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'70s Diva Thelma Houston Gives Her Favorite Songs a Woman's Touch

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Thelma Houston, the dynamic voice behind the disco anthem “Don't Leave Me This Way," is back with her first album in over 17 years. In a clever twist, Houston uses A Woman's Touch (in stores August 14th via Shout! Factory) to transform songs made famous by some of the biggest singers - male singers - in R&B and pop.

The new CD was entirely conceived by Thelma Houston, as well as executive produced by Thelma in association with Stephen Ford of Diva Central, Inc.

A Woman's Touch is filled with songs she has long been a fan of. “They are songs I always wished I had recorded," she explains, “and I loved doing them from a woman's standpoint." But Houston doesn't just put a female spin on the lyrics, she takes over and completely reworks the songs through soul, R&B, blues and dance floor filters. “Ain't That Peculiar," and Sting's “Brand New Day," get bluesy, sassy make overs, while “Disco Heat/Mighty Real" (a nod to Houston's disco past and tribute to her old friend Sylvester) starts out a poignant gospel song and closes with Studio 54-era exuberance. Houston revisits another friend from her early career, covering Jimmy Webb's “By The Time I Get To Phoenix," (Webb wrote and produced Houston's 1969 debut album), rebuilding it with incredible old school R&B flair. And then there's Thelma triumphant return to her dance floor roots with a fierce version of Luther Vandross' “Never Too Much."

A Grammy Award winning artist who has released more than 21 albums, “I feel blessed because I've never stopped working and I love what I do. I can truly say that I appreciate my career and sometimes it really feels like I'm just getting started," says Houston.

In the years since “Don't Leave Me This Way," topped the pop and dance charts, Houston has toured incessantly, performing over 200 shows each year, including an opening slot on Cher's Farewell tour. She was recently inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame and honored on the television show Showtime at the Apollo as an Apollo Legend. Most recently she was cast in the role of Madam Zin Zanni in the highly popular play, Teatro Zin Zanni, performed internationally in the touring cast of Fame, starred in the musical Big Otis' Jump Up Blues Revue (by Tony Award winning director Otis Sallid) and appeared in Oprah Winfrey's Beloved. A tireless supporter of AIDS related charities, Houston was honored by the City of West Hollywood (CA) in 2003, when it declared January 29th “Thelma Houston Day."

Born in Leland, MS, Houston moved to Long Beach, CA as a child and continues to reside in Los Angeles today. She signed with Motown Records in 1971 and in 1977, won the Grammy Award for “Best R&B Female Vocal Performance" for “Don't Leave Me This Way." Her other hits include “If It's the Last Thing I Do," “Lean On Me," “I'm Here Again," “Saturday Night, Sunday Morning," “If You Feel It," and a Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced Top 20 R&B dance track “You Used to Hold Me So Tight."


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