Monday, August 6, 2012

Jennifer Holliday


Jennifer Holliday (born Jennifer Yvette Holliday on October 19, 1960 in Riverside, Texas) is a female R&B singer and Tony Award-winning actress.

She is well-known for her role in the Broadway musical, "Dreamgirls." She is also known as the Queen of Broadway Gospel.

In 1979, Jennifer landed her first big role on Broadway at the age of 19, performing in the musical production of "Your Arms Too Short to Box with God" which earned her a 1981 Drama Desk nomination.

At the age of 21, Jennifer scored her most well-known Broadway role in the musical, "Dreamgirls" as Effie White. She remained with the show for nearly 4 years after it opened on December 20, 1981.

Her performance received wide acclaim, most recognizably in the musical number that ends the first act, "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going."

Jennifer won the 1982 Tony Award for "Best Leading Actress in a Musical" along with a Drama Desk & Theater World awards for her acting performance in "Dreamgirls."
Jennifer's version of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" was enjoyed by so many people, she was encouraged to make the song into a hit on the Billboard charts.

In 1982, a pop version of "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" became a hit, peaking at #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped Billboard's Hot Soul Singles Chart for 4 weeks from July 24, 1982 to August 14, 1982. The song also peaked at #32 on the UK Singles chart.

The song earned Jennifer the Grammy Award for "Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female" in 1983 and has been covered by numerous artists, including Jennifer Hudson, who portrayed the role of Effie in the 2006 movie version of "Dreamgirls" and turned it into a Top 20 R&B hit & a #1 dance hit.
The second single from the "Dreamgirls" soundtrack, "I Am Changing" peaked at #29 on Billboard's Black Singles chart in September of 1982, staying on the chart for 10 weeks.
In 1983, Jennifer released her debut album, "Feel My Soul" which peaked at #31 on the Billboard 200 and #6 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
The first single from the album, "I Am Love" peaked at #49 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on Billboard's Black Singles chart in September of 1983, staying on the chart for 22 weeks.
The follow-up single, "Just Let Me Wait" peaked #103 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, #43 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart and #24 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 13 weeks.

In 1985, Jennifer appeared in the touring company of "Sing Mahalia Sing" and was a featured vocalist on Foreigner's #1 hit song, "I Want to Know What Love Is."
During that same year,  Jennifer released her sophomore album, "Say You Love Me" which peaked at #110 on the Billboard 200 and #34 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart. Michael Jackson co-wrote & produced the song, "You're The One" on the album.
The first single, "Hard Time For Lovers" peaked at #69 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #17 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 15 weeks.

The remixed version of the song peaked at #26 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart and #30 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart.
The follow-up single from the album, "No Frills Love" peaked at #87 on the Billboard Hot 100, #29 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 14 weeks.

The remixed version of the song peaked at #3 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart and topped Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart for a week in February of 1986.

On October 30, 1986, Paul Simon hosted a gospel session that was originally televised as a part of series of "Cinemax Sessions" which featured Jennifer, Luther Vandross, The Oak Ridge Boys, Andrae Crouch, the Edwin Hawkins Singers, and the Mighty Clouds of Joy. The show started with Jennifer's powerful version of "His Eye is On the Sparrow."

She joined Paul Simon & Luther Vandross on the song, "Still Waters Run Deep," Aretha Franklin on "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and all of the artists singing "Gone at Last" and "Amazing Grace."
In 1987, Jennifer released her third album, "Get Close to My Love" which failed to chart on both the Billboard 200 or R&B Albums chart at all.

The only single to chart was "Heart on the Line" which peaked at #48 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 10 weeks.

During the 90's, Jennifer lost a substantial amount of weight and during promotional interviews, she talked about her health struggles with depression.

At first, the weight loss was attained strictly from diet, but eventually, she underwent gastric bypass surgery in an effort to avoid regaining the weight.
After the weight loss, Jennifer released her fourth album, "I'm On Your Side" in 1991, which peaked at #184 on the Billboard 200 and #29 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart. She released a video under the same name, but unlike most videos, it was recorded live.
The title song peaked at #10 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 20 weeks.

The follow-up single, "Love Stories" peaked at #29 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 12 weeks.

In March of 1991, Jennifer married keyboardist Billy Meadows, but divorced by December. In March of 1993, Jennifer married for the second time to Detroit minister, Reverend Andre Woods.

