Nona Hendryx, one-third of the pop-soul act LaBelle (of "Lady Marmalade" fame), is hard at work on her first new music in 10 years, including a planned reunion album with LaBelle members Patti LaBelle
Nona Hendryx, one-third of the pop-soul act LaBelle (of "Lady Marmalade" fame), is hard at work on her first new music in 10 years, including a planned reunion album with LaBelle members Patti LaBelle and Sarah Dash. Hendryx says the trio has laid out plans to record this year and is looking to release a project in 2007.
Meanwhile, new LaBelle material will appear in the form of two songs featured in the Cataland Films/Code Black Entertainment film "Preaching to the Choir." Due April 14 in U.S. theaters, the film premiered in October at the Chicago International Film Festival. A label for the soundtrack has yet to be determined.
The movie revolves around fraternal twins who part ways when one chooses a career in ministry while the other seeks hip-hop fame. Patti LaBelle stars as a choir director and also performs three new songs composed by Hendryx.
"The title song is the reunion song by Patti, Sarah and I, and that will be in the film's credits and also in the trailer," Hendryx tells Billboard.com. "We also did a song called 'Dear Rosa' as a tribute to Rosa Parks. Those two songs are sort of like our start."
LaBelle came to be soon after Cindy Birdsong left Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles in 1967 to replace Florence Ballard in the Supremes. The remaining trio hit it big in 1974 with "Lady Marmalade." After the group disbanded in 1976, Hendryx released a self-titled solo debut via Epic. Her last such effort was 1989's "Skin Diver" (Private Music).
Hendryx says her label, Rhythmbank Entertainment, will also play a role in the reunion album. Most of her projects are funneled through the company, which she formed two years ago with partner Bobby Banks. The roster currently includes singer/songwriter David Ryan Harris and 10-year-old gospel singer Najiyah.
As for Hendryx's solo project, the singer is looking to add more hip-hop components to the album and has reached out to several writers and producers, including M-1 of dead prez and Rahzel of the Roots. But Hendryx insists she plans to stick to her pop-rock style.
"I like that sort of young, street, edgy element that they bring to my more rock, melodic, song-structured creativity," she says. "It's about making that blend between R&B-rock music and making songs rather than just beats with flow on top. I'm looking to come up with classic songs."
Hendryx recently composed new music for the soundtrack to the Showtime series "Sleeper Cell," released Feb. 7 via Rhythmbank. Hendryx served as executive-producer of the album, as well as co-producer along with Grammy-nominated composer Paul Haslinger. "Half of the soundtrack is music I performed with Paul," says Hendryx. "The other half is music from the show."
The disc also features music from Sufjan Stevens, Tricky, Faithless and Citizen Cope. A podcast interview with Hendryx and Haslinger about the soundtrack will be available later this month via the Rhythmbank Web site, iTunes and the Showtime Web site.