Late R&B legend Luther Vandross — still known mononymously to his fans — was always a bit of an inscrutable figure. His voice, that voice, is undeniable. The way he could modulate his velvety tenor to make a single word vibrate with unfathomable longing and desire? Don’t get me started!
But during his time in the spotlight, the public turned Luther into a mirror reflecting back cultural anxieties about sexuality (was he gay or straight?) and race (was he “just” an R&B artist or could he crossover into pop success?). Then there was the constant chatter about his weight: Fans would add Big or Little to his name depending on the size of his bedazzled suits.
Now we finally have a fuller picture of the man. Dawn Porter’s documentary “Luther: Never Too Much“ uses a deft mix of archival footage of and interviews with Luther and his closest friends and contemporaries to highlight the joy he experienced as an ardent student of R&B and soul.
What struck me the most weren’t the things about Luther that I didn’t know — like how he arranged David Bowie’s “Young Americans” album or that he self-funded his own career through jingles. It was how personal Porter’s storytelling was, as if Luther were guiding the entire process. Porter and her team sifted through hundreds of hours of video, and many gigs worth of documents, sketches, photos, and ephemera in Dropbox to get that effect, she says.
“My process is to show, not tell — so I…
Read full article: Piecing Together the Joy and Genius of Luther Vandross – IndieWire
The post “Piecing Together the Joy and Genius of Luther Vandross – IndieWire” by Christian Blauvelt was published on 01/30/2024 by www.indiewire.com