Grammy-winning singer Regina Belle releases first album “The Day Life Began in 15 years. The album is a blend of R&B, gospel, jazz and country. She worked with music heavyweights, Jamie Jones of the group All-4-One and Jack Kugell recording 10 songs in five days on this project.
She makes it clear she never really “left” R&B, having still incorporated standards like “Baby, Come to Me” and “This Is Love” in her live shows.
“I took a little bit of a hiatus in terms of recording” R&B, she said of the two gospel CDs. “It was transition time. The twist was I just wanted folk to know that in the midst of whatever you are going through, there is a very real Presence of help in your time of trouble. The Gospel always comes in because the Gospel is the good news … I kind of incorporated it all. I just hadn’t recorded any R&B.”
“Now you know that was super crazy awesome,” she said, “especially when you have artists who go in the studio today and take a month to record a verse.”
It was important to her that every song have a message.
“You don’t work this many years in music without taking on the responsibility and accountability to let people know there’s another way out,” she said. “Even with singing R&B, it’s important to have a message.”
“A Night of Love,” for instance, is a tribute to her husband of 25 years, John Sidney Battle III, a former NBA player with whom she co-pastors two churches in metro Atlanta.
“Open Our Eyes” talks about what is happening in the world today. “Hey, it’s getting crazy out there,” she said. “It’s time to really start paying attention.”
And you can’t leave out the gospel on “He’s Alright,” and “God is definitely all right with me,” she said. “He’s been with me every step of the way through these 30 years of my career and these 52 years of my life.”
That was certainly clear in 2009 when Belle had surgery for a life-threatening brain tumor. The surgery left her clinically deaf in her left ear. She went though months of therapy, not being able to feed herself or walk without assistance.
She selected the title for the CD because it applies to all of life’s experiences whether it’s the first child, finding God, falling in love or discovering your passion.
“I have to be who I am,” she said. “I can’t compromise my music to become something else. I may try new things and experiment, sure, but I still have to be the quintessential Regina. I don’t think even younger audiences will be able to identify with me if I change who I am.”