Gladys Knight

The Society of Singers Presents 16th Annual ELLA Award to Gladys Knight at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on September 10, 2007

Gladys Knight, a singer, actress and humanitarian whose five-decade career stretches from gospel music to pop hits to R&B classics, has been chosen as the recipient of the 16th Annual ELLA Award by the Society of Singers (SOS).

The announcement was made by Jerry F. Sharell, the president and CEO of SOS, a non-profit organization that offers comprehensive services to meet the emergency financial needs of professional singers worldwide. Named after its first recipient, Ella Fitzgerald, the ELLA Award is given to singers whose significant musical accomplishments are equaled by their dedication to charitable and humanitarian causes both local and international.

"Gladys Knight has one of the greatest and most distinctive voices of our time, and is a woman who has helped countless people through her humanitarian and philanthropic work," says Sharell.

A seven-time Grammy Award winner with Number One hits in the pop, R&B and Adult Contemporary formats, Knight has released close to 40 albums; her hits include "Midnight Train to Georgia," "I've Got to Use My Imagination" and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine."

Her most recent album is "Before Me," a tribute to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday. The fall 2006 release was part of a charity initiative that Knight launched in collaboration with Ashley Stewart Stores. She also works with charities ranging from the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society to the Minority AIDS Project and amFAR.

The honor will be presented to Knight at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on September 10, 2007. Previous recipients of the ELLA Award, besides Ms. Fitzgerald herself, include Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett and Placido Domingo.

The Society of Singers was founded in 1984 by Chairman Emeritus Ginny (Mrs. Henry) Mancini and Gilda Maiken Anderson when the two friends, both of them former professional singers, realized that many of their friends and colleagues were without pensions, unions, medical insurance or places to turn for financial help during tough times. SOS aids professional singers of all ages, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and offers scholarship programs designed to advance the vocal arts.

Source: Society of Singers
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., April 17, 2007 /PRNewswire/ --

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"Before Me" CD

Listen to music samples Editorial: By now, the list of late-career standards-coverers stretches a mile long--in addition to Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow, Smokey Robinson, and a host of less-successful others, add Gladys Knight to the tally. Don't just lump her in, though, because Before Me differs from its forebears in ways that won't let you forget it. Here is a flawlessly selected and executed exercise in nostalgia for all the right reasons: Knight, in a voice entirely undiminished, extracts the elegance from each of these legendary numbers and smears it all over the surface, something most listeners would expect only from a master stylist on the order of Tony Bennett. Yet the former Pip leader presides with a light touch. Replacing the powerful pop-soul that launched her legend with the swankiest, most black-tie jazz imaginable, she whispers her way through George and Ira Gershwin's "The Man I Love" and the candy-sweet lament "I'll Be Seeing You." Elsewhere, she smokes up the Lady Day classics "Good Morning Heartache," "The Man I Love," and "God Bless the Child," unintentionally turning the latter into a master course of vocal restraint. If "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" is the disc's wild card--Knight plays it light--the Duke Ellington stunner "Come Sunday," made popular by gospel legend Mahalia Jackson, is its five-star clincher: Knight punches her way through tirelessly, with a true believer's fervor. --Tammy La Gorce.

• Audio CD (October 3, 2006)
• Original Release Date: October 10, 2006
• Number of Discs: 1
• Label: Verve Labels

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