Michael Wouters Michael Wouters


Labelle – Back To Now

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Letter by Rosa Parks

Michael (aka Michael Waters) composed and wrote the song ‘Dear Rosa’ originally as a tribute song for Rosa Parks. Michael was able to send Mrs. Parks the song when she was still alive. She wrote him a personal letter back to thank him for the song. As Nona Hendryx later stated in various interviews: this song lead to the reunion of the group Labelle (Patti Labelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash) and it was the first song they officially recorded for their album Back To Now. Nona co-wrote the lyrics for this specific version of the song.


Interview Labelle-Paul Cashmere

Album Review

December 5 2005

70s R&B group LaBelle, best known for their international hit song ‘Lady Marmalade’, is about to head back into the studio to record their first new song in 30 years.

Nona Hendryx, Patti LaBelle and Sarah Dash will get together this Tuesday (December 6) in a New York studio to record ‘Dear Rosa’, a tribute to Rosa Parks.

“Rosa was the woman who refused to get out of a bus in 1955 in Alabama and was taken to jail,” Nona tells Undercover News. “That led to Martin Luther King getting involved in a bus boycott which caused great pain to the city and led Martin Luther King to becoming a civil rights leader”. MLK was 25 years at the time.

Rosa died about a month ago, aged 92.

‘Dear Rosa’ was written by Amsterdam based duo Soul Planet Control.

“I was in Amsterdam two months ago and was introduced to them,” Nona said. “They wanted me to listen to their music. I did. Three songs including “Dear Rosa” were amazing so I signed them to a publishing deal”.

Rosa knew of the song before she died. “It was written as a letter to her. They sent her the lyrics and she sent a letter back thanking them. As it was a letter written before she died, I recently changed the lyrics slightly to make it a tribute,” she said.

Next, the idea came for LaBelle to record the song as their first new song in 30 years. “It was never going to be a Nona song” said Nona. “It was a song I wanted LaBelle to record. We had been talking about a record or a reunion tour. Sarah and I were involved with a tribute to Patti in the Bahamas six weeks ago and we talked about it then. I said “let’s do Rosa”, they liked it but a few weeks later Rosa died so that became the emphasis for us making it a tribute”.

LaBelle broke up in 1976 after become known globally with the song ‘Lady Marmalade’ and the, (for the time), erotic lyric “voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?" ("do you want to go to bed with me tonight?"). It was most recently a hit for Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliott, Mya and Lil Kim on the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. They broke up because “Patti wanted to go on her own,” Nona explained. “She felt she wanted to make a change and that was the end of it”.

However, despite the break-up, Nona says she has always considered Patti and Sarah her family. “You go through changes like family. You love them, you hate them, you love them, you hate them. It depends on what goes on in your life. We grew up together. We are like sisters. Living that closely to people, there are things you love and things you don’t”.

‘Dear Rosa’ is expected to debut as a download soon on iTunes.