You could say that Angela Winbush has come full circle when she hits town -- and Blues Alley -- on Friday.
"I feel like I'm at home when I come to D.C. because I graduated from Howard University and taught music education here before Stevie Wonder hired me and moved me to LA," she said.
As part of his back-up vocal group Wonderlove, Winbush quickly became Wonder's protege learning the fundamentals of writing and arranging songs. She also happened to be blessed with a four-octave vocal range.
Those early years, however, were the prelude to a long list of accomplishments that included forming a duo, Rene & Angela, where the two not only sang together but composed and produced as a team releasing three albums with two R&B hit singles, "I Love You More," and "My First Love." The two would go on to write hit songs for Janet Jackson, Stephanie Mills and Chaka Khan.
|Where: Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW|
|When: 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday|
|Info: $43; 202-337-4141; bluesalley.com|
After the break-up of Rene & Angela, Winbush continued writing and producing for the likes of the Isley Brothers and Sheena Easton. In turn, Ron Isley was instrumental in the production of her debut solo album, "Sharp." Other hits followed, both for herself ("No More Tears" and "Lay Your Troubles Down") and for others, such as Easton's "Without You" and "Fire And Rain."
At Blues Alley this weekend, Winbush's six-member band will be coming up from Nashville, along with her music director, Joe Johnson. D.C.-based background singers Raymond Reeder and Yolanda Adams are also featured.
"You'll be hearing some of my hits, such as 'Angel,' 'You Don't Have to Cry' and some of my jazzier tunes like 'Keep Turning Me On,' " she noted. "There will be an array of things, maybe even one or two gospel songs."
"God has blessed me," Winbush said. "That's why I don't take anything for granted. I try to live every moment and treat people like I want to be treated."