Heather Headley (born October 5, 1974) is a Trinidadian-American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. She has won a Tony Award, a Grammy Award, and a Drama Desk Award, and she has been nominated for a host of other acting and music accolades.Headley was born in Trinidad, the daughter of Hannah and Eric Headley (Barbadian). In 1989, she moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana in the United States at the age of fifteen with her mother and brother Eric Junior when her father was offered a job as pastor of McKee Street Church of God with headquarters in Anderson, Indiana.
Headley attended Northrop High School, and was a member of their resident show choir, Charisma, and starred as Fanny Brice in the school's production of Funny Girl. After graduating from Northrop High School, Headley attended Northwestern University to study communications and musical theatre until the last day of her junior year, when she made the decision to become a part of the musical Ragtime and drop out of school.
In 2003, Headley married Brian Musso, formerly of the New York Jets. Both attended Northwestern University. On December 1, 2009, they welcomed their first child John David. Headley had her second son Jordan Chase August 18, 2014. She regularly performs with Vertical Church Band, the worship team from Harvest Bible Chapel. She is featured in their song "How Great Is The Love" and "All Glory".
In 1997, she originated the role of Nala in The Lion King, the Broadway musical. Headley's performance was well received, and she then originated the title role in the Broadway adaptation of Aida, earning the Tony Award for Best Actress in 2000. In 1999, she appeared in the Encores! production of Do Re Mi, with Nathan Lane, Randy Graff, and Brian Stokes Mitchell. She also starred in a concert version of the musical Dreamgirls alongside Audra McDonald and Lillias White.
In the autumn of 2006, Heather performed Hal David and Burt Bacharach's song "I'll Never Fall In Love Again", from the 1968 musical Promises, Promises, for "The Kennedy Center Presents: The 2006 Mark Twain Prize", honoring playwright Neil Simon. The ceremony was later broadcast on PBS.
On July 5, 2007, Headley made a guest appearance for Andrea Bocelli's Vivere Live in Tuscany concert in Lajatico, Italy. They performed Vivo Per Lei and The Prayer. Headley sang "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" (also known as "America") with Josh Groban on January 18, 2009, during the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. On March 12, 2009, Headley sang "I Wish" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
From November 2012 until August 2013, Headley played the role of Rachel Marron, in the musical adaptation of Whitney Houston's 1992 movie, The Bodyguard at London's Adelphi Theatre. She was nominated for an Olivier Award and a What's On Stage Award for this performance.
Heather joined the Andrea Bocelli UK Tour playing Glasgow Hydro on November 23 and at the Leeds First Direct Arena on November 24, 2013.
On May 10, 2016, Headley assumed the role of Shug Avery from Jennifer Hudson in the recent Broadway revival of The Color Purple, which closed on January 8, 2017 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.
From 2017, Headley is co-starring in Spike Lee's Netflix reboot of She's Gotta Have It as Dr Jamison. She also voices of the part of Kitendo as Makini's Mother in The Lion Guard.
Headley released her debut album, This Is Who I Am, in October 2002 with RCA Records. Although its first single, "He Is", was not very successful, the second single, "I Wish I Wasn't", achieved moderate success. The work on this album earned her a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and for Best New Artist making her the first Tony Award winner to be nominated for this award.
Her second album, In My Mind, was delayed due to the various executive shake-ups associated with RCA parent BMG's merger with Sony.
Under BMG North America chairman/CEO Clive Davis for the first time, Headley released her second album In My Mind in January 2006. The title track "In My Mind" (written and produced by India.Arie collaborator Shannon Sanders) was released as the first single; and its music video was directed by Diane Martel. The song reached number-one on the U.S. Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. The second single "Me Time" was sent to Urban AC radio only. An album track, "Am I Worth It", served to promote Headley's New March of Dimes Educational Campaign "I Want My 9 Months".
In 2009, Headley, along with Al Green, released a version of the song "People Get Ready" on the compilation album Oh Happy Day: An All-Star Music Celebration.
On the January 31, 2010, Heather won her first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album for Audience of One on the EMI Gospel label.
In December 2010, Headley performed a duet version of "Blue Christmas" and "My Prayer" with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli on his "My Christmas" tour in six cities. At the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, on December 4, 2010, the audience insisted on a second encore with Bocelli. Bocelli had to summon the detail to go and bring her back on stage.
Heather Headley released her album Only One in the World on September 25, 2012, with the lead single "A Little While".
In September 2013, Headley appeared on America's Got Talent with Il Divo and sang "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" from The Lion King. She also appeared with Il Divo on Broadway for a limited concert run.
|Title||Details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|This Is Who I Am||
|In My Mind||
|Audience of One||
|Only One in the World||
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released to that country|
|Playlist: The Very Best of Heather Headley||
|Year||Song||Peak chart positions||Album|
|US Hot 100||US R&B||US Dance||US AC||US Gospel||Hot Adult R&B|
|1999||"A Step Too Far"||—||—||—||15||—||—||Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida|
|2002||"He Is"||90||38||4||—||—||1||This Is Who I Am|
|2003||"I Wish I Wasn't"||55||15||5||—||—||1|
|2005||"In My Mind"||75||16||1||—||—||2||In My Mind|
|2008||"Jesus Is Love"||—||59||—||—||10||29||Audience of One|
|"Do You Hear What I Hear?"||—||—||—||—||—||—||Non-album single|
|2012||"A Little While"||—||—||—||—||—||—||Only One in the World|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|"Can You Feel the Love Tonight"||1997||The Lion King on Broadway Cast Recording|
|"The Madness of King Scar"|
|"Love Will Find a Way"||1998||Return to Pride Rock|
|"Just One Dream"||2001||Golden Dreams (film at Disney California Adventure Park)|
|"People Get Ready" (with Al Green)||2009||Oh Happy Day|
|2000||Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical||Aida||Won|
|2000||Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical||Aida||Won|
|2000||Sarah Siddons Award||Work in Chicago theatre||Won|
|2013||Whatsonstage.com Awards||Best Actress The Bodyguard||Nominated|
|2013||Olivier Awards||Best Actress The Bodyguard||Nominated|
|2002||Soul Train Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist||"He Is"||Nominated|
|2003||Billboard Music Award for R&B/Hip-Hop New Artist of the Year||N/A||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Award for Outstanding New Artist||N/A||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Female Artist||N/A||Nominated|
|Soul Train Lady of Soul Award for R&B/Soul Album of the Year - Solo||"This Is Who I Am"||Won|
|Soul Train Lady of Soul Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist - Solo||"He Is"||Won|
|Soul Train Lady of Soul Award for Best R&B/Soul Single - Solo||"He Is"||Nominated|
|2004||Grammy Award for Best New Artist||"N/A"||Nominated|
|Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||"I Wish I Wasn't"||Nominated|
|2006||BET J/Centric for Cool Like That Award||N/A||Nominated|
|2010||Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance||"Jesus Is Love"||Nominated|
|Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album||"Audience Of One"||Won|