'I am seeing the legacy of Sister Sledge magnified and energized': Sister Sledge take to the stage for today's Let's Rock festival at Temple Newsam
Sister Sledge return to Leeds this weekend for Let's Rock festival after last performing over three years ago.
For 40 years Sister Sledge has given meaning to the world of disco and soul, breaking the mold of what it means to be a vocal group with the unadulterated talent of sisters Debbie, Joni, Kathy and Kim.
Today the group perform at the city's Let's Rock Festival with an all new line-up- one of two remaining members, Debbie Sledge, taking centre stage, arm in arm with her children Camille and David both now playing alongside her.
Also joining them for the performance at Temple Newsam is Tanya Ti-et, long-term vocalist and member of the new line-up.
"What excites me most about the new Sister Sledge line up is the fact that I am experiencing the joy of seeing this phenomenal new talent in my family emerge" Debbie said.
"[Joni Sledge's son] Thaddeus, my daughter Camille, son David and long-time vocalist Tanya are quite frankly phenomenal!
"We are experiencing this journey together, united by a special bond, respect and love for each other."
For the band, their distinct sound and style led them to critical acclaim and an international breakthrough back in 1979 with the release of their album We Are Family, produced by disco legend and past member of the band Nile Rodgers.
Pondering on the group's individuality, Debbie said she intends to keep a tight grip on that spirit that made Sister Sledge so special all those years ago.
"The most important element of an outstanding artist for me is not only their unique creativity and style, but their ability to share their artistry and inspire others.
"And because of this, there is such a rich musicality in this group, along with the grounding and confidence that the strong love of family brings.
"I am seeing the legacy of Sister Sledge magnified and energized- I am discovering not only the vocal abilities in this second generation of Sledges, but also songwriters and music producers that were right under our noses all along."
One of those songwriters is daughter Camille, who's debut live album Streetlights and Lullabies dropped back in May this year.
Speaking about the influence her mother has had on her musical career, Camille said:
"I’ve performed with my mother throughout my life, dating right back to 2003 when I provided vocals on the Sister Sledge album ‘Style’, so I’ve always had her close influence on my own sound.
"I’d say there are definitely similarities you can draw between our styles, but there’s also a good level of difference which allows us to compliment each other on tracks and during performances.
"I have a love for afrobeats and am the lead vocalist for the Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra in Phoenix, Arizona.
"I get my passion for jazz from my dear Aunt Geri, and was later fortunate to join my mother as part of the renowned Neils Lan Doky International Jazz Collective in Copenhagen.
"So I’d say there are certainly elements of influence I have taken from the iconic Sister Sledge sound, but through my own experiences and musical tastes I believe there's great scope to give our group a fresh and versatile edge."
It's this scope and edge that members of the audience will get to see on full display later today; after 3 years away from Leeds the band are bringing their refreshed sound to the streets of the city.
"We were last in Leeds back in 2018 for the 40 Years of Disco concert and the atmosphere was electric, but this will be the first time my children Camille and David will be here" said Debbie.
"I’ve always found people to be incredibly friendly here, so it’s an honor to be returning.
"I’ve told [Camille and David] that northerners know how to party- as Joni once announced on stage, 'You guys are what makes Britain great!'"
Sister Sledge take to the stage at Let's Rock festival today alongside Adam Ant, OMD and Kim Wilde.
Tickets are available on the Let's Rock website with the event starting at noon.