Award-winning R&B vocalist Regina Belle has found a higher calling, one she looks forward to sharing with Blues Alley audiences on Friday.
"My audience has always understood who I am; that I've never gotten here by pulling up my own bootstraps; that it's been based on God being my overseer and my keeper," said Belle, whose repertoire has included songs such as "Make It Like It Was," "If I Could" and "A Whole New World" (with Peabo Bryson). "I've always explained that -- from the beginning of my career, the R&B days, to this present point. So it's no surprise to them where I am musically: singing gospel. They understand that there's always been a spiritual connection."
After Belle's success with her first gospel release, "Love Forever Shines," from which emerged the chart-topping hit "God is Good," she was inspired to release a second CD, her newest gospel work, "Higher." According to her press release, this album is "a collection of stunning ballads; and it takes a few musical turns that will both surprise and please Belle's loyal and faithful fans."
|Where: Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW|
|When: 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday|
|Info: $43; 202-337-4141; bluesalley.com|
Her Blues Alley performance will feature cuts from "Higher" that include "Make An Example Out Of Me" and a piece she co-wrote with Chris Walker, "Been So Good To Me".
Belle will be joined at Blues Alley by her band: Kyle Turner on sax, Zane Gipson at the keyboards, Leonard "Pudge" Tribbett on drums and Thad Tribbett on bass. The show, she says, will be a mix of her early R&B work and her newfound gospel voice.
It is the R&B, she says, that draws the people in, noting, she doesn't "try to delete that, because that's a part of who I am."
However, these days there is more to Regina Belle.
"Blues Alley gives me the opportunity now -- once I hit them with the familiar -- to hit them with an area where they might be unfamiliar, in an effort to draw them in, to allow folks ... to have the opportunity to leave with something different than what they came in with."