INTRODUCING L. A. YOUNG
The Steel Mill Blues reverberate in L. A. Young's musical roots, marked at the crossroads of the decline of American steel manufacturing, the struggles of racial integration, and the broken dreams of the working class in post 1960s Ohio. Working alongside her father and brother, a second generation steel worker, L. A. became the first female crane operator in the steel industry by age 18. L. A.'s gut level love of blues, R&B, funk and Soul was forged in the 3,000 degree heat blasting out of a steel furnace. You can feel it in the way she cuts through peoples' emotions, belting out vocals from her soul.
What musical genre defines L. A.? L A grew up in a musical household as the youngest child surrounded by 6 siblings. L. A.'s dad steeped in American Roots music spent endless Sundays tutoring her in Bluegrass, Delta Blues, Chicago Blues, Classic Rock, Soul, Funk, Alternative and Jazz--you name it. L. A.'s desire to become a vocalist started early drawing inspiration from her first cousins, The Staple Singers. Her parents encouraged her to play every wind instrument and percussion and illustrating her talent and diversity, she played high school basketball and is in the Woman's Basketball Hall of Fame.
L. A. also grew up in the midst of a musical revolution in 1980s Ohio; the epicenter of Funk--a fusion of R&B, Rock and Blues--Funk defines so much of L. A.'s core raised on bands including Cameo, the Ohio Players, Lakeside and Dazzband. But it was not just Funk, she was heavily influenced by MoTown and Pop. L. A. has been described as Chaka Kahn meets Phylis Hyman. Phyllis, however, is L. A.'s alter ego; a contralto, L. A. possesses a haunting similarity to her alto range, timbre and love of ballads with lyrics that tug at your heart.
L. A. is complex like the environment she grew up in. As a toddler L. A. already felt the sting of racism. Her parents, born poor Southerners, wanted every opportunity for their children so they literally moved across the tracks into a white middle class neighborhood. A toddler standing on her porch, L. A. vividly remembers white neighbors approaching her mother with a petition, asking her why they would want to live where they are not wanted. But her parents taught her understanding and the twin lessons of race and social class moved her not to hate but to a lifelong love of people--all people--at the center of L A's bond with every audience and with all of her fans.
As American manufacturing moved off shore, Elkem Metals, where L. A. had worked from her late teens to adulthood, closed its doors. In 1993, confronted with a life of factory labor in a dying town, L A went with her heart and embarked on a career as a vocalist, leaving Ashtabula, Ohio for Maryland with her two young children. Longing to sing with a band, L. A. went to every open mic night all over Maryland winning every contest she entered, earning over $100,000. Auditioning several times, L. A. finally hooked up with Dublin Soul, renamed Joy Ride. By 2001 it was time to move on--L. A. formed her own band, The Unusual Suspects, playing at festivals, private gigs and clubs in the mid-Atlantic region.
L. A.'s immense talent hasn't gone unnoticed; she was invited to sing at President Clinton's second inaugural, for the Mayor of Baltimore and Governor of Maryland and at the Baltimore Marathon. L. A. sang at the Annapolis Blues Festival with the legendary Koko Taylor. L. A. has been headlining music festivals and has opened for After 7, Eric Roberson and Kayla Waters. She has appeared at the Horseshoe Casino on several occasions, and a 2018 two night New Years Eve performance at the Hollywood Casino, Charlestown Races L. A. is a frequent guest lead vocalist on other band's projects. In 2018, L A was the only vocalist nominated in three categories at the Maryland Music Awards--Artist of the Year, Best R&B vocalist and Best Jazz Vocalist
L. A. has recorded in the studio with members of the great jazz band, Pieces of A Dream. L. A. is currently recording original tracks written and produced by multiple Grammy nominee, Jonathan Lesane with the Grainger Brothers, Greg and Gary. Her new original, No One Can Love You More has been released simultaneously throughout the UK, the EU and N America October 10, 2018 charting at #12 on the UK Jazz and Soul charts and 15 straight weeks at #2 followed by 43 weeks at #1 on multiple UK FM global affiliates. She now has a second #1 hit for twelve weeks on UK FM radio, The Woman in Me and the #2 hit Dr Feelgood. She is nominated on Connecticut radio 89.5 FM for "Live Performance of the Year" and for "Artist of the Year." L A is recording several original songs for a forthcoming CD including songs by multi Grammy nominee, Vinnie Barrett. In addition, L. A. is touring to rave reviews for her her acclaimed musical biography--The Phyllis Hyman Experience.
November 2019. L A Young currently has 3 hit songs in the top five on UK fm radio. She has had three #1 hits this year alone with "No One Can Love You More at #1 for 43 weeks! L A is in two studios for the next several weeks recording six songs. Three songs are being produced by Norman Connors with the assistance of Bobby Lyle and Jean Carn who will also perform on the set.
