Gabourey Sidibe's Mom Is Making Waves On The Soul Music Scene

Alice Tan Ridley's powerful voice is finally getting some time in the spotlight. After years of singing in New York City subway stations to support her family — including Precious star Gabourey Sidibe — the 63-year-old soul artist is releasing her debut album, Never Lost My Way. Refinery29 has the exclusive premiere of Ridley's debut music video, "Try A Little Tenderness."

"I've been singing all my life and I hope to sing until I'm out of here," Ridley told R29. "That's been my dedication: to show people that you can still do what you love to do." The album's title is especially meaningful for Ridley, who was a finalist on America's Got Talent. The album's production was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign.

She titled her album Never Lost My Way — a reminder for those tempted to give up to push through adversity."I didn't give up on my dreams for years," Ridley said.

The singer also told R29 that Sidibe — who made her directorial debut with a short film for Refinery29's ShatterBox Anthology this year — has been with her every step of the way.

"She's there for me. I really didn't want her to do that part that she did in the movie. But I'm so happy that she did," Ridley said, referring to Sidibe's breakout role in Precious. "People still today see her as that person who went through that life. When they see me performing in the subway or onstage, they ask if I'm Precious' mother — and I tell them no! My daughter's name is not Precious. Her name is Gabourey Sidibe."

Ridley said "Try A Little Tenderness" is her favorite song on Never Lost My Way. Her deep voice gives the Otis Redding classic a revamped bluesy vibe, and the video (directed by Roy Wol) matches her energy. The song is one of her all-time favorites, she said, because she loves its message of sincerity.

Never Lost My Way
is out today. Ridley will be give a live performance at the Highline Ballroom in NYC on Saturday, September 24.
Advertisement