Long a fixture in Kansas City’s music community, Oleta Adams received a big career boost with the release of Tears for Fears’ third album on Sept. 25, 1989.
Born and reared in Washington state, Adams moved to Kansas City on the advice of her vocal coach. She quickly made a name for herself playing hotel bars and showrooms.
In the late 1980s, Tears for Fears played a concert in Kansas City. After the show, the band’s founders and frontmen, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, were at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center Hotel and heard Adams perform. They asked her to join the band and record for their next album.
The Seeds of Love wasn’t as big as the band’s previous album, Songs from the Big Chair, but its stylistic range was wider and was well-received critically. Adams was featured on Woman in Chains and received equal billing—Tears for Fears Featuring Oleta Adams—in subsequent reissues.
In addition to recording, Adams joined the band for its 1990 world tour, singing and playing keyboards. She also was the tour’s opener. She got a solo deal soon after, with Orzabal producing her debut album.
Adams is probably best-known for her version of Brenda Russell’s Get Here, which became a theme song for families with deployed soldiers during the first Gulf War.
She has continued to record, alternating between gospel and secular R&B. Her latest album, Let’s Stay Here, was released in April 2010.