Among the A-list celebrities who flocked to South Florida for the Super Bowl festivities were legendary singers The Pointer Sisters. But while the public wasn’t allowed at their exclusive performance for NFL team owners, the singers who made “I’m So Excited” and “Jump (For My Love)” hits will be returning to the Broward Center on Sunday, Feb. 21 for a musical celebration of a career that spans four decades.
Anita and Ruth Pointer, along with Sadako Johnson, Ruth’s granddaughter who is currently touring with the group, sat down with South Florida Gay News to discuss their careers and the upcoming show in Fort Lauderdale:
SFGN: Like so many singers, you got your start singing in your father’s church. What is it about churches that seem to cultivate performers?
RUTH: I think it’s the fact that you have a built-in audience. We got experience early in learning the different ranges of music. We sang in the choir and that was the beginning of our music education, as we found where we fit in.
ANITA: It’s free school. Well, church is not really free, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could pay for college by just passing around the bucket? We definitely paid the tuition.
SFGN: I imagine that working so closely with family can be an advantage and a challenge.
ANITA: I think we’re lucky that we’re family. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t exist. We’ve tried to work without people and it was a horrible experience.
RUTH: You aren’t kidding! I also think that as a family, our voices naturally blend. From the very beginning, we’ve been told our harmony was tight, along with the way we enunciate words and blend our styles. We were all connected at the hip vocally. Now, we’re singing with my granddaughter (Johnson), and Anita’s daughter, (who is taking time off from touring during pregnancy).
SFGN: A question for Sadako. What’s it like to be touring with the Pointer Sisters and working with your grandmother and great aunt?
SADAKO: I feel so lucky. I’ve learned a lot with them. At first it was hard and a lot of pressure, but I got more comfortable. They’re my family and on stage (Ruth and Anita) are so cool. They’re not nervous and I felt that. This is such an important opportunity in my own career.
SFGN: The industry has changed since you hit the scene, with reality shows like “American Idol” making singers into stars. How do you feel about these changes?
RUTH: It’s scary. Thank God, we didn’t have to do (“American Idol”)!
ANITA: We had to do other things, like playing clubs, back-up singing and stuff like that before we hit TV and those were variety shows. Everybody has a reality show now, it seems like.
SFGN: Would you ever consider doing a Pointer Sisters reality show?
ANITA: I don’t know…..I won’t say “no.”
RUTH: There could have been one, back in the day. Remember that whole Lionel Ritchie tour. Oh, Lord!
SFGN: How does it feel to hear covers of your songs by new performers?
RUTH: I think it’s great. It’s just a thrill to have someone want to do our music.
SFGN: Is there anything that you haven’t tried that you like to get to?
ANITA: See the Taj Mahal. No, actually, I’m very curious to hear what we would sound like with a (hip-hop) producer like Timbaland. Maybe a movie would be fun, too. (She laughs) We could do a remake of Car Wash!
SFGN: Good luck with your Super Bowl performance tonight. I know your fans are eagerly awaiting your return later this month.
ANITA: You know, we did the very first Super Bowl show. It was the first time they decided to do a big blowout and (the game) was here at the Orange Bowl. It was us, Burt Reynolds, O.J. Simpson, Dinah Shore, and K.C. and the Sunshine Band. I’ll never forget the fans chasing O.J. and he jumped in our car!
The Pointer Sisters
Sunday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m.
Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Tickets $25-$55 at BrowardCenter.org