A “gripping, sensitive” biography of the trailblazing singer who carved a path for African American artists including Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson (The Atlanta Voice).
Performing in a country rife with racism and segregation, the tenor Roland Hayes was the first African American man to reach international fame as a concert performer. He became one of the few artists in the world who could sell out Town Hall, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Hall, and Covent Garden. Performing the African American spirituals he was raised on, his voice was marked with a unique sonority which easily navigated French, German, and Italian art songs. A multiculturalist both on and off the stage, he counted among his friends George Washington Carver, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ezra Pound, Pearl Buck, Dwight Eisenhower, and Langston Hughes.
This “substantial and well-documented” biography spans the history of Hayes’s life and career and the legacy he left behind as a musician and a champion of African American rights (BBC Music Magazine). It is an authentic, panoramic portrait of a man who was as complex as the music he performed.
“Like many generations of celebrated African American concert artists, I am an inheritor of the legacy left by the great Roland Hayes. Yet, we hardly know his name today. With this long overdue book, the oversight is now remedied.” —Lawrence Brownlee, Metropolitan Opera
“A wonderful journey through Hayes’ performances, racial plight and acceptance.” —Examiner.com