Having starred in the Academy award-winning documentary, ’20 Feet from Stardom,’ Grammy award-winning singer Lisa Fischer joins her band Grand Baton onstage for a fundraising concert for Historic Newton on Friday, April 1 at Newton North High School in Newton, Massachusetts at 7:30 p.m. Fischer has performed with incredible talent such as Luther Vandross, Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, and Tina Turner. Her voice has been heard around the world and she has been touring with the Rolling Stones since 1989. See her performance with Sting and Chris Botti at the Blue Note here. Acclaimed vocalist Lisa Fischer discusses ’20 Feet to Stardom’s’ Oscar win, her most memorable performance, her upcoming concert, and her outlook on today’s music. The Historic Newton concert is nearly sold out! Click here for more information about her upcoming performance with Grand Baton.
Jeanne Denizard: What first attracted you to music and what made you decide to pursue it as a career? What kind of music were you a big fan of growing up?
Lisa Fischer: Music was all around me at a young age via my parents so it seemed to be this invisible but very present energy that brought a range of emotions that could be shared. I felt empty without it. I sang whenever the opportunity was put before me. I listened to a lot of Motown and anything that was on AM and FM stations.
JD: You sang backup for a wide range of artists such as the Rolling Stones, Luther Vandross, Beyonce, and Chaka Khan. Traveling with them on tour, do you have a favorite performance or venue that you found the most memorable? What was the most challenging place you have been on tour?
LF: The most memorable would be Luther Vandross at Royal Albert Hall and the Rolling Stones at Copacabana Beach. I think the latter had the most challenging heat that I can remember!
JD: What was it like for you to transition from a back up vocalist to a solo performer? I understand you continue to perform as both throughout your career.
LF: The biggest transition for me is that subtle flow of a song from beginning to end which I didn’t experience so much as a background singer because the focus was different. It’s been a magical ride so far.
JD: You starred in the Oscar-winning documentary, ’20 Feet from Stardom. What was it like for you to win an Oscar, two Grammys, and other awards? Tell me what it was like to film it. The whole experience must have been a whirlwind for you.
LF: It really was. When the late great Gil Friesen approached me about participating in his dream of making this film, I was excited to be a part of it with no expectations really. This was new territory for me.
JD: When the film won the Oscar, I was on tour with the Stones in Japan and as I watched it via satellite, I felt like I was dreaming. My heart stopped and I cried like a baby.
LF: I never imagined that I would be blessed with a second Grammy. That whole day was such an emotional and beautiful day. My heart was so full and appreciative. I so deeply wished that Gil lived to see it all unfold. I am so thankful to Gil and Morgan Neville for their vision.
JD: It sounds like it was a wonderful experience. How were you approached to participate in the upcoming fundraiser for Historic Newton on April 1 with your band Grand Baton? What made you decide to participate?
LF: I have my manager and TKA to thank for the gift of being able to perform at this important fundraiser.
JD: Are you working on any new projects? I understand you are touring right now.
LF: I’m excited about singing on the new Yo-Yo Ma and Silk Road project with Gregory Porter. It should be released very soon.
JD: Having been in the music business for over 30 years, what do you think about music today as the industry has evolved?
LF: So much has changed and it should on a lot of levels. Music should be a mirror of the times. I’m really enjoying the freedom and experimentation I’m hearing in music today. This gives me hope for the future.
JD: Any new musicians you would like to work with in the future?
LF: I’m so focused on working with Grand Baton in the studio as of now, but I’m always open to working with new people.
Click here to learn more about Lisa Fischer’s work. The benefit concert for Historic Newton will be held at 457 Walnut Street in Newton, Massachusetts on Friday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. The show is nearly sold out. Click here for upcoming events for Historic Newton!