Written by | Ray Cornelius
It’s been over 18 years since we last heard from R&B song-bird, Karyn White. She had a number of R&B dance hits in the late 80’s and early 90’s including, The Way you Love Me, Secret Rendezvous, and Romantic. But it was White’s song, Superwoman that became an anthem for many of her female fans around the world, garnering her Billboard’s R&B Song of the Year in 1989.
Now the self-proclaimed, ‘superwowan’ is back with a new album and a new song entitled, Sistah, Sistah, which she refers to as a “wakeup” call to all women.
RayCornelius.com recently had a chance to chat with White between flights to dish about her music, new business ventures and an encounter with Diana Ross that she will never forget!
RC: What has Karyn White been up to these days?
KW: Wow! First and foremost, being a mother. My daughter, Ashley Lewis, is a first year student at Howard University majoring in broadcasting and journalism. I am also an entrepreneur, interior designer and real estate investor. I found that I like doing interior design because it’s very creative. It’s like writing a song, you take something from nothing. Most recently, within the last three years, I’ve gotten back into the entertainment business. And I’ve been executive producing a reality show with Jeremy Silvers.
RC: Is this reality show part of your new multi-media-lifestyle company, Karyn White Enterprises, Inc.?
KW: Yes! And it should be coming out real soon. It’s called, No Silver Spoon and is about the second generation of the legendary musical family, The Silvers.
RC: The Silvers were featured on last season of TV One’s, Unsung, right?
KW: Yes. Leon Silvers was very instrumental in starting the careers of Baby face, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Leon is a much underrated producer.
RC: Let’s talk about your new single, Sistah, Sistah that was recently released on iTunes in December of 2011. This was actually a song you’d written in 2006 but never released, right?
KW: No. Actually it was a title at that point. The good thing about song writing is that you never know. I call it [unreleased songs/music] ‘the vault’ and I learned that from Prince. You keep your good ideas in a vault and the great ones will have a life because they are great after time.
So, I’m very excited to release, Sistah, Sistah. It’s a song that talks about the truth of women and sistahs. It’s about looking at ourselves in the mirror and not so much judging what men or others think. It’s basically about us coming together and representing the women that we should be and being accountable to one another. I think it’s a real a wake-up call.
RC: Is this single part of a new album?
KW: Oh, yes! I just finished it in Sacramento. I’m so excited. It’s hot! It’s really, I think, my best body of work. I’ve got ten songs. The dance singles are slammin! The ballads are incredible. Vocally, I’m totally just like a new artist. I feel like I’ve just totally reinvented my whole self. You know I probably would win the award for the artist who has been away the longest and making a comeback. But I feel greater and the music will speak for itself.
RC: Your first solo project debut in 1988 when the traditional R&B sound was slowly becoming what would be known as “New Jack Swing”…a stylistic mixture of R&B and Hip Hop. How did you cope with this changing trend?
KW: Yeah, actually I did great. I’m part of that 1% to have their first album go double platinum, and three gold singles. I dealt with it well, because good songs are always timeless. And I was able to do the dance stuff but also sing a song like, Superwoman. And that little song had a life that touched so many people.
RC: Speaking of Superwoman! Did you know that it was going to be as big of a hit as it was at the time you recorded it?
KW: Of course you never know. You have a feeling. Just like I didn’t know that it would be among the Top100 songs written by Babyface. It’s an incredible feeling that you just feel and you hope that everyone else feels it too. You try to do things that are relatable and make sure the music is there. The melody is there. And the lyrics! Those three ingredients and a great label that believes in you, is what are most important.
RC: I remember having the biggest crush on you when I was a teenager growing up in Orlando, Florida. (LOL) My sister took me to see you in concert as part of The Budweiser Super Fest. I must say, you had me mesmerized!
KW: WOW! Do you know that just makes me (pause) That brings back some memories? I am smiling from ear to ear right now. So that must have been one of your first concerts?
RC: Actually, my first concert was Diana Ross. And she had me spellbound as well.
KW: Wow! It’s so funny that you mention her. I have a similar story…I was in London, right after that Orlando, show and Diana Ross was performing there. So I’m at the concert and she comes into the audience singing. She sees me and is like, Karyn White! And I’m like, “OMG! Diana Ross, Icon of the World knows me?” So, I know the feeling.
Isn’t it just wonderful how you have these memories? You know, that is the beauty of music. It takes you back to an era and a time and I’m glad that I am part of your memory.
For more information about Karyn White and her single, Sistah, Sistah, log onto www.karynsworld.com