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Interview with Norma Jean Wright (from Chic)

Ohio born Norma Jean Wright was the orginal lead singer of the famous band Chic. Due to the enormous success of Chic with several international hits, Norma was given the opportunity to do a serie of solo recordings and as a result her funky 'Love Attack' came out in 1983. A gorgeous uplifting track that truly represents the originality, quality and finesse that seemed to be so common and natural in those 'golden years'. Love Attack is one of my all-time favorites for it's irresistible bassline, fresh breaks and superb vocals. Always indemand as it deserves to be, this one is getting harder and harder to find on black wax.

Hi Norma, it's an honor to have this interview with you and i would like to ask you some questions about the making of 'Love Attack'. You told me that you were not aware about this record being in demand and that you wanted to know where and why it is sought after. Well, i do know that it is sought after by soul/funk collectors around the globe and I guess that can only be because it's such a fantastic track :) Can you tell me a bit about how you got involved in this project?

Norma Jean Wright:

I became involved with this track through the former president of Atlantic Records Jerry Greenburg, it was released on his Mirage label. The song was co-written and produced by 'Skip' Anderson. Skip is Luther Vandross's keyboardist. He also wrote the hit song 'There's Nothing Better Than Love' that Luther sang with Gregory Hines.

Do you remember where it was recorded and was it an easy task to do?

Norma Jean Wright:

The song was recorded at Atlantic Studios. It was a relatively simple session.

When i listen to 'Love Attack', i'm always stunned by the wonderful, transparant music and your smooth yet powerful voice. When was the last time you heard your record? Or are you going to tell me that you don't own a copy? :)

Norma Jean Wright:

You know, i do have one copy of 'Love Attack' but i never gave the song any thought until i received your email. I actually listened to the song last week. I must admit i was totally suprised that it's sought after.

Well, many 'oldschool' artists don't seem to realize, or even appreciate, the great music they recorded back in the days. I'm glad that my email made you blow the dust off your record and actually enjoy your funky bomb again after many years. Do you remember how the response was on your 12 inch? Did you hear it being played at the clubs or even on the radio?

Norma Jean Wright:

Yes, i do remember hearing it on the radio and in the clubs and i was suprised because this song really wasn't a big commercial success here, so how did you hear about it?

Many pirate radiostations in Europe used to play U.S. imports, that's how most of us learned about the good 80's classics. Nowadays with mp3 and internet radiostations, younger generations are able to discover fantastic tracks like your 'Love Attack'. Question: I assume that back in the early 80's you had a very busy schedule recording music with Chic and touring the world with this monumental band. Did you have time anyway for a solo career?

Norma Jean Wright:

Yes. I actually toured myself but i never included 'Love Attack' in the lineup. You know Luci Martin and i perform a lot of our classic hits from Chic even now, so who knows maybe at some point, i will incorporate Love Attack in the show. We do a lot of clubs and track dates all over the world and will be in Holland on May 15.

Putting Love Attack in your show won't hurt anybody, your public might even get a 'Dance Attack' :) Now, i know you recorded another splendid 12 inch called 'Every Bit Of This Love' in 1985. Did you record other 12 inches in this period that we should know about?

Norma Jean Wright:

Yes, I recorded "Every Bit Of This Love" produced by Hubert Eaves on MCA Records and another 12 inch entitled "A Shot In The Dark" on MCA, produced by Raymond Jones.

Did you do also backing vocals for other bands, besides your career with Chic and your solo recordings? Can you name a few?

Chic with Norma Jean Wright in 1977

Norma Jean Wright:

I performed on a lot of other sessions as a background vocalist, some of the names are as follows: Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Madonna, C&C Music Factory, Spinners, Stephanie Mills, and many others.

That's an impressive curriculum with impressive names there... In those incredible early- and mid 80's so much quality music was made. What is your feeling about the music of those years and todays music?

Norma Jean Wright:

Music back in the 80's relied more on talent. Today there is so much technology that it enables even mediocre talent to shine. Also with the popularity of videos, i think the visual has taken precedence over talent. Before it was about how well you could sing, now it's about how good you look. However there are talents out there like Beyoncé that not only look the part but she can really sing as well.

How has your career been going after Chic and your solo recordings? Are you still active in music business?

Norma Jean Wright:

Yes, I 'm still active in the music industry. I continue to write, you may be familiar with a song of mine that has done very well, entitled "Rising To The Top", it has been sampled by so many artist, Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J, etc. I co-wrote this song with Keni Burke. Also I co-manage an artist by the name of Reina here in the states, and as I mentioned previously, Luci Martin and I continue to perform throughout the world. Also, I have a song being released by the Poundboys entitled "You Lift Me Up'. I will keep you and other fans, posted on my upcoming activities.

That's very interesting. I did not know you were involved in this all-time classic. The U.S. 12' copy of Keni's track is also very rare and indemand for if you didn't know. Norma, thanks a lot for this interview. Leaves me to say that your music will never be forgotten. Thanks for giving us 'Love Attack' and i hope to hear you singing it 'live' one day. :) Is there anything you would like to say to your old and new fans?

Norma Jean Wright:

I would just like to thank you and all of my fans for their continued love and support.

With Love, Norma Jean

April, 2004

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