Tony Award winner Melba Moore has seen highs and lows in her music career.
She’s topped the charts, hosted TV shows and starred in films before seeing it all end at the hands of her husband, music producer Charles Huggins. Moore claimed Huggins sabotaged her career and took all of her money, resulting in her ending up on welfare. Ironically, Huggins was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for scamming investors out of millions by claiming he had ties to West African diamond mines.
Moore, a devout Christian, had forgiven Huggins for ruining her career and actually supported him during his trial. “I know the time he’s facing will be a death sentence,” Moore told the New York Post. “So hopefully I can help him through this. Everyone deserves a chance.”
While Huggins’ bad business practices have come to an end, Moore appears to be riding the wave of a fresh beginning that started back in 2009 when she was the subject of the TV One bio-series “Unsung.”
With new management and a renewed vision for the business, the 69-year-old entertainer is working more than ever before.
“It’s not easy to do. First of all, if you run your own career which I’ve had to do because I don’t have my husband anymore. I had to learn the things that he’s gifted at,” she told AlwaysAList.com, backstage after her concert at Blues Alley in Washington, DC. “For me to come to the point where I’m selling out again, it’s something that my management team and the people that I work with now have built back up again. It’s not just about being popular; it’s about skill and building. It’s work!”
While sitting in her dressing room, the New York native answered a phone call from her daughter Charlie telling her that her remaining three shows at Blues Alley had sold out as well. “Yes,” an exuberant Moore shouted, pumping her fist in the air and boasting a smile as bright as the lights adoring the makeup vanity she sat in front of.
Moore felt good about performing at Blues Alley, an iconic jazz club where the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Nancy Wilson and Gil Scott-Heron frequented during their heyday. “The people are so warm here and the vibe is good,” Moore offered. “Plus, I remember seeing people like Phyllis Hyman here and I was told that Sarah Vaughn worked here too. That’s all amazing.”
Moore celebrated her repertoire of music during her 75-minute show, including her dance hits ‘This Is It’ and ‘You Stepped Into My Life;’ songs from her Broadway shows “Hair” and “Purlie” (which earned the Tony Award); and an ode to the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin.
“I kind of took a few crumbs from the Queen’s table,” she said to the capacity crowd as she set up the Joe Cobb and Van McCoy-crafted ‘Lean on Me,’ a song Franklin released in 1971 on the B-side to her album “Spanish Harlem.” Moore recorded ‘Lean on Me’ twice herself on two albums “This Is It” (1976) and “Never Say Never” (1983). “I’ve had this song with me my whole career,” she added.
Moore recently released a new single, ‘Just Dance’ and will drop her first full length album since 2009’s duets offering with Phil Perry later this summer. The CD, “Forever Moore,” was produced by Dominic McFadden, who is son of the late Gene McFadden of McFadden and Whitehead fame.
In August, the vocal powerhouse is one of the headliners for Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Divas Simply Singing benefit in Philadelphia; and on October 4, Moore will be inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame in Detroit, something that she told AlwaysAlist.com is “really a blessing.”
VIDEO: Check out the music video for Melba Moore’s new single ‘Just Dance.’