"For me, the goal is always a song you can sing forever, a song that will mean something to people of all kinds."
--Kayla Parker-Tolbert, who recently passed away.
I first heard Kayla Parker-Tolbert's rich, agile lead vocal in the early 1990s on Marvin Winans' Introducing Perfecting Praise. I remember being amazed by the range she displayed on "Now Are We." For a long time, I couldn't figure out whether I was hearing one voice or two--one low, one high. I also thought "Perfecting Church" was a powerful cut.
Since then, I've enjoyed her work with Vanessa Williams, Tim Bowman, CeCe Winans, and most recently Vickie Winans (though she's been on many, many other albums). And I've longed for her to make a solo album. I keep a short list in my mind of artists I'd love to see move from the background to the forefront, and Kayla Parker-Tolbert was at the top. As it turns out, she was working on an album for release this year.
She had one of the most beautiful, versatile voices I've heard, and I can't believe she's gone.
Here's a YouTube video of Kayla Parker singing "Now Are We."
Read the Black Gospel Promo release on Bob Marovich's blog, where I learned about her passing.
Find out more about Kayla Parker-Tolbert on her website, and on a MySpace page dedicated to her.