White will be performing some of her hits songs at the Rainbow Park Amphitheater in Decatur, Saturday, July 8. The show is free and gates open at 5 p.m. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

KW: I’m doing a concert, free to the public, it’s going to be 45 minutes, live with a band and I am excited.

Popular songs like “Superwoman”, “The Way You Love Me”, “Secret Rendezvous” and “Can I Stay With You” are quite familiar to R&B music fans across the globe but the artist behind those classic songs, Karyn White, might not be as much these days. After a sabbatical away from the music business to raise her daughter and step away from the daily grind, White is back with a couple multi-media ventures. Top of the list will be music, of course.

White will be performing some of those hits songs at the Rainbow Park Amphitheater in Decatur, Saturday, July 8. The show is part of DeKalb County Parks and Recreation’s Saturday Soul series. The concert is free and gates open at 5 p.m. Performing with White will be opening acts Tony Tatum and Dri Jack.

She is looking forward to getting back on stage in the metro Atlanta area, she most recently performed alongside Keith Washington in Stone Mountain back in April.

“I’m excited to always give back to the community,” said White, who moved to Georgia in 2016 from her native Los Angeles. “This is such a great place, the culture and the music, I love the movement that’s happening and I fully support it. That’s what you’re supposed to do, get out here and entertain people.”

She dropped by The Atlanta Voice studio to talk about upcoming shows, getting back into live performing and giving back whenever possible.

The Atlanta Voice: Welcome to The Atlanta Voice studio. I hear this is your first time.

Karyn White: It’s an honor to be here. It’s my first times, yes, and I can’t believe it.

AV: Tell us more about the concert you are headlining Saturday in Decatur.

AV: The concert is being presented by DeKalb County District 5 Commissioner Larry Johnson and JFly Music Group. Is there a specific charity or target audience they are looking to serve?

KW: The foundation is dealing with music and arts and giving back to the community so that we make sure that the next generation plays instruments. What happened to the bands, right!

AV: Your opening acts are both local to the Atlanta music scene. As a musician, as an artist that has been all over the world performing how important is it for you to let it be known that grassroots, local music is important?

KW: It is extremely important. That’s where we get our foundation. The music is our vibration, it’s one of our gifts as Black people. Live performances like this are a stepping stone and I am so glad that platform is here to do that.

AV: You are also working with younger artist on your own label, Supernova. Why does it continue to be important to you to remain in the business of music, on and off stage?

KW: Music is really synonymous with our culture. If your music is wack and crazy then the culture is. It’s a vehicle that people are expressing themselves through. That’s why independent artists are so important.

AV: Do you think young artists and others that you may come across understand how hard it is to maintain a career in the music industry?

KW: Success is success and it takes hard work to get there and to stay there. You have to have a dream and a vision.

AV: Back to Saturday’s show, do you believe performing live and being able to put on a great show is important to a musicians career and longevity?

KW: Performing live is the truth. It’s freedom. It’s that relationship with the audience and you can’t but it. It’s authentic and it’s real. Either you have that star quality or you don’t. In a place like Atlanta where fans have seen everything, I look at it as a challenge. When they see me out there doing my whole catalog, kicking and turning, it’s fun.

AV: YOu’re calling it “The Karyn White Experience”, it’s not just a show or a concert huh?

KW: It’s just been a while. I left the industry for 18 years, and coming back the promoters are like, ‘Show us what you got.’ So I’m in the show me phase. I left the business so I have to come back and put in that work. I love what I do and I’m not doing it for ego. It’s my gift.

I know music is healing. I know what it can do for people.

AV: You also have experience in real estate, correct?

KW: When I left the music business I became a real estate investor in Sacramento. I want to share that because a lot of people see artists as artist only and not as business people. All I had is a high school diploma, but I listened to people and learned the business. Maybe can someone can read this and say if Karyn White can do it, they can do it.

AV: You have a number of shows scheduled for this year, including in Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis and Sacramento. You’re also going to receive a Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award and Honorary Doctorate in Humanities in Houston in December. You got a lot going on.

KW: I have been very blessed to have legends and icons that have mentored me and shaped me. There are so many degrees to my career.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...