Q&A: Lalah Hathaway—Even Greater

Lalah Hathaway is now a 3-time Grammy winner. When the soulful singer/songwriter spoke with SoulTrain.com in January, she was celebrating her 25th anniversary in the recording industry. Lalah was also excited for her Best Traditional R&B Performance nomination for “Little Ghetto Boy”, a classic originated by her late father, soul legend Donny Hathaway. She said, “I’ve won 2 in the last 2 years. To be nominated for essentially a Donny Hathaway song, a performance like his made at The Troubadour where he performed his, was such an honor and such a full-circle moment. It’s been…the greatest one ever.”

Lalah Hathaway returned to SoulTrain.com to tell us why the third time was indeed the charm.

lalah_hathaway_wireimage-510445912_mike_windleSoulTrain.com: When we spoke before, you called your Best Traditional R&B Performance nomination for “Little Ghetto Boy” the greatest one ever. How did it feel to win?

Lalah Hathaway: It was surreal! I occasionally still watch it happening and still can’t superimpose myself into it. It was super sweet for me because it was my father’s song. I feel like, in my mind, I rang a bell I didn’t even know I needed to ring. I can’t even really explain to you what it is. It has been the sweetest so far.

SoulTrain.com: This was your third Grammy. How does this win compare to the first and the second? And has that feeling of winning a Grammy evolved at all from one to the next?

Lalah Hathaway: I don’t know that it evolved; the only difference is, and it’s a big difference, but the first two were on records that I featured on. While they’re me, they’re not actually under my name in that way. This award is so much of me, and who I am and how I’ve grown up. It really makes a statement for me because it’s my father’s song. So it’s completely different.

SoulTrain.com: So, do you feel like you need to win one that’s…

Lalah Hathaway: …that’s solely me and on my own merits?

SoulTrain.com: Right!

Lalah Hathaway: Yeah, I’d like to win 17 that are solely me! Or 18 that are solely me! But I don’t have a problem or a qualm representing for my parents, for being acknowledged and awarded for my dad’s song. I feel like that’s a beautiful thing! If they only ever give me awards for Donny Hathaway songs as long as I live, I don’t have a problem with that either. It doesn’t ever faze me that people connect me with Donny Hathaway.

SoulTrain.com: Over the course of your 25 years in the recording industry, you’ve earned a great deal of respect from your peers. What type of response are you getting from them regarding this win?

Lalah Hathaway: I’m getting a huge response! And the thing that I hear most often is, “You deserved it.” That is so heartwarming! That’s almost as good as actually winning. People feel like you did great and [are] glad you were acknowledged for that. A lot of times people just say “congratulations” and leave it at that; and I’m getting a lot of people saying “you deserved it,” which really makes me feel good.

For more on Lalah Hathaway, visit her official website. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @lalahhathaway.

—Mr. Joe Walker

Mr. Joe Walker is an urban and pop culture enthusiast. Known as “The Word Heavyweight Champion”, the biographer, author, entertainment and celebrity journalist, and columnist is

currently a senior writer for SoulTrain.com, staff writer for Muskegon Tribune Newspaper, and writer of weekly classic hip-hop reviews for Concrete Magazine’s Concrete615.com. Also co-creator of TheGrooveSpot.com, Walker’s acclaimed, award-winning work has been published thousands of times regionally, nationally, internationally, and online. He is also working on a book project with Liquid Arts & Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @mrjoewalker, connect with him on Facebook, and also visit his blog MrJoeWalker.blogspot.com.

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