One song. That’s all it took for Hidden Beach Recordings CEO Steve McKeever, who launched the career of Grammy Award winner Jill Scott, to sign the next game-changing voice: Angie Fisher.
Music fans first heard Fisher’s spellbinding voice for themselves on that song, the now Grammy nominated “I.R.S.,” when it was played on Stevie Wonder’s KJLH radio in Los Angeles in June of 2014. “I.R.S.” embodies a subject everyone can relate to: struggling to make ends meet. But in Fisher’s hands, the topic takes on a whole new meaning as her gritty, throbbing vocals wrenchingly etch the challenges many of us face on a daily basis.
“2000 bucks would save my life,” Fisher belts out against a spare, bluesy R&B track written by B. Slade and produced by Ro and Sauce from the hit-making R&B group Somethin’ for the People. Then: “200 bucks would ease the pain / The I.R.S. is on my case / But I refuse to let them make me go insane.” Calling to mind such signature voices as Etta James and Janis Joplin, Fisher saves the best for last when she effortlessly sustains a high note at song’s end that must be heard to be believed. It’s like catching lightning in a bottle.
And Fisher promises there’s more to come. “I have a whole lot to say through soulful music that comes from my heart,” she says. “I want people to feel everything I sing.”
Like the background singers spotlighted in the Oscar Award-winning documentary “20 Feet From Stardom,” Fisher (“I cried in the back of the theater watching that film”) has built a sterling reputation as an in-demand session and background vocalist. The versatile singer has done studio sessions with an industry who’s who, including Michael Jackson, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Phillip Phillips, Michael Bublé, Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige, Lionel Richie, Missy Elliott, Robin Thicke, Josh Groban and Kirk Franklin. In addition to Clarkson, she’s toured with Jennifer Lopez, Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster (Whitney Houston), Chaka Khan and Lalah Hathaway.
“I don’t know anyone who sounds like me,” says the straightforward Fisher. “And I don’t look like everyone else in the music industry. I’m a dark-skinned sister who loves to sing. What you definitely hear in the studio, you will definitely hear live. It’s always about the delivery.”
Fisher honed her skillful delivery at an early age. The Pasadena, Calif. native’s natural talent first came to light at the tender age of four, when she was found in the closet singing a song while trying on her mother’s shoes. During a childhood influenced by such icons as Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, D’Angelo and the Clark Sisters, Fisher began singing professionally at 14. That’s when she was chosen to join All God’s Children, the touring children’s choir created by renowned producer Lou Adler (Carole King, Sam Cooke).
But it wasn’t until a Bank of America supervisor threatened to fire Fisher from her accounts manager day job that she became serious about pursuing a singing career. “After performing at a company outing,” she recalls, “my boss told me, ‘You have an amazing voice. If you don’t leave and give your two-week notice, I’m going to fire you.’ That made me decide, ‘OK, let me try it and see.’”
And Fisher hasn’t worked a 9-5 since. Her three-year stint with All God’s Children helped open the door to studio and backing vocal gigs. And word spread from there, sparking invitations as well to accompany performers on such television shows as “Good Morning America,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The View,” American Idol” and “Saturday Night Live.”
There’s no higher praise than when fellow singers co-sign your talent. And over the years, Fisher has garnered the respect of many of her peers. “Angie Fisher is exceptional,” says Grammy-winning singer Lalah Hathaway. “Not only because she’s such a great singer but also because her work ethic and disposition set her apart from most.”
Notes Hidden Beach’s McKeever of Fisher’s formidable voice, “This is not Memorex. There are no Auto-Tune tricks going on here. This is a human voice making these sounds come from a deep place that’s beautiful.”
Now it’s Fisher’s turn to step 20 feet from the background and take center stage. Currently in the studio recording her debut album, she’s ready for her close-up. “I have a unique sound that makes people pay attention,” declares Fisher. “And I have a story to tell.”