Táta Vega is an internationally recognized vocalist and voice actress known for her Oscar-nominated performance of Shug Avery’s voice in The Color Purple.
Growing up in Puerto Rico, the Panama Canal Zone, and abroad, Vega has been exposed to Latin music and culture for as long as she can remember. Her family’s appreciation for rhythm, blues, soul, gospel, folk, rock, and country had a huge contribution to the extensive range of genres Vega performs.
“Ain’t No Fences Here” (ft. Jamie McCrary & Táta Vega)
“Juke Joint Jesus” (ft. Jamie McCrary & Táta Vega)
Vega is a talented R&B and Urban Contemporary vocalist with credits spanning from music entertainment to film and theatre. After moving to Los Angeles from her Long Island hometown in 1969, her career as a professional singer took off. At just 16 years old, Vega’s first job was as a cast member in the musical “Hair.” One gig led to the next, until she signed with Motown’s Natural Resources label in 1973 as a member of the group Earthquire.
By 1976, Motown had dropped the band and signed Vega as a solo artist under their Tamla label. She released four solo albums, each with genres ranging from classic Motown, country, southern soul, gospel, and doo-wop to jazz, funk, disco, and Latin tunes. Vega has worked as a back-up singer and/or soloist with legendary performing artists like Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Madonna, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Patti LaBelle, and more.
In The Color Purple soundtrack (1986), Vega sings on four songs, one of which was nominated for “Best Song” at the Academy Awards –– “Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister)”. She has sung on countless albums with the biggest stars of the past five decades and been nominated for an incredibly broad range of musical awards. You can even hear Vega’s voice in the Spanish version of The Lion King singing “Circle of Life” as well as in the soundtrack for Forrest Gump.
Around the same time The Color Purple was released, Vega began practicing writing and singing gospel music. By 1998 she had signed with Quincy Jones’ Qwest Records in 1998 and released her long-awaited Gospel solo debut, “Now I See.” In 2006 she signed another contract with Do Rite Records, releasing her first gospel album “This Joy” with the new label in October 2009.
From working as a full-time backup vocalist and studio singer for stars like Elton John and Andraé Crouch to bouncing around the Billboard’s Top 100 List, Vega felt she had a story to tell from an underserved point of view. With friends Merry Clayton, Darlene Love, Judith Hill, and Lisa Fischer, Vega spearheaded the production of “20 Feet from Stardom”, a documentary detailing the lives of the powerhouse female background singers who have supported some of the biggest headliners in music history. Throughout the film, Vega often refers to strong backing vocalists as the “frame for the painting.” It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013 and went on to win two Grammy awards –– one for Best Documentary and another for Best Music in a Film –– as well as an Academy Award.
Today, Vega has worked as a session singer for artists like Natasha Beddingfield, Iggy Azalea, Melody Gardot, and more. Several of her Motown releases have also been sampled by hip-hop stars Eminem, Drake, Jim Jones, and Tory Lanez.