"Call Me Adam" chats with Tony Award winner and four-time Grammy nominee Melba Moore about making her 54 Below debut with Forever Moore on May 22 and 23 at 7pm (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue)! In Forever Moore, Melba will be honoring iconic, legendary ladies of song as well as performing her Grammy nominated hits and songs from her Broadway career! Click here for tickets!
1. On May 22 & 23 at 7pm, you will be making your 54 Below debut with your new show Forever Moore. What made you want to do this show at 54 Below and what excites you about making your 54 Below debut? That was the first available date 54 Below had available and I said, "Let's Go! The sooner we do it the better!" The reason I'm so excited to be part of the 54 Below extravaganza is because they have the best cabaret and theatrical artists in the world performing there. I just went to see my friend Ben Vereen there and it's a beautiful room and the audiences are to die for. I thought to myself, "Oh my goodness, I want that!"
2. What made now the right time to debut Forever Moore? I'm working on my CD of the same name and it's coming at a time when the entertainment industry, the public relations industry, and the marketing industry have changed dramatically and I've had to make several different adjustments. So, I thought to myself, "Well you don't know how these things are going to continue to change, so why don't you just say something as long as they change I will keep adjusting and that maybe "Forever Moore."
3. In Forever Moore, which as you mentioned, is also the title of your forthcoming album. In the show, you will be honoring iconic, legendary ladies of song as well as performing your Grammy nominated hits and songs from your Broadway career including your Tony Award winning performance in Purlie. How did you decide which iconic ladies you wanted to include? What is it about these women that make them or their music speak to you so strongly? Of course it's both, the music and the artists. I wanted to take legendary ladies of song that not only I loved, but that the audience would love and appreciate and in some cases there has been some kind of personal connection. And I know in cabaret, the audiences want to hear the story behind the music or the artist. They want to hear about you. They want to hear something that they won't read in a review. They want something personal, so I tried to take artists that there was some kind of personal connection for me. For instance, like Ella Fitzgerald. Everyone loves Ella, but I picked her so it would give me an excuse to sing "Airmail Special" (laughs).
4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Forever Moore? I hope they get a real kind of feel and connect with me personally. That doesn't mean I'm going to tell a lot of personal history, but I think as an interpreter of songs, you connect with people on a personal level. The reason I say this is because after a show, people want to hug me. They feel like they know me and like me. I hope they know how much I really love being there and they think I sing great and that they like what I'm doing with my art and my gift.
5. If you had to give people one reason as to why they should come see Forever Moore, what would that reason be? They are going to get a great show! They are going to be entertained! I know I'm going to have a good time, so I hope they do too.
6. You are a four-time Grammy nominee and a Tony Award winner. At the time, what did it mean to you to get these honors and what do they mean to you now? At the time that they happened, especially the Tony Award, which came first, immediately, the day after, my whole life changed. I have a newspaper clipping from one of the press events from the Tony Awards and I'm standing in between, in the middle of, Lauren Bacall on my right side and Helen Hayes on my left. If you don't know you're life has been changed by that, I don't know what it's gonna take (laughs). If that's an example of how dramatic and how incredible and how different your life becomes as a result that award, then it's like you said, that's awesome.
7. Who or what inspired you to become a singer? I'm sure it was my mother who was a professional singer. Music was the center piece of our family. My mom and step-father formed an act together and rehearsed in our house, musicians came by our house, and we went to see them perform. My step-father made us take piano lessons, so we can became students of music as children. Getting from a technical side and as the unity of our family, you can't help but fall in love with the magic and charisma that takes over everybody. I think by the time I went to high school, I knew I wanted to be involved in music in some kind of way.
8. In addition to being a performer, you have dedicated a large part of your life to helping children, especially those who were abandoned, abused, and born with AIDS and addicted to crack. Out of all the help out there one can give, what made you want to dedicate your time to helping children? What have the children you helped taught you? My earlier life growing up as a child with a single mother who was away and my natural father didn't marry my mother, so I longed for a family. I used to ask for a sister and brother all the time and there was a lot of loneliness and abuse that happened because the family was broken. I always had a sensitivity toward children and their longing for wholeness in the family and their lives and their insecurities. I'm sure it started in my youth. The first opportunity I had was back in the 80s when the crack epidemic started. I saw on the news that the Harlem Hospital was asking people to please come up and just hold the babies because young mothers that had become addicted were just leaving their babies there. As a result of that experience I became involved with Hale House and then I started my own foundation and from there on whenever I could of service to abandoned and abused children, I feel a kinship for it.
9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? One of the things I've learned is whoever that lady is on the stage, I don't know who she is, because she's somebody else. Now that I've been doing it for so long, I'm very aware of myself from becoming that other person or persons, I don't know, there maybe several persons inside there.
Now I'm not really frightened of being on stage, so my natural humor and my natural joy starts comes out. I say to myself, "Oh, that's who you are." I see that the connection I have with the audience has a very strong effect on me. They help bring out other parts of myself that I didn't know was there.
10. What's the best advice you've ever received? Never give up.
11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I'd never get fat (laughs). I would wipe out all anger and violence in the world.
12. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? I've had a few because as a singer you create your own little remedies. I can tell you one that everybody can make for themselves, but you have to figure out the portions of the ingredients for yourself. The ingredients would be apple juice, honey, and just a pinch of instant coffee. I would it call "The Melba Moore Atom Bomb" or "Rocket Fuel," because it gives you quick energy and it's not going to do you any harm, unless you put too much coffee in it because you can never have too much honey or apple juice.
13. Favorite skin care product? These days it's anti-wrinkle cream, but I always use moisturizer.
Hailing from a musical family, Ms. Moore graduated from the famed Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey. At the encouragement of her parents, she went on to pursue music education at Montclair State University where she earned her Bachelor of Music Education Degree. However, her inner voice told her to see if she could make it as a performer. After listening to that inner voice, she landed roles in classic shows such as Hair, Les Misérables, and Purlie, for which she earned her Tony Award. Although Ms. Moore enjoyed working on Broadway, she never forgot her first love of music. She has recorded several albums and has enjoyed great success musically with such chart topping songs as "Love’s Comin’ At Ya," "Living For Your Love," and "Read My Lips," for which she received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal.