Reporting Terri Lee Sylvester
HOLLYWOOD (WWJ) – Ever since Lisa Fischer released her debut CD in 1991, I had been wondering what happened to her and whether or not she would ever release another one. Well, I’ve finally gotten my answer in the new documentary, “20 Feet From Stardom.”
Directed by award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville, “20 Feet From Stardom” tells the true story of background singers, like Fischer, who make their living helping to make some of the world’s best known singers sound their best. The film also answers the question, when “background singers can sing circles around most lead singers” – as the Production Notes point out – “why, I wanted to know, would they want to stay in the background?” As I discovered in this intriguing story, some choose to stay out of the limelight, while others are not content to stay in the background and are attempting to work their way into the spotlight. But just like in less-glamorous careers, it’s not easy breaking through the glass ceiling.
In addition to Fischer, “20 Feet From Stardom” profiles 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Darlene Love (her story is amazing!); Merry Clayton (background singer for Carole King, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joe Cocker); Tata Vega (currently singing background and touring with Elton John); Judith Hill (who was rehearsing with Michael Jackson for his “This is It” tour); and Claudia Lennear (who sang background with Ike & Tina Turner, George Harrison and Joe Cocker); as well as numerous other singers who are well known for their voices, yet are not household names but, nevertheless, are behind so many hit songs.
If you’re a music lover, “20 Feet From Stardom” is a film NOT to be missed.