Kathy Sledge is the recognizable voice of the band Sister Sledge. Sledge along with her three sisters, Debra, Joni and Kim, created R&B and pop history with their catchy ballads including one of 1970’s greatest hits, “We are Family.” As the daughters of actress Florez Sledge, and acclaimed Broadway performer Edwin Sledge, the multi-talented sisters were given vocal training by their grandmother, Viola Williams. This deep-rooted musical background was the catalyst for launching the sisters’ mega-career singing and recording international hit songs which cover the spectrums of jazz, soul, gospel, disco, and R&B music.
The sisters formed their iconic group Sister Sledge in 1971, and recorded their first album, ‘Circle of Love,’ on the Moneyback label. After signing with Atlantic Records in 1975, the quartet produced such hits as “Supernatural Thing,” “Do it in the Name of Love,” and “Love Don’t Go Through No Changes on Me,” which was the group’s first major single and put them on the map debuting at number 31 on the R&B charts. Kathy Sledge stood out immediately as the sweet, younger counterpart of the group with a recognizable voice and an evident passion for music.
Kathy took a major role in the band’s second LP, ‘Together.’ This album was produced in 1977 by Atlantic Record’s Cotillion label. The girls were now working with produers Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay. Kathy displayed her true musical prowess taking an active role in production co-writing singles “Do the Funky Do,” and “Can’t Mess Around with Love.” Sister Sledge memorably covered Stevie Wonder hits “I was made to Love Him,” and the song, “As” which did exceptionally well receiving air time on the radio.
Sister Sledge was fortunate to later collaborate with guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards. These industry professionals were known for their songwriting ability and talent and assisted the group with production under Atlantic’s Cotillion label. The relationship proved successful resulting in the single, “He’s the Greatest Dancer,” which landed the group a number one R&B hit and rose to number two on the Billboard chart in Spring 1979. The group’s most memorable single, “We are Family” went Gold, rose to #1 on the R&B chart and #2 on the Billboard chart for the summer of 1979. Rodgers and Edwards continued to assist in the production of many more hits for the group including “Got to Love Somebody,” “Reach Your Peak,” and “Let’s Go on Vacation.”
Kathy’s tremendous success with the group and connections in the industry led her to pursue a solo career. Her debut album ‘Heart’ featured singles, “Take Me Back to Love Again,” and “All of My Love.” Kathy has continued to evolve as a solo artist, most recently premiering the show The Brighter Side of Day: A Tribute to Billie Holiday, a series that celebrates the musical legend, Billie Holiday, a muse of sorts that Kathy has admired her entire life.
Kathy continues to produce dance hits, tapping into her incredible song writing ability and making use of her incredible voice. A recent 2014 collaboration with Aristofreeks resulted in the EDM single “Keep It Movin” a dance favorite that reached #2 on Billboard Dance chart. Kathy remains very busy in her career making appearances, most recently appearing on BET’s Black Girls Rock telecast, and serving as a Board Member for various organizations including, We are Family Foundation and Philadelphia Chapter Academy of Recording Arts. Kathy’s upcoming book further outlines her talent and storied career, and is appropriately titled, No, Means Next.
Kathy Sledge was recognized in September 2015 along with R&B legends Little Anthony, Millie Jackson, Michael Henderson, James D Train Williams and Regina Belle, and celebrity DJs Tom Moulton and Felix Hernandez by The National Rhythm and Blues Music Society at their annual Black Tie Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony.