Eloise Laws intimately talks music and her passion for giving.
Seated comfortably in a swank lobby Eloise Laws sports a distinctively chic navy blue blazer and perfectly pressed slacks. Modestly adorned, her makeup is light and not one hair is out of place. As she gracefully walks to into a small meeting room she is noticeably statuesque.
“I do have a swag,” Laws jokes. “I’m very classy; it’s known that if you come to see me I’m going to be wearing something classy, but outrageous and fun.”
Noticeably staying true to her classy form, she muses over her job description as a singer, casually referencing others in the music industry who radiate that certain je ne sais quoi that Laws loves.
“I’m an entertainer before I’m a singer. That’s lost art in this business. The Beyonces are the entertainers,” she states emphatically.
Laws plans to do a lot of entertaining this holiday season as jazz lovers everywhere hail the release of her latest album entitled “Favorites”. The album, which is now available on iTunes, showcases a medley of never- before-heard ballads. One of her personal favorites, “Sweet Little Jesus Boy”, is a remake however, and a song of particular interest to Laws. She recalls that she first sang it in 1966 while attending college at Texas Southern University. The song, considered a timeless “negro spiritual”, was created in 1934 by composer Robert MacGimsey of “Shadrack” fame. Almost 8 decades later, Laws still finds the meaning of the song to be just as powerful and applicable to our society now as it was then.
“I was reminded of it because of some of the things Obama had to contend with,” Laws explains. “They did not want to give him a second term. Metaphorically it just reminded me of what he’s gone through, and also of Jesus when he was born. I know it kind of sounds like “How do I compare Obama with Jesus?,” but this time of season is a time to give hope and courage and it’s a time to come together and love, and I think that’s what Obama has done for all people.”
The notion of coming together and loving one another is no foreign concept to Laws, who grew up in a household full of musicians. She and her siblings have 6 and 7 year age gaps between them, so in a sense they were separated. Christmas time especially was a time of the year when her family was able to bond; music was the glue that brought them together.
“Music played a huge role in my life,” Laws says. My father was a singer; my mother was a choir director—and she played the piano on some of the songs my other siblings such as Debra Laws, are very well known for—including her recording “Very Special”. Ronnie and Hubert have made substantial marks in the entertainment industry. We all came up at different times, but we all came together during the holidays and we would interact through music.”
The multifaceted Laws also dabbles in theater. She is currently working on a musical called “The Happiest Time of the Year”, written by Charles Douglass. Laws will perform the lead song. She is also the developer of a play called “It Ain’t Nothing But the Blues”, which traces the history and evolution of Blues music.
“It [It Ain’t Nothing But the Blues] has been very successful. It did really well in Portland, Oregon at the Portland Center Stage, which is a 700-seater, and sold out every night.”
As generous as she is talented, Laws not only gives us music, but she gives to those who are especially in need during Christmas time. For the last 8 years she has helped to raise money for Dr. Pamela Wily’s Los Angeles Speech and Language Therapy Center. The organization helps children with special needs, particularly those with autism. The center also holds a ceremony every year to honor grandmothers who raise their grandchildren, children who have been forced into the foster care system because their parents are either on drugs or incarcerated.
“This year I got Barry (Barry Gordy, Motown Records founder), and I also got CVS drugs to donate. Last year he [Barry Gordy] made a contribution, and this year he doubled it. Last year Holly Robinson Pete was also honored.
Laws plans to continue to feed her lifelong passions, her love of music and giving, in the future. In the true spirit of the holiday season, consider it food for the soul!