dgbannerDeletta Gillespie, a multidisciplinary performing artist, singer-songwriter and educator

deletta the badass S2L3Having walked away from two record deals over the course of her twenty-plus years in the music industry, singer/songwriter and performing artist Deletta Gillespie has finally realized her dream of becoming a recording artist, and she’s done it on her own terms.

Gillespie’s first outing as a recording artist is called TRIUMPH(ant). The album is an eclectic collection of songs that celebrate triumphing over life’s challenges and the lessons learned in that process.

The music is firmly rooted in classic r&b and jazz, yet flavored with Gillespie’s favorite musical styles. The genres of jazz, blues, adult contemporary, reggae, and dance are all represented on this release.

There’s even an ever so slight nod to the hybrid of African and Celtic music, popularized by groups such as the UK’s Afro-Celt Sound System. Gillespie wrote the music for nine of the ten tracks, and co-wrote lyrics on three of those nine tracks with spoken word artist Shameeka Dream and singer/songwriter Novelair Peele.

Deletta Gillespie – Spring to Life Concert 3/11/2011

The cd was also recorded live in front of an audience. Says Gillespie, “I wanted my first release to be representative of my strength, which is live performance. So we recorded at my church before a live audience. I wanted the music to have a nearly raw, organic feel.

IMG_7826I didn’t use autotune, nor did we punch in anything afterwards. When we screwed up, we rerecorded the whole tune right in front of the audience. The only overdubs are a couple of saxophone parts, the backing vocals, and the guitar.

I did all the backing vocals, and my sound engineer, who’s also a guitarist, laid the guitar parts in post-production because the guitarist was a no show on the day of the recording.

We kept the usual post-production wizardry to a bare minimum. I just wanted the project to be as uncluttered and unfiltered as possible.”

Deletta Gillespie-Spring to Life Concert…Love Reign

While the collection of songs on TRIUMPH(ant) is reflective of many of Gillespie’s musical tastes, nearly every song is infused with a message of self-empowerment or of social and spiritual relevance. “I didn’t intend that. I just wrote what came to me. Even the title came to me in a dream.” A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Deletta Gillespie is a multidisciplinary performing and teaching artist.

jcLduZT5ob2OXJSV29MJJqCxwJyl4_iInbnZGFghALg,XAch69FIk9znAG6sp2OvaDbnNI7R4AYXsgFGRvDaMeMBorn into a show business family, both parents were musicians and backed legendary superstars of the 1950’s and ‘60’s such as The Ink Spots, The Shirelles and many others.

Gillespie made her debut at age five in her mom’s nightclub act in Kansas City and sang in church choirs and school productions through high school.

Attending college on a jazz music scholarship while studying musical theatre performance helped her further hone her trademark vocal versatility and energetic presentational style.

While she easily glides between repertoire ranging from classical to rock to broadway, she admits to camping out at the intersection of classic and neo-soul, classic and contemporary jazz, and the blues.

She’s been in dozens of theatre productions, including The Hot Mikado, Livin’ Fat, The Boys from Syracuse, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and 7:32, an original musical and national runner up in the 2009 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Deletta Gillespie featuring Kevin Jackson – Ready to Love

She was a featured soloist in the Broadway in Bermuda concert series for three years, performing alongside Broadway stars Carolee Carmello (City of Angels), Sharon Wilkins  (Seussical), Nike Rene (Once on This Island) Michael James Leslie (Little Shop of Horrors), and others. Other highlights include performing in the English Pocket Opera Company’s production of ‘Carmen’, and two appearances in the Bermuda Jazz Festival opening for Patti Austin, and New York Voices.

Triumph postcard backShe’s also opened for Lalah Hathaway, and British music icons Paul Carrack, and Judi Tzuke. She’s even performed for the late Michael Jackson. Deletta has performed in all over the US and several countries around the world.

She spent a year at sea singing onboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and has fronted showbands in Atlantic City and the Nevada casino circuit.

She took a hiatus from music when she moved back to the US in 2006 to earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Theatre Arts at Towson University in Baltimore.

But in 2010, she realized how much she needed to get back to her first love – music. Since then she has worked with a diverse group of artists based in the Washington D.C./Baltimore corridor including Kim Jordan, Chelsey Green, Marc Evans and Soul Centered, Big Daddy Stallings, Ray Gaskins, Buddy Jordan, 83 South, Kevin Jackson, and Crosstown Traffic.

Currently she fronts The Clockwork Band and The Pakiva Bluz Band, as well as her own group, Deletta & Company. In addition to her musical credits, Deletta has also written  seven plays, with two of them seeing multiple productions. Her play The Magic City Massacre was selected for a reading at the Alternate RootsCreative Conversion.

All Blues

Alternate Roots is a theatre organization dedicated to providing  support for theatrical artists who create work around the themes of justice and social change. The Magic City Massacre went on to enjoy runs at both Towson and Morgan State Universities. Her play What a Girl Wants has enjoyed runs in the US and Bermuda.

1014265_10152374078144897_987625481_nIn Bermuda, the play raised over $15,000 for the Women’s Resource Center, a charity providing assistance and support for women and families impacted by domestic violence. Gillespie is member of the Theatre Arts faculty at Morgan State University.

She holds Level I and II vocal pedagogy certifications in Somatic VoiceWorksTM, is a member of VASTA (Voice and Speech Teachers of America) and offers private coaching in acting and voice. Gillespie is also director of the music ministry at The Spiritual Empowerment CenterBaltimore.

Deletta Gillespie in concert, Morgan State University, June 8th. 2013

triumphant cd cover 001

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For more information including bookings,
please email delettagillespie@gmail.com, or call 443.600.7693.

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