Heather Headley (1974- ) is a singer and actress from Trinidad who is best known for appearing in “Aida” on Broadway, for which she won a Tony in 2000. She is also an R&B singer of middling success whose best-known songs so far are “He Is” (2003), “I Wish I Wasn’t” (2003) and “In My Mind” (2005).
According to this blog she is the ninth most beautiful woman in the world and the fourth most beautiful black woman. West Indian women with high cheekbones are just the sort of women I go for. Both People and Ebony magazines have put her in their lists of the most beautiful people.
As beautiful as she is, you will never see her half-naked on the cover of a magazine. She is an old-fashioned girl from Trinidad, a pastor’s daughter who takes her Christian faith seriously. It keeps her grounded and down to earth.
Ever since she was a little girl she wanted to be a singer. She first sang on the radio at age two. By four she was learning the piano. She grew up singing in her parents’ church, the Barataria Church of God. She would sing even when the church was empty, imagining there was an audience.
When she was 11 she fell in love with the music of Ella Fitzgerald and learned to sing like her.
When she was 15 she came to America: her father got a position at a church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She won the title of Miss Indiana Black Expo (1991) and was a star singer at high school and later at Northwestern University near Chicago, where she studied music.
She never got her university degree: the Broadway play “Ragtime” asked her if she wanted to become Audra McDonald’s understudy. She said yes and never looked back.
After only six months on Broadway Disney wanted her to be the female lead in a new Broadway show they were putting together, “The Lion King”. She was the first Nala.
Disney had another show in the works, “Aida”. After singing before the heads of Disney, she got the part of the Nubian princess, the lead female. She went on to win a Tony as best actress.
After “Aida”, Headley became an R&B singer, which was her long-time dream. In Trinidad she did not even know about Broadway.
Her singing voice is sweet and powerful and her songs express her experience of life. She even helped to write some of them. But because she lives in a dream come true, she cannot even begin to sing about the brokenness of life, like Billie Holiday or even Faith Evans. She sleeps in Mickey Mouse pyjamas and even her marriage is happy.
So despite her amazing voice, her songs are somewhat flat and her success has been good but not great.
She wants to make music that helps people through uncertain times, that people can still listen to ten years from now.
She does want to return to Broadway but it will be hard for her to top her own performance in “Aida”.