The First Lady of Philadelphia Soul and Funk
By SaudiaDurrant, photo credit: Derek Brad
Prominent songstress and Philly native Lady Alma brought her soulful talent back to the City of Brotherly Love during a special show for the, Sittin In, live series showcasing new and recurring performers ranging from all musical genres ranging from Funk to Jazz, and House, to Hip Hop and more with the hottest DJs around the city all at the Kimmel Center this past September.
Leaving her audience breathless and excited, vocal powerhouse Lady Alma has provided two decades worth of spell-inducing, energetic and dynamic musical sets with an original sound that has been rooted in Philly and traveled around the world and back from Japan, to Amsterdam, London to Toronto and Montreal.
“Oh my goodness. It was electrifying, magical and awesome. The audience was really receptive. They really openly hearted received what I was doing, as far as my performance. It was really awesome. What they gave me was what I gave them.”
The sweet and soulful songstress shares what brought her back to her passion after a 10 year hiatus, and the musical journey she believes in continuing as her life passion beginning at just an early age.
Lady Alma was born in San Diego, California and remained a West Coast girl until age 7, when her parents moved her back to the East Coast and became re-rooted in Philadelphia. Her passion in music became innately centered through her family where she developed the interest from her parents who sang consistently throughout her home. She knew that regardless of where it took her, music would always be a part of her life.
“I have been in music since I was 3, I was singing in a gospel choir with my mom and I had just been into music all my life.”
“My mom saw that something I wanted to do and she nurtured it. The vision to get into professional music did not come until I became an adult. I had no clue that the music was going to take me to where I am now. “
Alma’s mother immediately recognized her talent and invested in that vision by enrolling her daughter into a musical school, the Girard Academic Music program and Settlement music school.
It was while studying music early on that THE “the heart and soul of Philadelphia’s soul scene” that the singer began to develop her own original music style, in the genres of dance and house music, or what she classifies as “feel good music.”
“I would describe myself as a Unicorn. Everybody know that Unicorn doesn’t exist but when you think of a unicorn you think of magic, excitement.
I would say to those does that don’t know me that I am a magical entity on the stage through my music, through the lyrical content and performance.
It is all magical. I attribute it all to God, the creator because he is the one that gives us this gifts. I am a magical unicorn.”
Lady Alma credits her musical palette of inspiration to legendary women like Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, Nina Simone, and Phylis Hyman. These prominent artists gave her the inspiration through their story-telling of life and struggle to create a sound of her own.
“A lot of things they went through but negatively or positive. It gives me inspiration. First it gives me an appreciation because they paved the way. I am inspired by all the legends.”
She has created powerful EPs with hits like ‘Slide’ and ‘ You don’t know’ to covering popular hits like ‘Keep It Movin’ and the infectious Michael Jackson classic ‘ I can’t help it’ , as well as worked with major artists and producers like Rich Medina and George Jackson. Her most recent collaboration includes working with Philly-based DJ, King Britt, on over 130 tracks that helped launch her career. Lady Alma has navigated a tricky road, as most independent artists do when working towards stardom while also balancing their family life.
“The experience itself has been up and down.
As an independent artist, you are doing the groundwork pretty much yourself.
I am blessed because I have a camp they help me with my vision now. It is really difficult doing this music thing but I love it and get greatly warm when I see the people accepting my music. “After taking a 10 year break from music to take care of her mother, Lady Alma is back with a strong vision of solidifying her voice in the soulful music scene and to provide a sound to uplift and positivity in the Philadelphia community.
“The message in my music is about Peace, unity. I want people to get the appreciation of life, appreciation of the creator. I want Love, Peace, and understanding of things that we sometimes don’t understand. Get the clarity through the music.”
To find out more about Lady Alma’s unique sounds, you can find her and her music on Itunes, Amazon. You can also go to her website. www.theladyalma.com and Follow her on Twitter and Instagram as @theladyalma.