Today for Women’s History Month we look at local artist Linda Theus-Lee, a staple in the Denver Jazz scene for over 20 years. She has performed with Lionel Hampton, The Platters, and more. She has sung the National Anthem for the Denver Nuggets, portrayed Josephine Baker in “Live at the Rossonian” and opened for Babyface.
I had a chance recently to ask her a few questions about being inspired by jazz, her Sheroes in Jazz, her favorite jazz song and more.
What got you interested in jazz?
“My interest in Jazz began at a very early age, watching and listening to my late great brother “Woodrow “Sonship” Theus, playing his trap-drums and all sorts of percussion instruments. Even-thou, I wasn’t thinking of being a drummer, but when I saw him play behind the late great Betty Carter, I knew then, I wanted to sing…sing…sing, if this was GOD’s plan for my life.”
What inspires you about jazz?
“It’s about the ongoing journey of growth and the unknown opportunities and experiences to come. Lena Horne once said and I quote, “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it”.
Who are some of your Sheroes in jazz?
“I have so many Shero’s who contributed to my journey of vocal Jazz and other platforms of music ventured. To name only a few are: Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Nina Simone, Betty Carter, Abbey Lincoln, Chaka Khan, Rachelle Ferrell, Randy Crawford, Brenda Russell, Phoebe Snow, Anita Baker, Diane Schuur, and Dianne Reeves.
What is your favorite jazz song and why?
My favorite songs are: My Funny Valentine, Send in the Clowns, Through the Fire and God Bless the Child. The reason these songs mean so much to me, are because when I sing these songs and make them my own, my audience, and my soul are transformed into a different appreciation of the presentation.
You can learn more about Linda at her website.
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