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Heather Headley (born October 5, 1974) is a Trinidadian-American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. She won the 2000 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for the titular role of Aida. She also won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album for her album Audience of One. In 2018, she recurred as Gwen Garrett on the NBC medical drama television series Chicago Med.
|Born||October 5, 1974|
Barataria, Trinidad and Tobago
|Labels||RCA, EMI Gospel|
Headley was born in Trinidad, the daughter of Hannah and Eric Headley (Barbadian). In 1989, she moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana in the United States at the age of fifteen with her mother and brother Eric Junior when her father was offered a job as pastor of McKee Street Church of God with headquarters in Anderson, Indiana. Headley attended Northrop High School, and was a member of their resident show choir, Charisma, and starred as Fanny Brice in the school's production of Funny Girl. After graduating from Northrop High School, Headley attended Northwestern University from 1993 to 1996, to study communications and musical theatre until the last day of her junior year, when she made the decision to become a part of the musical Ragtime and drop out of school.
In 2003, Headley married Brian Musso, an investment advisor who briefly played for the New York Jets. Both attended Northwestern University. On December 1, 2009, they welcomed their first child John David. Headley had her second son Jordan Chase August 18, 2014. In April 2019, the couple welcomed a third child, a daughter.
In 1997, she originated the role of Nala in the Broadway musical The Lion King. Headley's performance was well received, and she then originated the title role in the Broadway adaptation of Aida, earning the Tony Award for Best Actress in 2000. In 1999, she appeared in the Encores! staged concert production of Do Re Mi, with Nathan Lane, Randy Graff, and Brian Stokes Mitchell. She starred in an Actors' Fund of America benefit concert version of the musical Dreamgirls alongside Audra McDonald and Lillias White in 2001.
In the autumn of 2006, Heather performed Hal David and Burt Bacharach's song "I'll Never Fall In Love Again", from the 1968 musical Promises, Promises, for "The Kennedy Center Presents: The 2006 Mark Twain Prize", honoring playwright Neil Simon. The ceremony was later broadcast on PBS.
On July 5, 2007, Headley made a guest appearance for Andrea Bocelli's Vivere Live in Tuscany concert in Lajatico, Italy. They performed Vivo Per Lei and The Prayer. Headley sang "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" (also known as "America") with Josh Groban on January 18, 2009, during the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. On March 12, 2009, Headley sang "I Wish" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
From November 2012 until August 2013, Headley played the role of Rachel Marron, in the musical adaptation of Whitney Houston's 1992 movie, The Bodyguard at London's Adelphi Theatre. She was nominated for an Olivier Award and a What's On Stage Award for this performance.
Headley released her debut album, This Is Who I Am, in October 2002 with RCA Records. Although its first single, "He Is", was not very successful, the second single, "I Wish I Wasn't", achieved moderate success. The work on this album earned her a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and for Best New Artist making her the first Tony Award winner to be nominated for this award.
Her second album, In My Mind (2006) was delayed due to the various executive shake-ups associated with RCA parent BMG's merger with Sony. Under BMG North America chairman/CEO Clive Davis for the first time, Headley released her second album In My Mind in January 2006. The title track "In My Mind" (written and produced by India.Arie collaborator Shannon Sanders) was released as the first single; and its music video was directed by Diane Martel. The song reached number-one on the U.S. Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. The second single "Me Time" was sent to Urban AC radio only. An album track, "Am I Worth It", served to promote Headley's New March of Dimes Educational Campaign "I Want My 9 Months".
In December 2010, Headley performed a duet version of "Blue Christmas" and "My Prayer" with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli on his "My Christmas" tour in 5 US cities. At the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, on December 4, 2010, the audience insisted on a second encore with Bocelli. Bocelli had to summon the detail to go and bring her back on stage.
In September 2013, Headley appeared on America's Got Talent with Il Divo and sang "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" from The Lion King. She also appeared with Il Divo on Broadway for a limited concert run in 2013.
|Title||Details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|This Is Who I Am||38||14||
|In My Mind||
|Audience of One||
|Only One in the World||
|Broadway My Way||
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released to that country|
|Playlist: The Very Best of Heather Headley||
|Year||Song||Peak chart positions||Album|
|US Hot 100||US R&B||US Dance||US AC||US Gospel||Hot Adult R&B|
|1999||"A Step Too Far" (with Elton John and Sherie Rene Scott)||—||—||—||15||—||—||Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida|
|2002||"He Is"||90||38||4||—||—||1||This Is Who I Am|
|2003||"I Wish I Wasn't"||55||15||5||—||—||1|
|2005||"In My Mind"||75||16||1||—||—||2||In My Mind|
|2008||"Jesus Is Love"||—||59||—||—||10||29||Audience of One|
|"Do You Hear What I Hear?"||—||—||—||—||—||—||Non-album single|
|2012||"A Little While"||—||—||—||—||—||—||Only One in the World|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|"Can You Feel the Love Tonight"||1997||The Lion King on Broadway Cast Recording|
|"The Madness of King Scar"|
|"Love Will Find a Way" (with Kenny Lattimore)||1998||Return to Pride Rock|
|"Just One Dream"||2001||Golden Dreams (film at Disney California Adventure Park)|
|"People Get Ready" (with Al Green)||2009||Oh Happy Day|
|2000||Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical||Aida||Won|
|2000||Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical||Aida||Won|
|2000||Sarah Siddons Award||Work in Chicago theatre||Won|
|2013||Whatsonstage.com Awards||Best Actress The Bodyguard||Nominated|
|2013||Olivier Awards||Best Actress The Bodyguard||Nominated|
|2002||Soul Train Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist||"He Is"||Nominated|
|2003||Billboard Music Award for R&B/Hip-Hop New Artist of the Year||N/A||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Award for Outstanding New Artist||N/A||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Female Artist||N/A||Nominated|
|Soul Train Lady of Soul Award for R&B/Soul Album of the Year - Solo||"This Is Who I Am"||Won|
|Soul Train Lady of Soul Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist - Solo||"He Is"||Won|
|Soul Train Lady of Soul Award for Best R&B/Soul Single - Solo||"He Is"||Nominated|
|2004||Grammy Award for Best New Artist||"N/A"||Nominated|
|Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||"I Wish I Wasn't"||Nominated|
|2006||BET J/Centric for Cool Like That Award||N/A||Nominated|
|2010||Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance||"Jesus Is Love"||Nominated|
|Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album||"Audience Of One"||Won|
- Heather Headley on playing an unpopular boss on 'Chicago Med': 'I love it!' The Grio. September 27, 2018.
- "Heather Headley Biography" FilmReference.com, accessed August 28, 2011
- Jones, Kenneth. "June 10 is Heather Headley Day in Fort Wayne, IN" playbill, June 10, 2000
- Yang, Rachel. "Northwestern alumna Heather Headley replaces Jennifer Hudson in Broadway’s 'The Color Purple'" dailynorthwestern.com, May 12, 2016
- Paulson, Michael (July 5, 2016). "Heather Headley's 15-Year Intermission". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
- "In Step With Heather Headley"Parade, accessed August 28, 2011
- "Heather Headley on Twitter: "The Commander has summoned a Lieutenant...We're a little nervous, a lot excited, & so overwhelmed with the miracle.."". Twitter. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
- "Heather Headley and Husband Welcome Third Child". April 22, 2019.
- "Headley Broadway" playbill (vault), accessed February 14, 2019
- Jones, Kenneth. "Stokes Mitchell & Heather Headley to Sing 'Do Re Mi' w/ Nathan Lane May 6-9" playbill, April 23, 1999
- Portantiere, Michael. "Review. 'Dreamgirls'" theatermania.com, September 25, 2001
- Gans, Andrew, "'Obama Inauguration Celebration', with Beyonce, Headley, Usher, Latifah, Broadcast Jan. 18" Archived January 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Playbill.com, January 18, 2009.
- " The Bodyguard Musical leads the way with 4 Olivier Award nominations" showsinlondon.co.uk, April 26, 2013
- "Bodyguard musical star Heather Headley wants to make Whitney role her own". BBC. May 2, 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
- ""I Will Always Love You" - Heather Headley (The Bodyguard Musical)". YouTube. June 14, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
- "Jennifer Hudson to Exit 'Color Purple'; Enter Heather Headley". The New York Times. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
- Brody, Richard. "Spike Lee's "She's Gotta Have It" Remake Is a Panorama of Anguish, Ambition, and Identity". The New Yorker. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
- This Is Who I Am allmusic.com, accessed February 15, 2019
- In My Mind allmusic.com, accessed February 15, 2019
- Price, Deborah Evans (March 27, 2009). "Jon Bon Jovi, Queen Latifah go gospel for "Day"". Reuters.
- "Heather Headley Grammy" grammy.com, accessed February 14, 2019
- Gans, Andrew. "Tony Winner Heather Headley Will Join Andrea Bocelli for December Concert Tour" playbill, September 14, 2010
- Rodman, Sarah. "Singing in the season" The Boston Globe, December 3, 2010
- Powers, Keith."Andrea Bocelli delivers highs, lows" Boston Herald, December 7, 2010
- One in the World allmusic.com, accessed February 14, 2019
- Champion, Lindsay. "B'way Meets Opera! Watch Il Divo & Heather Headley Sing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" on America’s Got Talent" broadway.com, September 19, 2013
- Hetrick, Adam. "Il Divo – A Musical Affair, With Heather Headley, Concludes Broadway Engagement Nov. 13" playbill, November 13, 2013
- "'Sweet Magnolias': Monica Potter, Brooke Elliott & Heather Headley to Headline Netflix Series". May 30, 2019.
- "Tony Winner Heather Headley Releases Solo Album Broadway My Way November 14 | Playbill". Playbill. November 14, 2018. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
- "Awardees" sarahsiddonssociety.org, accessed February 14, 2019
- "Full list: Winners announced of the 2013 Whatsonstage.com Awards" whatsonstage.com, 17 February 2013