Philadelphia students inspired by singer Dorothy Moore
Gaining a good education and staying away from drugs by seeking a natural high was the message American Blues and gospel singer Dorothy Moore had for a select group of music and arts students from Philadelphia middle and high schools last week during a lecture at Marty Stuart's Congress of Country Music.
The Jackson, Mississippi, native took the stage to thunderous cheers and excitement from the crowd, setting the stage for her inspiring words. Moore’s humble demeanor led her to open the floor for questions from the students, offering valuable feedback and life lessons.
One student asked, “At the beginning of your career, did you ever think that this path wasn’t the right one, or did you question if what you were doing was the right thing intended for you?”
Moore responded, “I never did question that because I was discovered. A gentleman came looking for me. I’ve questioned it as far as business-wise, but I would obey my parents,” she said. “My great-grandmother raised me. She brought me up in the church choir and would take me to sing in different talent shows. She was my chaperone and would sit in the corner. When we went home, she wanted me to sing to her again. She was a fan of mine believe it or not. I could not believe that.”
Moore delved into her life story, sharing valuable life lessons along the way. She recounted her upbringing in Jackson and the profound impact that music had on her life.
Moore’s music journey began with singing in the church choir and joining the school choir in seventh grade. Her mornings were filled with the sounds of radio tunes as she prepared for school. She also actively participated in talent shows at school, which helped raise funds for various school needs.
Another student asked, “What is great advice for up-and-coming artists?”
To which she responded, “Make sure that you have an attorney before you sign anything, I can tell you that,” she said as she laughed. “It didn’t matter when I was coming up because we didn’t have much of that. I’ve always tried to help young people with anything they might have questions about or need advice. The main thing is education. Stay away from drugs, I believe in getting a natural high. I’m so thankful to God for giving me the honor to do what I do. He is first in my life.”
Reflecting on her music career, Moore remarked, “I never imagined that one day I would become a recording artist. I got discovered with a simple knock at my door. A record producer came looking for me after hearing about my singing around town. It was around 9 p.m. when he arrived, and he was starting up a record label and wanted to record me. I haven’t stopped singing since.”
Moore’s breakthrough came with her single, “Misty Blue,” which garnered two Grammy nominations for Song of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year. Her second hit, “I Believe You,” achieved similar acclaim. Moore found herself nominated alongside prominent artists such as Natalie Cole, Diana Ross, and the legendary Aretha Franklin.
The Grammy Awards that year, hosted by Gladys Knight and Michael Jackson, were a surreal experience for Moore. Jackson performed a rendition of “Misty Blue” for the Grammy crowd, of which Moore felt surprised and honored. She fondly recalled, “Coming from Mississippi to the Grammys was like a little girl going to the fair. I had heard and seen these artists on television, never imagining that I would someday share the stage with them.”
Moore was very delighted to hear “Misty Blue” sung by eighth grader Makayla Triplett on Friday. Triplett pretended to have a question before erupting in a powerful vocal performance that amazed everyone. It was truly heartwarming.
“That’s so good, that was beautiful! Thank you so much,” Moore exclaimed. “Everybody give her a round of applause.”
Moore concluded by singing “Misty Blue” for the students and received massive cheers and a huge standing ovation with yells and whistles echoing throughout the theater. She further emphasized the importance of making time for meaningful interactions with young minds, stating, “I do it as often as I can. Whenever possible, I take the time. It was wonderful to see that I had the children’s undivided attention, and they listened to my words. It was an opportunity for me to share my journey with them. I hope they absorbed my guidance.”
Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. Shannon Whitehead presented Moore with a bouquet of roses accompanied by a sign that read, “Ms. Dorothy Moore: Painting Philly Misty Blue - We Love You!”
Dr. Whitehead spoke for the community, saying, “You are our rose, and we’ve decided to present you with a bouquet of pink roses and purple linings, symbolizing royalty. Thank you for allowing us to grace your presence today and for pouring into the lives of our students at Philadelphia Public Schools.”