I heard Dave Ramsey say on his radio program recently, that if you really admire a particular celebrity, you probably shouldn't meet them because you will most likely be disappointed. Enter Luther Vandross. I was working as a stand-in on the Soul Train Awards and Patti LaBelle, Luther Vandross and Gladys Knight were the hosts. I was standing in for Patti, so at one point all four of us were backstage in a little tiny curtained off area about the size of a small closet. Gladys and I chatted about how the old school artists where nicer than young newbies on the music scene and I enjoyed the banter between the three of them. Sharing stories, laughing, having a good time. Wow. At one point, Gladys was out on the stage rehearsing and Patti got called to hair and make-up so it was just me and Luther sitting there. With the ladies absent, it got quiet suddenly. But not for long. Anyone that knows me knows that I cannot be in the presence of another human being and not at least attempt to have a conversation with them. I was not in the presence of just any human being, this was Luther Vandross I was sharing an armrest with! So I politely turned to him and said, "You must be lonely now that Patti left." He then turned to me and said in a very condescending manner, "Are you talking to me or are you asking me a question?" all the while staring at me with his lips pursed as if waiting for an answer. I just stood up and walked away. Of course that bothered me for the rest of the day. After all, I had every one of his albums since Never Too Much on vinyl and CD. His newest one was about to drop soon so when I saw him later, I mustered up a smile and told him I was anxiously awaiting the release. He then said, "Good. I can order that new carpet now." Nice try Luther but I can't get that first comment out of my mind. I pictured a very different scenario for our first meeting.
I did buy that next CD but haven't been as much of a fan as I once was. Luther was an amazing talent with a one of a kind voice. I've heard he can be difficult to work with and I've seen him go off on a stage manager a couple of times so I sincerely hope he is resting in peace. He's left quite a legacy. As my tribute to him, I sing a little bit of Dance With My Father in my solo show.