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In December 1976, Melba Moore made history at the Metropolitan Opera House. An Evening with Melba Mooreat the Met marked the first time a Black pop artist headlined a one-woman show at one of New York’s most prestigious venues, a breakthrough noted by Billboard and JET magazine alike. Moore’s triumphant performance was met with four curtain calls while a review in the New York Times described her voice as a “bewitching instrument” that’s steeped in a style of “improvisational daring, intensity and emotional involvement” (14 December 1976).


Moore remembers the thrill of standing on the same stage where contralto Marian Anderson had broken ground in 1955 as the first Black soloist from the world of opera to perform at the Met. “The way I really felt? I should be singing opera because that’s my natural voice!” she laughs. “I could sense the great tradition of classical music and my training. I didn’t feel so much that I was breaking through. I felt at home there.”

Whether performing the role of Fantine in Les Misérables on Broadway or singing the Bee Gees’ “You Stepped Into My Life” on Soul Train, Moore has dazzled audiences from stages of all kinds throughout her career. It’s a versatility that’s fueled her success in R&B, disco, pop, gospel, and musicals. True to form, her latest projects reflect that stylistic range. Teaming with DJ Terry Hunter and George Pettus Jr, Moore recently released “Just Doing Me” (2020), an irresistible club track that’s already topped the charts at Traxsource, one of the prime tastemakers in dance music. “I never lost my voice, I never lost my health, I never lost my praise,” she testifies in the breakdown. Her resilience drives the beat forward ...

[Click to read more of Melba Moore's interview with Christian John Wikane for PopMatters.]

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