SA musicians praise inspirational Vandross

Published Jul 4, 2005

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South African musicians have paid tribute to one of the world's leading R&B singers, Luther Vandross, who has died in New Jersey.

Vandross, 54, had a serious stroke two years ago, just before he released what was to be his final album, Dance With My Father, and according to doctors he had a "peaceful passing" on Friday under the watchful eye of friends and family.

The single Dance With My Father won Vandross four Grammy awards.

On Sunday singer and producer Chicco Twala hailed Vandross as one of the best vocalists in the world. He said Vandross's music played a huge role in his career as a musician.

Twala said that after listening to the R&B star's song Glow Of Love he was motivated and composed a song called O Tla Ntseba Na Ngwanaka.

"He inspired me. His melodies helped a great deal in inspiring me to compose songs," Twala recalled.

Afro-pop singer Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse said Vandross had influenced most of South Africa's musicians.

"If you were able to develop along the lines of Luther, then you could sing. In the Eighties he is the one who influenced us," Mabuse said.

He said he was devastated when he heard of the singer's death, because he loved his music.

"I had a hope that he was going to pull through. He was a fantastic singer. I admired him," Mabuse said.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka said she looked up to Vandross because he had a great voice.

"All his songs touched my heart. Vandross influenced a lot of musicians," she said.

Afro-pop singer Jabu Khanyile said Vandross's music was very effective in influencing his singing career.

"We used to listen to his music," Khanyile recalled.

Vandross sold 25-million albums and won dozens of awards. His debut album, Never Too Much, was released in 1981, and he never looked back.

Vandross's first Grammy was in 1990 with the single Here And Now, and five more the following year for Power Of Love.

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