Cynthia Erivo explains how Black Soul artists are overlooked in the UK music scene compared to White Soul singers


British-born actress Cynthia Erivo is living her wildest dreams. In less than a decade, she won a Tony, Grammy, and Emmy, became a published author, and portrayed “The Soul Queen” Aretha Franklin.

But while her growing accomplishments may seem like a figment of her own imagination, there’s no denying that she turns her visions into reality. His latest pursues a musical career – yes fans and critics are aware of just how powerful a vocalist she is, given her Broadway success with “The Color Purple” – rooted in original songs, not just covers she sung for various roles.

Cynthia Erivo (bottom center) was all smiles as she posed for photos with friends after an iconic performance at the Hollywood Bowl on July 30, 2021. (Photo: @ elainewelteroth / Instagram)

Her debut album “Ch. 1 on 1” is slated for release in September; her debut single “The Good” was released in June. Growing up in London, Erivo knew she wanted to pursue a musical career, but the lack of sustained success of black artists made it difficult to see her dream as attainable and not just high desire.

“There were black voices, women who created music, but often it was not attractive [in the music industry]. What was appealing was – and she’s amazing – but like, a Joss Stone [ who is a white soul singer]”Erivo told Yahoo Music.

“It was more interesting to hear, like a white girl who sounded like a black woman who had a soul. And often it was. She continued, “We [Black artists] were not as interesting as each other. And it’s sad, because I feel like there could have been room for all of us, really. And we’re still trying to catch up. There isn’t much to look at when it comes to music by black artists in the UK, especially artists who do R&B and soul.

But Erivo has found its place here in the United States where his on-screen work is often celebrated by the Hollywood community, and the full range of his musical talent is expected. Marking her first major performance as singer Cynthia Erivo – instead of the talented singer who can sing – she honored the iconic scene of the Hollywood Bowl. In her early days, she sang tracks from her unreleased album as well as covers of hits by Mary J. Bilge, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone, to name a few.

Erivo can attest that there are “artists like me who don’t have the chance to be recognized for the work they do. But they deserve it. And while that may be true for the music climate in the UK, in the US, she has started to take a step forward with her audience.


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