Nancy Wilson sang with a “you will listen,” storytelling, spirited attitude that could best be described as one punctuated by a two-word phrase you dare not utter in polite company. It was sweet and tender when it needed to be, direct and eye-popping bright when it had to be, and aimed right at your soul every single time, landing there with the news solid on its feet.
I do remember seeing her on appearances on television, whether with Flip Wilson or Carson, on her own show, and on Sullivan, and hearing others, elders, talk about her and the albums. Oh man, those beautiful albums. She looked like one of my favourite aunties. She’s gone now, but she shared that same spirited punctuation of a two-word phrase that made you very aware of what she stood for and where you stood with her. That spirit was true to the depth of Wilson’s artistry. Like an armour, it guarded and shielded the warmth of her truest self. She wore it well and wielded it woven into every phrase she sang.
She was one of Capitol’s “capitals,” and her signature was an enchanting directness steeped in her early years singing in church choirs — from there, a grounding of faith and grace finding a balance with that beautiful, and oh so expressive, two-word phrase.