A powerful soul, jazz and gospel singer as well as an inspirational songwriter and pianist, Oleta Adams has been delighting audiences with her charismatic live shows and Grammy-nominated recordings for the last 30 years. She will be making her Rockport debut armed with her newest record Third Set.
Since the runaway success of her 1990 platinum-selling debut album Circle of One and the hit single “Get Here” Oleta Adams has inspired a growing legion of fans in the U.S. and Europe with journeys of the heart via songs that draw deeply from her roots in gospel, while crossing effortlessly into the realms of soul, R&B, urban, and popular music. Her success, nurtured by worldwide tours with Tears for Fears, Phil Collins, Michael Bolton, and Luther Vandross, has been solidified by four Grammy nominations and a seemingly bottomless well of creative energy.
A long-time resident of Kansas City, Kansas, Oleta Adams also remains anchored by her upbringing in the Pacific Northwest. The youngest of three girls and two boys, Oleta spent her formative years in Seattle before traveling over the mountains at age six to Yakima, Washington, an idyllic town of 60,000. She first demonstrated her budding vocal gifts in the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church where her father served as minister. By the time Oleta was eleven, she was directing and accompanying four choirs, having already established herself as a piano prodigy.
Turning down the chance to pursue an operatic career as a lyric soprano, along with a scholarship to Pacific Lutheran University, Oleta instead spent a summer in Europe before heading to Los Angeles in the early 1970s. After learning that her jazzy gopel style was not in vogue during the disco heyday, she settled in Kansas City, where she quickly became a local institution. Celebrities from every musical genre caught her act, including Eartha Kitt, Cab Calloway, Air Supply, Gino Vanelli, Yes and Billy Joel. Finally serendipity came in the form of the British band Tears for Fears, whose frontmen Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith asked her to appear on their 1989 “The Seeds of Love’ album, video and European tour. Proving that good things come to those who wait, upon her return to the U.S. Oleta signed a record deal for her first solo album in 1991.
With now nine CD releases, including secular, gospel, and a Christmas album, worldwide acclaim and over two-and-a-half million albums sold, Oleta’s musical odyssey continues – spiritually and creatively. Her newest release is Third Set, a smooth jazz/R&B effort featuring a range of covers from Joni Mitchell to Bob Dylan to Cole Porter, showcases an artist still at the height of her powers.