The powerful singing voice of R&B singer Karyn White is one that is unequivocally the most distinctive voices you’ll ever hear. Listening to the eloquently beautiful White pour out her rangy seductive falsetto is the equivalent to a maestro bringing his well-rehearsed orchestra into one soaring, symphonic harmonic wave.
For the last 18 years, White’s incredulous voice has been missing in action from the airways, except for the replaying of some of well-known hits from the late 1980s and early 1990s, including her chart-topping smash, “Superwoman.”
Well, nearly two decades removed from putting out her last album, White is back on the scene doing what she loves to do: making great music. The soulful, sultry singing siren who is known for hits like “Romantic,” “Secret Rendezvous,” and “Love Saw It,” will be wooing music listeners with her latest CD, “Carpe Diem.”
It’s been a long time coming for White’s fan base. At the height of her skyrocketing musical career, White toned her fame way down in exchange for the quiet routine of family life. She married musician and super producer Terry Lewis. She and Lewis produced a daughter, Ashley, now a student at Howard University.
Well-grounded in the trenches of family life, White was content with where she was at. Any ambitions to make music evaporated when she took on the role of a wife and mother. Life was good. White was in a good place in her life.
“I wasn’t really trying to make any more records,” White told News4usonline.com in a phone interview. “I just felt comfortable what I contributed in music. You really have to be, I believe, called and led to be in this industry. It’s a different sacrifice…You have to be spiritually incorporated as well.
“That’s why a lot of artists struggle with maintaining their saneness in this industry. Raising my daughter, that’s was where my focus was-to be a good parent. After I did that, I feel better. I feel rejuvenated. I just feel like this is my purpose to do this, to comeback and to kind of rekindle my love affair with music.”
But just like the music industry going through its own unforeseen makeover from the time she was in the business in her earlier heyday to its current state, White was dealing with her own transition.
She and Lewis divorced and parted ways. Motherhood dominated her life. Life as a real estate investor was paying dividends. Eventually though, the stronghold of parenthood and helping out potential home buyers, lessened their grips on White, and gave way to her cravings to create music again. Those urges turned into a full-fledge devotion to come back and make the kind of music that has endeared White to millions of fans worldwide.
”Following in the footsteps of “Superwoman,” a moving anthem many women rallied around, White’s “Sista Sista” cut on “Carpe Diem,” could very well be another powerful homage to that demographic group. Similar in tone of the self-reflective “Superwoman, “Sista Sista” is more or less a rallying call for women unification, said White.
“Sista Sista is women empowerment. I definitely empower women with my music. “Sista Sista” is really a love letter to females about us coming together more,” White said.
White believes that “Carpe Diem” could be her best music to date.
“It’s an incredible album,” White said. “It’s my best work. It’s just a great piece of work. Good music never dies. I feel like this record got a lot of soul, got a lot of spirit. “Carpe Diem” is the name of the album, which means the end of the day. That’s what I think the record is all about, whether it’s in love, and business. It just has a lot of personality. I call it my re-introduction of myself. I feel, vocally, I am a lot better. It’s a great product.”
Vocally and lyrically, it’s hard to imagine any single matching up with “Superwoman,” White’s megahit that spoke powerfully to a woman’s endless, and sometimes taken-for-granted, multi-tasking job of balancing work, being a wife and being a mother. Though White has had great success with other hit songs, none have come close to the spiritual and sisterhood-bonding impact of “Superwoman.”
White was young and single when she made her signature tune. Now that she has walked down the path of being a mother and a wife, White said she can definitely relate more to the song now than she could when she recorded the song.
“Being a wife and a mother, I totally identify with it,” White said. “Women, we’re kind of schizophrenic… because we have to play a lot of different roles. We have to be strong, yet submissive. It takes a lot of strength, but a lot of humility at the same time. I definitely can relate to being a superwoman. I was such a young lady singing that song. I hadn’t really lived life to where I really understood it.
“But now that I look back on it as I’m older, it was just an honest record. The lyrics were just an incredible definition of what people could relate to. It had all the components. You know, of course, Babyface (Kenneth Edmonds) and L.A. (Antonio Reid) are just incredible. I’m just one of those hundreds of Top Ten records that they’ve had in their careers. It was just a brilliant record that touched the heart and dreams. You hope to have one of them in your career, and I did. I’m blessed.”
Eighteen years is a long time to be away from any profession, let alone an industry like the music industry, where hitmakers and trends come and go as fast as a Mike Tyson left uppercut to an opponent’s ribcage. But if anybody is built to come back and stay in the game, White is that type of individual.
She still has the goods. She looks great. Her voice is as strong, if not stronger than before. A bit older and a lot wiser, White has the spiritual fortitude and artistic creativity to stay on top.
“The greatest thing about my approach to singing is it came from my heart, and sometimes as an artist you can be in your mind. That’s not what music is about,” White said. “It is, in fact, art. So the fact that I had been singing, I realized when I started, how much better I was approaching it-really singing from my heart and studying. I just approached it like a fighter who is getting back in the ring, studying, vocally-starting from the beginning and humbling myself. It’s been great. It’s coming from the heart. I’m not looking or expecting anything. I’m excited. I’m just thankful people are supporting me. When you come from that position you’re just content with everything.”