Nicknamed the "First Daughter of Soul," recording artist Lalah Hathaway (born Eulaulah Donyll Hathaway) has quite the pedigree. She is the daughter of the late Donny Hathaway, one of the most revered American soul vocalists of all time. In addition to her famous father, her mother (whom she is named for), aunt and paternal great-grandmother were all musicians as well, making for a rich musical upbringing.
A classically trained vocalist, Hathaway studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and is an accomplished singer, pianist, songwriter, arranger and producer. She has recorded six albums since 1990, with her third album, The Song Lives On, reaching number two on the U.S. jazz charts. The single "Forever, For Always, For Love," from her 2004 release, Outrun the Sky, went to number one on the U.S. Hot Adult R&B Airplay chart.
In addition, she has appeared on dozens of albums, including releases from the Winans, Grover Washington Jr. and Robert Glasper. In 2010 she recorded one of her father’s songs, "You Had to Know," on jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum’s tribute album Everything is Everything: The Music of Donny Hathaway. In 2002, she also contributed vocals to another one of her father’s songs, "Someday We’ll All Be Free," on the album Beautiful World from Take 6.
"I have been immersed in music my entire life," says Hathaway. "I thought everyone’s parents were musicians because both of mine were and there was music throughout my family. Growing up that way had such an impact on me and the most important lesson I learned, especially from my parents, was to constantly educate myself about this craft that I love."
It was that commitment to education that led her to the Cerwin-Vega! XD3 two-way powered desktop speakers, which she uses at home on a daily basis. When Hathaway was interested in adding a DJ set to her performances, she sought out a tutorial from her friend and Stanton artist, DJ Spark.
When DJ Spark brought a pair of XD3 speakers to Hathaway, the singer fell in love with them almost immediately. Impressed by the warm, crisp sound put out by the compact speakers, she knew they would be a perfect addition to her home.
"I listen to music at some point every day in the downstairs area of my home and these have become my go-to speakers," says Hathaway. "I love that I can easily move them from room to room instead of having to put a whole system in the house. Whether I’m listening to music on my mini disc player, iPad or iPod, since they’re powered and I don’t need an amp, I can just plug the XD3s in and listen. I have many pairs for just that reason."
Hathaway also uses the XD3s when working on songs and arrangements and listening back to tracks recorded in a studio. "The XD3s have a really great low-end register, which is important to have, especially when I'm using them to practice my vocals or listen to recordings," she says. "I really like the fact that even up at a high volume they still sound great; they still sound warm. Even though they're small and affordably priced, they give off a really big, expensive sound, which I love."