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Singer, activist Monica Raye Simpson talks would love to meet Luther Vandross and would die without music. Read about her love for black music. Simpson is the fundraising coordinator for Grassroots Fundraiser Coordinator.

If you could meet any singer – dead or alive – who would you want to meet? Why?

I would want to meet Luther Vandross, so I could introduce him to my mother. She LOVES Luther and I love to make her happy.

What song brings back the most memories for you? Why?

The song that brings back the most memories is the song “A Feeling Is” by the Emotions.

I used to sneak in the living room really late and listen to my mom’s records in the dark. I would perform all kinds of songs, but my favorite was this song by the Emotions. It just did something to my young Spirit.

What’s your favorite musical era? Why?

I think my favorite music era was the music that surrounded the Harlem Renaissance. The blues and the jazz of this time was so raw and free. You could feel the soul of the musician and the singers and the synergy that was created was incredible. I believe black folks really felt liberated to express themselves, and you could feel that in the music.

How important is music in your life?

It is my air.

What’s your favorite summertime song?

Right now I would have to say, Usher’s song “There Goes My Baby”

It makes me feel like I want to be in Miami with my baby on the beach in linen and flowing dresses flapping in the wind. Its really a sexy song, and I am feeling really sexy these days!