Black Inspirations: Kam Franklin of The Suffers on Luther Vandross - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

For the month of February, in celebration of Black History Month on XPN, we’re presenting a new series called Black Inspirations. We’ve asked contemporary Black artists to share some of their influences from the Black music vanguard. The series begins today with a testimonial from Kam Franklin of The Suffers.

Houston’s Kam Franklan has made her name over the past decade as the lead singer of the Gulf Coast soul outfit The Suffers, as well as an inventive solo artist. When we asked her to talk about one of her musical inspirations, she went with singer-songwriter and producer Luther Vandross, whose career spans backup vocalist gigs in the 70s with David Bowie and Donna Summer, to massive pop, R&B, and soul hits in the 80s and 90s. Here’s what Kam had to say.

Few artists have inspired me more than Luther Vandross. My parents played his music all the time, and my first concert as a child was seeing him perform at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It wasn’t until I got older, that I truly learned how big his impact was. From co-writing with and singing backup for David Bowie, to inspiring a generation of singer-songwriters to do whatever they wanted creatively, I’ll always appreciate the genius of Luther Vandross.

Below, listen to three of Kam Franklin’s favorite Luther Vandross songs, chosen for Black Inspirations on WXPN.

The Suffers’ most recent single, “Take Me To The Good Times,” was released in June of 2020.

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