The marriage was covered in the April 19, 1993 issue of "Jet" Magazine, but by 1994, the marriage ended, just four months after her mother passed away of cancer.
In 1995, Jennifer released her fifth studio album and her first gospel album, "On & On" which peaked at #10 on Billboard's Gospel Albums chart. Because of the album, Jennifer became popular with LGBT events and fundraisers.
In 1996, Jennifer released the compliation album, "The Best of Jennifer Holliday" which peaked at #50 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.

A new remixed version of "No Frills Love" topped Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart for a week in November of 1996. It also peaked at #10 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart.

Along with her music and stage career, Jennifer has also appeared on television as well, on shows such as "Touched By an Angel"& "Hang Time" along with a recurring guest-star role as choir director Lisa Knowles on the Fox series, "Ally McBeal."
In 1999, Jennifer released the single, "A Woman's Got the Power" which peaked at #7 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart and #18 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart.
A year later, Jennifer released the single, "Think it Over" which peaked at #17 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart and topped Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart for a week in April of 2000.

During that same year, Jennifer received a Doctor of Music honoris causa from the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

In 2001, she was the presenter for the tap dance show, "21 Below" at Town Hall in New York City & headlined Equity Cares\Broadway Fights AIDS "Nothing Like a Dame" show at the St. James Theatre where she was accompanied by teenage tap dance sensation, Michela Marino Lerman & Hannah Leah Dunn.

She also sang "America the Beautiful" on the first WWE pay-per-view that was held after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
During that same year, house music dance duo, Rosabel remixed "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" (which was credited as Rosabel with Jennifer Holliday) and released it as a single. The song peaked at #6 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart.
In 2007, the song made a re-appearance on the same chart with additional, promotional-only remixes by Jody Den Broder and peaked at #10 on the chart (this time, the song was credited as Jennifer Holliday with Rosabel).

Coincidentally, the 2007 remix of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" was climbing the Billboard dance chart during the same time as Jennifer Hudson's cover version of the song with both songs making the top 10 in February of that same year.

In 2005, Jennifer was featured on pre-teen gospel singer, Najiyah's album, "It's Just Me" on the track, "Through the Storm."

On June 26, 2007, Jennifer made a surprise appearance at the BET Awards singing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" with Jennifer Hudson, who had won an Oscar for her performance in the 2006 film version of "Dreamgirls."

Jennifer wasn't offered a cameo role in the movie and expressed displeasure with the movie in the media. She was featured on the "Why Did I Get Married?" movie soundtrack with the song "Givin' Up."

In April of 2011, Jennifer released a Christian CD called "Goodness and Mercy" on her own record label, Euphoric Records & produced in conjunction and cooperation with the Reverend Raphael G. Warnock.

On October 17, 2011, Jennifer appeared on "The Wendy Williams" show where after a sit-down interview, she performed "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" which received a standing ovation from the studio audience.

On May 23, 2012, Jennifer appeared on the Season 11 finale of "American Idol" where she sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" with finalist Jessica Sanchez which received positive comments, amazed the world-wide audeince and received a standing ovation from the audience at the Nokia Theater including the American Idol judges.

As of late-February of 2011, Jennifer resides in Atlanta, Georgia. In July of 2012, Jennifer reprised her role as Effie White in the St. Louis Muny production of "Dreamgirls" which lasted from July 16th to July 22nd. Jennifer says that she doesn't plan to return to the role of Effie White again.

To see Jennifer's official Facebook page, go to:
https://www.facebook.com/IAmJenniferHolliday

To see Jennifer's MySpace page, go to:
http://www.myspace.com/thejenniferholliday

To see a video of Jennifer performing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3C0c8J0PAmQ

To see a video of Jennifer performing "I Am Changing," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvOGqEJROeY

To see a video of Jennifer performing "I Am Love," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvpzVHmxAns

To see a video of Jennifer performing "Just Let Me Wait" on "Soul Train," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbAVKf3FoAY

To see a fan-made video for "Hard Times for Lovers," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMbR0BtiIuY

To see a fan-made video for "No Frills Love," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOnxhA1GXjI

To see a fan-made video for "I'm On Your Side," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12JHPxoR48U

To see a fan-made video for "Love Stories," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kDz51nsjXk

To see a fan-made video for the Love to Infinity remix version of "No Frills Love," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfCfud0-C9Q

To see a fan-made video for "A Woman's Got the Power," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCwAuphsvFI

To see a fan-made video for "Think it Over," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_PlC3gNotg


As a bonus, here's the video of Jennifer Holliday and Jessica Sanchez performing "And I Am Telling You" on the 11th season finale of "American Idol." To see the video, go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWxDVvwzRH4

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