A Raelette On Ray Charles: Angela Workman Interview As a backup singer, Angela Workman was one of Weekend Edition host Liane Hansen's first music interviews. For Hansen's 20th anniversary show, Workman spoke about the legacy of Ray Charles, and what she's been up to since.
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A Raelette On Ray Charles

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A Raelette On Ray Charles

A Raelette On Ray Charles

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THE RAELETTES: (Singing) I can't stop loving you...


Twenty years ago, Angela Workman was touring with the legendary Ray Charles as one of his five backup singers, The Raelettes.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. RAY CHARLES (Musician): Friends, we're going to get the girls up here now -all five. Here are the Raelettes right now.

(Soundbite of music)

HANSEN: Twenty years ago, I had the chance to interview Angela Workman and I'd like to welcome her back to the program. Hi, Angela.

Ms. ANGELA WORKMAN (Former Raelette): Hi, how are you?

HANSEN: I'm well. It's hard to believe 20 years has passed since we last spoke.

Ms. WORKMAN: I know. It's like fast forward.

HANSEN: Yeah, pretty much. So, how long did you stay a Raelette after our interview in 1989?

Ms. WORKMAN: Let's see, I was with Ray for 11 years.


Ms. WORKMAN: And I had met you just when I came out of college, and that was my first job right out of college is to tour with Ray.

HANSEN: No kidding.

Ms. WORKMAN: Talking about trying to find yourself traveling in the world.

HANSEN: That's true, absolutely. Well, Mr. Charles died in 2004. So, what have you been doing?

Ms. WORKMAN: Oh my goodness, you know, as a legacy to Mr. C - that's what we lovingly called him - he taught me so much and I really felt that I was an apprentice to him. He would always give me, you know, different things on how to improve as a professional vocalist. And he would always tell me stories about how I have accountability to my public and this is what I'm going to have to do.

So, it was almost like he had a sixth sense to see that I was going to on to have a solo professional career, which that's what I've been doing. I actually recorded my first CD this year with the piano player from Spyro Gyra.


Ms. WORKMAN: And it's called "Moonflowers," Angela Workman "Moonflowers."

(Soundbite of song, "More Than Just Love")

Ms. WORKMAN: (Singing) They were saying a thirst to know, both folks knew the miles our hearts had to go�

It gives a homage to Ray as well as just the collection of lyrics that I wrote while I was touring with Ray, what I was observing. So, it's almost like my diary on the road set to music.

HANSEN: Did you have to take a day job?

Ms. WORKMAN: I did. And, you know what, for all the different performers that are out there, our economy is really tough right now. So, it's almost like you need a supporting job to be able to support the art that you do. I call myself a corporate entertainer because it encompasses so many different things. I took a position as a receptionist and then that evolved into voiceover work and countless other things. When my company would need vocal backgrounds for different people, for tree lighting or whatever, they would be bring me into the fold.

So, I used the day job as a wonderful way of connecting to the public in making me a better performer and a better writer. It's just a different stage.

HANSEN: You know, the music business has changed quite a bit in the 20 years since we spoke. Is it easier to get your music to an audience these days, given all the platforms that exist out there now?

Ms. WORKMAN: It absolutely is. It is so fascinating. It's just this amazing creative global highway. My album is on Amazon.com and iTunes and it just allows me to be able to put my material out there without having to have, you know, label support. For so long I was knocking on the door like, hi, you know? And they were like, well, we have so many people in this kind of genre. And I said, but I'm unique, and they said, well, we already have people.

So, this is an amazing and exciting time for solo artists like myself who can present their projects, you know, independently and I'm very grateful.

HANSEN: Angela Workman - when we spoke with her 20 years ago on my very first show on WEEKEND EDITION, she was one of the Raelettes with Ray Charles, and today she has her own album out called "Moonflower." And she joined us from our New York bureau. Angela, it's great being in touch with you again, and thanks for helping us celebrate this 20th anniversary. Good luck to you.

Ms. WORKMAN: Thank you. And�

(Singing) Happy anniversary, Liane. You have given us so much and we will celebrate anniversaries to come.

Happy anniversary.

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