It takes a force of nature to recognize a force of nature and let me tell you Telma Hopkins is a force of nature! She’s hysterical, talented, and bright, all qualities that make her the kind of person you warm up to instantly.
I knew who Telma was from her days with Tony Orlando & Dawn, Gimme A Break! and Family Matters. What I didn’t know is that she also was a background singer – I revere background singers pretty much more than I do the artists they sing behind – Telma was the background singer on some of my favorite records of all time and ones that had massive influence on me as a songwriter. Can you say “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye and my favorite movie theme of all time, “Shaft”, among MANY others??! I almost fell off my chair when Telma told me SHE is who voiced the immortal vocal in “Shaft”, “Shut yo’ mouth”!
So we spent an excellent day together recording “The D” as Telma belted out some of the key background vocals on the record. “Proud to be a Detroit City girl” was/is the mantra of the day!