted it, do it as many times as I felt I need to. I mean, I was just in charge.”

The songs she wrote for Life Happens tell the story of life’s ups and downs.

“I was going through all kinds of things: getting with the wrong people, getting abused and getting talked to, disrespected and stuff. And I would sit down and start writing about it," she said. "That’s how I came up with "Three Minutes to A Relapse" and "You Treat Me Like a Secret." I had this guy who would always treat me like a secret, he would always go ‘You can drive your car and meet me there.” I’d say ‘You’re dreaming…”

 She said the song "Treat Me Like a Secret" is striking a chord with a lot of her audience.

“They’ve been through it, too," she said. "They can relate.”

After much success with disco, soul and gospel, Staton surprised longtime fans in 2006 by changing her sound again. The result was an album called His Hands, which was embraced by fans of rock and roots-based Americana music. Her new CD is the third to have a few tracks with that rootsy sound … not that she likes hearing musicians put into boxes like that.

“Everybody’s in a different category. You know what? I’m a gospel, country, blues type of vocalist. And that’s exactly what Americana is," Staton said. "It’s a bluesy, kinda country, kinda thing. And I’ve been doing it forever. It’s just natural for me.”  

"I Ain’t Easy To Love" is one of the tracks on Life Happens that was produced by Rick Hall -- and it updates the Muscle Shoals sound he pioneered in the 1970s. Bluesy, with a full horn section, it finds Staton singing with John Paul White of the Civil Wars and Jason Isbell. It’s a nice compliment to the funkier songs sampled earlier.

You May Like

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”