Lalah Hathaway is the daughter of Donny Hathaway, one of the pioneers of soul music. While she has lived her whole life in the shadow of her famous father, the songstress has enjoyed more than two decades in the music business, based on her reputation for putting out classic and timeless tunes wrought with her edgy, silky style. In advance of her show this weekend at the Vail Soul Music Festival, we spoke with Hathaway about her creative process and her new album, Where It All Begins, due out in October.
Westword: People often associate you with your father, Donny, right?
Lalah Hathaway: You know, it's something I've lived with all of my life. I've always been mindful of his legacy while carving my own path and doing my own thing. I think it's funny when people ask, but I've been twenty years in the business, and it still happens.
You've mentioned before that you're inspired by many things, like dreams. What else pushes you to creativity?
I'm inspired by things all around me. I'm inspired by daylight savings time, being at a baseball game, a sunset; it really only matters what's happening at the time. I can become inspired and want to write something right away.
Your latest album, Where It All Begins, is coming out in October. With so much experience in the music world, the title seems a bit ironic, right?
You know, it honestly does. What's so funny is that I've been in the music industry for twenty years, and I have learned so much about the business. This album is about the foundation of my music, where I came from and how I evolved through soul music. Back in the '70s, there was no categorization of the soul sound. Hall and Oates was soul to me. Soul music is based on a feeling, and this is a great answer to coming full circle.
Have you been to Vail before? What are you looking forward to?
We love playing festivals. Summer is a perfect time to get intimate with the audience and enjoy the surroundings. I've never been to Vail, but I'm really looking forward to it. I hear it's beautiful, and I must drink a lot of water and take an aspirin or two because of the altitude, but we're really looking forward to it. When I think about summertime and family reunions, barbecues and things like that, music was the most common factor. Playing outdoor festivals is a lot like that. I like to get right there with the audience and experience it with them.