Nile Rodgers gave Lorelei her first break!
Lorelei was first introduced to producer Nile Rodgers in 1982 by her sister Dana McBroom Manno. Both she and Marcia McBroom Small had been his neighbors in the Bronx while growing up. Nile was coming off the mega success of David Bowie's 'LET'S DANCE'. A couple years later while writing songs in pursuit of a record deal, Lorelei ran into neighbor Joni Sledge. Sister Sledge was re-uniting with Nile Rodgers and needed songs. She passed along 2 of Lorelei's new songs and Nile chose 'DANCIN" ON THE JAGGED EDGE' from Lorelei's submissions. (Written with David Paul Bryant and Dennis Herring)
Soon after that Nile was in the studio with Earth Wind and Fire's lead vocalist Philip Bailey. He was looking to follow the success of his hit 'EASY LOVER' with Phil Collins. Collins and Bailey had started another song with Ray Parker Jr., the late great George Duke and Nathan East. Nile suggest Philip finish the lyrics and melody with Lorelei. "When we wrote together I was cool as a cucumber, but when we went into the studio to lay down the vocals, I freaked when I heard Philip's cherished voice. I had grown up loving Earth Wind and Fire. Now here I was singing with one of my idols. He put his arm around me and rocked me to the beat. Here's how it turned out." ~ Lorelei
Lorelei met up with Philip Bailey in 2010 during a contest held by Los Angeles' KEARTH 101 morning drive radio show. Earth Wind and Fire were featured and Lorelei had been a talent contest judge that chose the opening act Alex Nester.
Nile gave me the opportunity to record with in the choir behind Teddy Pendagrass on 'SOMEWHERE I BELONG' from the film 'D.A.R.Y.L.' The album was his first following his accident.
Lorelei eventually got a record deal with Capitol Records. Nile Rodger produced the CD with her. He also make a soundtrack CD for the Warner Brothers film 'EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY," starring Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans, Jeff Goldblum and Genna Davis. He recorded the demo for this song with Lorelei. Her contract with Capitol kept Warner Brothers from using Lorelei on the release which featured Jill Jones and Lorelei sings backing vocals.
Here's the demo.
PAUL SIMON BENEFIT - Oh what a night!
Nile Rodgers put a group of singers together ( including Lorelei) to perform the Chic hit 'Good Times' for Paul Simon's first ever benefit raising funds for The Children's Health Fund. The money was to provide mobile medical units throughout New York City to children without health care. After a rehearsal with Nile, someone working with Lou Reed asked me to sit in as a 'colored girl' for their rehearsal. Grace Jones and Debbie Harry were set to do the benefit but wouldn't be at the rehearsal. Lorelei grabbed her friend Roberta Freeman as the second girl. "Let's do this!" Lorelei said to her. They not only sang, but added some cool moves and in the end got invited to join Grace and Debbie backing Lou. After that benefit invited them to reprise the performance on the 1988 Grammy Awards.
( Lorelei is pictured above with Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Durga, Christy Brinkley, Whoopi Goldberg Grace Jones, Chaka Khan and Paul Schaffer.)
The Paul Simon event was spectaular! Grace Jones loaned Lorelei a matching designer dress by her favorite Azzedine Alaia. Lorelei also wore an early self designed and made necklace. Grace (being a family friend) was very kind to all of us and we had fun! The late Lou Reed was honored too by having Lorelei back him on the Grammy Awards later that year. Her friend Emilio Che got a designer dress for Lorelei to wear with his custom designed rubber hat.
WE ARE FAMILY FOUNDATION
911 hit everyone in America very hard. For those of us in New York, it was even more devastating as some narrowly missed getting hurt while others lost loved ones! Nile Rodgers was no acception. He gather a massive group of entertainers from the East and West coasts to create this video and a follow up documentary about the making of the video and personal celebrity accounts of that tragic day. Lorelei was invited to join the chorus of people singing Nile's classic song 'WE ARE FAMILY.'
The Foundation has continued to grow
We Are Family Foundation (WAFF) holds annual Gala's in New York honoring hte work of many people around the globe. The chosen Musician performs as an honoree, receiving an award from the foundation, along with many others year after year. The foundation finds young people as well to put a spot light on the great work they are doing for their projects aiding many around the world. Lorelei has had the honor of aiding Chic and Nile during these events as an assitant when she's in New York. "These events raise funds by auction to fund the many projects they support. I was great to be in the video, and the events have been star studded and lot's of fun! I've met people like host Toure from MSNBC's The Cycle, The View host Rosey Perez, Montell Williams, Adam Lambert and many more.
2012's Hurricane Sandy forced the delay of Gala 2. Thankfully Lorelei was in Canada on tour during the storm but was in New York and available to assist in January for the rescheduled event. Actress and activist Rosey Perez and MSNBC contributor Toure hosted the event. Adam Lambert was the performing award recepient.
Kathy Sledge, Lorelei, and rapper Melly Mel Nile Rodgers, Lorelei and Don Harris (trumpet)