Debra James Tucker keeps singing amid the struggle


Debra James Tucker

When Debra James Tucker reflects on the Civil Rights Movement, and what she saw and heard as a kid, certain images and scenes come to the fore. She remembers watching TV and seeing Black protesters get attacked by dogs and beaten with clubs and sprayed with fire hoses.

“But the thing that struck me about it the most was that they were singing. That stayed with me,” Tucker said recently by phone. “How can people who have been subjected to this still sing?”

And so, amid the recent protests that have spilled onto the streets since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, and all the ensuing conversations the uprisings have since sparked, Tucker knew she had to keep singing. On Sunday, Aug. 9, at 7 p.m., she’ll be joined by vocalists Tia Harris and Vicki Saunders as they sing reimagined, a cappella versions of songs from the Civil Rights era during an outdoor show at Natalie’s in Grandview titled “Oh Freedom! Songs and Voices of Freedom and Civil Rights.”


Soul of a Queen: The Times and Music of Aretha Franklin


The talented vocalist Debra James Tucker presents “Soul of a Queen: The Times and Music of Aretha Franklin”, a very special tribute concert that is one of the Black History Month shows in February at Natalie’s. The band members will include Tia Harris and Vicki Saunders (back-up vocals),  David Swank (keyboards), Reggie Jackson (drums), and Roger Hines (bass).

The unique sound of vocalist Debra James Tucker is a product of extensive training in jazz, classical and gospel music. She is the writer/performer of the one woman show Survival of the Boulevard Singer—winner of an Ohio Arts Council Award for Individual Excellence, has been visiting instructor at Denison University in the history of African American Gospel Music, and an artist in residence with a number of youth arts organizations.

Debra is also the host and coordinator of The Gospel Show Brunch series, which presents the best national and regional Gospel Artists in concert, and is held on the first Sunday of each month at Natalie’s.


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