Friday December 28, 2018. L A has a big hit on her hands! L A's song "No One Can Love You More", a cover of the classic 1977 Phyllis Hyman hit is #61 on the UK R&B/Soul Charts and charting at #8 in the UK top Newcomers list! The song has also made the Granada top 20 R&B/Soul charts in Granada!
L A performed at a charitable event "L A and Friends" at Artist 4 Amy in Brooklyn MD on October 28, 2017. L A had several special guest stars taking the stage with her with proceeds from the ticket sales going to the Artists for Amy Foundation.
On October 28, 2017, L A headlined the grand opening of Melvin's Place, a dinner/music club in Prince Frederick. Dinner and a show at Melvin's Place are $25 per person; tickets are always available in advance by calling (443) 404-9339.
On November 22 2017, L A headlined a corporate event at the Safeway Feast of Sharing, where Safeway provided Thanksgiving dinner to over 5,000 needy families.
In 2018 L A is performing at the Horseshoe Casino, Baltimore MD, headlining the Bowie Town Center Taste of Bowie: Food, Wine and Music Festival, Melvin's Place and once again supporting Safeway at their Feast of Sharing on November 21, and many other Festivals and corporate gigs.
The Doctor Gets "The Phyllis Hyman Experience"
Published on August 28, 2019
Tony "Doc" Hardy
Tony "Doc" Hardy
Radio Show Host and Event MC and DJ
On Saturday, August 24, I attended La Young's tribute to the great Phyllis Hyman called The Phyllis Hyman Experience. Ms. Young's UK Soul hit, a remake of Hyman's No One Can Love You More has been on the UK charts for 31 weeks, and is regularly featured on both of my radio shows, Jazz and Soul on Ice on WPKN 89.5 FM in Bridgeport, CT and Jazz on Ice on FOSR101FM.com based in Sparks, Nevada.
I consider myself a Hymanite, an avid fan of Phyllis Hyman. I have regularly done tributes to her on my shows around the anniversary of her birth and death, and so I was obviously intrigued when I learned that LA Young was rolling out a tribute to her in April of 2019. I missed that show, but vowed to attend this one. I came for an experience. Man, oh man, it was MORE than an experience.
This was not a cover show. It was not an ordinary tribute show. Ms. Young did not just mimic or imitate Phyllis Hyman. Instead, using visual imagery, dramatic storytelling, costume changes and her dynamic performance and vocals, she wove a beautiful and elegant tapestry of Phyllis Hymans life, covering all eras of her music, including her Broadway run with Sophisticated Ladies.
I fell in love with Young while she sang my favorite Phyllis Hyman song, Meet me on the Moon. I was mesmerized. Her broad vocal range and expert use of the microphone resulted in the smooth, sultry Contralto sounds that made you believe, for just one night, that the Queen was alive and among us.
Young's band, The Unusual Suspects, were unusually talented and not the least bit suspect at all. They were led by Musical Director and Keyboardist, Moe Daniels, whose virtuoso keyboard play was beyond phenomenal. He switched from full strings, to full horns, to xylophone, to piano and back to strings, with such amazing deftness you were looking to see if there hidden orchestral sections behind the curtain.
Saxophonist David Krug and backup Vocalist Tabitha Brooks were also outstanding and complemented Young's lead vocals. Krug's alto and soprano sax play would have made Pharaoh Sanders and Norman Connors proud and Brooks background vocals can only be described as angelic. Brooks played off Young so well, I was shocked to learn later she had just been hired a few weeks earlier. She sang with joy and enthusiasm and her engaging smile drew you in and kept you focused and immersed in the experience.
The Anacostia Playhouse is a terrific venue and the hosts were quite hospitable and accommodating. The sold-out shows were a result tremendous talent intersecting with great marketing and an inviting venue. I hope to support more of their programs soon. We need more venues like this around the country.
Young closed the experience with the chart topping, No One Can Love You More written by the late songwriter/producer Skip Scarborough. It was magical to have the legendary Alton McClain Scarborough, phenomenal vocalist and wife of the late songwriter/producer Skip Scarborough sing the final song with Young, and the most satisfying way to lower the curtain on this dramatic performance.
The Phyllis Hyman Experience was worth every mile I traveled from Connecticut to DC. If the show comes to a city near you in the future I highly recommend it, especially if you are a Hymanite. If you do decide to attend, please tell LA, The Doctor sent you.
To listen to my recent interview with LA Young on Jazz and Soul on Ice:
To listen to the 24/7 Jazz on Ice channel on FOSR101FM:
To listen to Jazz and Soul on Ice on WPKN 89.5 FM Bridgeport:
ACCLAIM FOR "THE PHYLLIS HYMAN EXPERIENCE":
On April 5th I went to see L A Young and the Unusual Suspects perform The Phyllis Hyman Experience at the Langston Hughes Center in the Park Heights area. I must say that this show was terrific and far more than a tribute to the great Phyllis Hyman. The show includes acting, creative use of a digital wall to tell the story of Ms Hyman an ultra talented, yet tragic soul, and of course over 17 songs provided by Ms Young who was so AMAZING, in full Phyllis dress re-creating her life and music touching everyone's heart.
Those who know me will tell you that I can be very critical with regards to sound, lighting and production. I must say this production was first class all the way. Inside the show there were breaks where you hear the words of Phyllis (convincingly spoken on-screen voice-overs by Ms Young) as she talks about her life and career.
This is a show that everyone must see.
Pieces of a Dream
April 5th 2019 - I witnessed a truly magnificent performance by L A YOUNG feat. The Unusual Suspects @the Langston Hughes CBR Center in Baltimore, Md. The title of the show (The Phyllis Hyman Experience) was enough to stir my emotions, but when L A Young hit the stage w/her band & sent her vocal gift soaring over lush / funky musical arrangements...trust! I knew an astral journey had begun!(Kudos 2 production design crew as well) I'm telling U now L A Young is a whirlwind artist! She's a beautiful, truly gifted woman who can call spirits down & lift spirits up w/her singing & vibrant stage presence. Please experience the fabulous L A Young for ya self. You'll no doubt feel what I'm saying!!
Clayton LeBoeuf lead actor in the Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street.
Tonight I saw and heard the sounds of Ms Phyllis Hyman as she was cloned for 2-hours by the magic and voice of Ms L. A. YOUNG. This lady was impersonating PHYLLIS HYMAN to the 99% degree. WOW! She gave her concert at the Langston Hughes Business Center this evening.
If you hear that LA YOUNG is performing anywhere...run do not walk to get your ticket!!
Larry Young. Radio One personality
ACCLAIM FOR L. A. YOUNG:
On behalf of Safeway and the thousands of guests who attended our event last week, I want to thank you, L.A. and the band for once again performing the most wonderful music for the Safeway Feast of Sharing. L A is among the best female vocalists performing anywhere, please thank her for donating her time to our Feast of Sharing at the DC Convention Center
The band is absolutely fantastic, and we truly appreciate the talent, warmth and passion they bring to the stage and our event.
I hope they can perform again next year, when we present the 20th Annual Safeway Feast of Sharing (a special milestone year, for sure) on November 20, 2019.
Thank you again!!
Safeway - Eastern Division
Sr. Manager, Community & Public Affairs
Many thanks again to LA and her awesome band for headlining our Concert for Causes Taste of Bowie Festival. The audience (well over 1000 at the Strayer University A Stage) could not believe her amazing voice they gave her several standing ovations! Her performance yesterday was phenomenal!
Please let her know how much we enjoyed it. So glad to hear that you are working with Brett on additional projects! She will be on our A list for many other Concerts for Causes events. Thank you again for all your support, and her crowd pleasing performance!
Taste of Bowie Festival
Concerts for Causes
December 4, 2017
Ms. L A Young
L A Young Entertainment, LLC
10821 Red Run Blvd.
PO Box 143
Dear L A:
On behalf of Safeway, and our partners that helped present the 2017 Safeway Feast of Sharing, I want to thank you and your band for performing at this year's event!
You and the band were truly a hit with the 5,000+ people that attended! We received countless positive comments about your wonderful voice and the incredible group of musicians in your band. Your presence went beyond entertainment and was inspirational.
We were delighted to have you and your band join us for this year's Feast of Sharing, and we hope to have the opportunity to work with you again.
Community and Public Affairs
Eastern Division, Safeway
To: Business Manager
L A Young
October 4, 2017
I would like to take this time to thank you for your artist LA Young opening for After 7, Eric Roberson and Kayla Waters at the 21st Annual Baltimore County African American Culture Festival on September 16th. It was indeed a pleasure to work with her and listen to her amazing vocals. L A and her excellent band brought her jazzy blues sound that was missing in our lineup and I appreciate her talent and so did our 3000+ audience. At a later date I would like to talk about bringing her back for next year's event. Again thank you.
The Baltimore County African American Cultural Festival
"On Sarturday March 11th (2017) L A Young and The Unusual Suspects was
at Melvin's Place. They gave a stunning performance; everybody enjoyed the
night so much they didn't want to leave; they want them back as soon as
possible. L A is a great vocalist! She has tremendous range and what an engaging entertainer, a must see! Thanks so much for all the time and effort you put into that
Melvin Sherbert (owner)
LA & the Unusual Suspects band is one of our best bands and has been performing at Lexington Market Lunchtime live Concert Series for many years.
I've contracted her to perform the last Saturday of each month 2013- 2015 because of the level of talent and the big draw of customers she attracts and look forward to doing the same in 2016. No other group is on that rotation or gets that many gigs at the market. So you know her talent is at a high level.
I highly recommend LA, she's a real crowd pleaser; knows how to get people moving, shaking and smiling. She would be a huge draw for any of your events in Baltimore.
Mrs. Darlene Hudson
Marketing and Promotions Manager
World Famous Lexington & Baltimore Public Markets