I'm fairly certain that I stumbled upon Oleta Adams' sophomore album Circle Of One after hearing that one of my favorite bands of the '80s, Tears For Fears, had plucked her from relative obscurity after hearing her sing in a hotel bar. She was featured on their song "Woman In Chains" from their sophomore album whose video I must have seen while perusing VH1 back when they were more known for adult contemporary music and not seedy, sensationalist reality television. It always makes me laugh that something about Oleta's voice with its inherent robustness resonated with me as a teen, but once it caught hold of me, I couldn't let it go.
Despite the fact that I told just about every one of my classmates about the cassette I was then running into the ground, most of them were only mildly familiar with "Rhythm Of Life" and the wildly successful remake of Brenda Russell's "Get Here" which became the unofficial theme song for the safe return home of the Gulf War soldiers that year. No matter. I knew what gold I had on my hands and I began to simply keep Circle Of One to myself.
Out of its nine tracks, Circle Of One proved to contain gems on every single one. From the moody and defiant "You've Got To Give Me Room" to the upbeat but daring "I've Got A Right," this album seemed more tailored to the life experiences of a more mature crowd. Nonetheless, the heart-wrenching "Everything Must Change" is yet another one of my favorites and brings the album's title into more perspective. Oleta's overall message is that though we may be born alone and die alone, a we all deserve more space than we's like to admit during that space in between. It's really nothing personal, especially with her glorious vibrato resonating and amplifying against the walls of my mind.
Much has changed since 1990 for all of us. Oleta has continued satisfy her fans by recording music, whether secular or gospel having been raised in the latter. She has continued to tour worldwide and bring her gift to those who are familiar and also those who were surely as surprised and captivated by her talent as I was at 14 years old. On a day such as today where many of us will be celebrating with friends and family, it seems particularly appropriate to reflect upon Oleta's version of "Get Here."