Music Premiere: Ruthie Foster “Phenomenal Woman” for International Women’s Day

Ruthie Foster Live At The Paramount
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Three-time Grammy Award nominee Ruthie Foster announces the release of her new album, Live at the Paramount, via Blue Corn Music set to drop on May 15, 2020. We are proud to premiere the first single, “Phenomenal Woman,” with its empowering message, ahead of its official release on International Women’s Day on March 8. 

“We are all phenomenal!”

“Phenomenal Woman” appeared on Foster’s 2011 album, The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster encompassing the poem/lyrics by Maya Angelou written in 1978. Foster says, “This song and poem reminds me that regardless of where I am in my day, in my heart, and in my life, that I matter, and I am enough. So wear it proudly! To all of us. We are all phenomenal!”

Live at the Paramount was recorded on the evening of January 26, 2019, on the 105-year-old stage of Austin’s grand-dame Paramount Theater, where she fronted a guitarist, keyboardist, bassist, and drummer, plus ten horn players, three backing vocalists, and one conductor creating the Ruthie Foster Big Band.

We had a chance to ask Foster about “Phenomenal Woman” and International Women’s Day 2020.

Your single, “Phenomenal Woman,” is from your 2011 album The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster and Maya Angelou’s poem. What was it about Dr. Angelou’s poem that inspired you to put it to music?

This song was actually originally arranged (also recorded) by Amy Sky, an extremely talented entertainer I was introduced to while playing the Vancouver Island Music Festival in Canada. I loved the empowering and uplifting arrangement. Dr. Angelou’s poem always resonated with me, but this musical arrangement takes the message to another level. Plus, it has a place and a need in these times for women.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual. What does this theme mean to you?

What this theme means to me is what my own mother always taught me, and I’ve upset many people along the way because I live by it! The paradigm shift is happening, but slowly and at a cost; we need to step up, step in, and know that we belong in the room.

I’m raising a strong-minded, intelligent, and beautiful daughter myself. Why would I expect anything less for her future?

Who was your “first” female mentor?

My “Bigmama,” my mother’s mother.

She reminded me often to never let any one thing define me, or no one person to tell me who I am, but know always WHO I am and when in doubt … stop, drop, and pray.



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