Having just returned from recording new material in Los Angeles—her first return to the studio since 2000's cover of 'Changin'—disco diva Linda Clifford spoke with Nightspots from her northwest suburban home about her devoted LGBT fan base and her exciting future plans. She knows it might be a struggle in such a youth-oriented business to get her material out there, but she has an abundance of hope that the recording industry will realize that a lot of what is going on in music today is the result of what musicians like Clifford did decades ago. 'It's a cycle,' she said. 'Everything old is new again.'
Nightspots: Have you ever done gay music events before?
Linda Clifford: I do a ton of gay events because I've worked with the gay community very closely for the last 30 years.
NS: Have you always had a large gay following?
NS: Being a disco diva and all...
LC: Exactly. Seriously, I was very fortunate that I was embraced by a huge community: The R&B or African-American community because of songs like 'Runaway Love,' but also the gay community loved and still loves that song. I mean, it still plays in all the clubs. It's just amazing to me, even after all these years, and I'm not complaining that people love that music. [ Laughs. ]
NS: What connection do you feel you have with the LGBT community? Or, why are they attracted to your music, do you think?
LC: You know, I've often wondered about that, and I think part of the reason is because I go out to perform for them and I do the best show I can possibly do for them. They are so responsive and so warm and open. They make me feel comfortable and I want them to feel comfortable. You know, your audience picks up on that. With my family, in fact, I have members who are gay. I've gone through some of the struggles with them and I understand the devastation of what the gay community went through with the AIDS issue and is still going through. I lost two brothers to that disease, so we have a connection. It's just there.
NS: Sometimes people just get a sense that some performers are welcoming and an ally.
LC: Absolutely. There are some entertainers, really, who just fit. And you know when you fit and you feel good and you're comfortable and just go for it. And you do things not just because you are going to be involved in the gay community, but because it's a natural thing for you to do and you're comfortable with it. It's always been that way for me, and I just love people. I don't care if they're purple, green, gay, straight or whatever. As long as you're good to me, I'll be good to you.
NS: What does it feel like to be back in the studio?
LC: Initially, after you've had a long period where you are not recording, you are apprehensive and worried about how things are going to go and you're a little nervous. And I was. Then after about 10 minutes, I'm like, 'Oh my God, I'm okay! This isn't terrible! I can do this!' It's kind of like riding a bike again, I guess. I'm really looking forward to the new single coming out, and we went ahead and recorded a follow up because we are so excited about this song, and we think it's really going to do well in the clubs. It's called, 'How Long,' by the way. I wrote the follow up already and recorded it. I'm very excited about this project. We are putting together five or six tunes, actually.
Catch Clifford's performance at the 25th Annual Northalsted Market Days on Sunday, Aug. 6, on the Addison stage at 6:15 p.m.