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Kathy Sledge says regaining right to Sister Sledge brand is ‘amazing’

Kathy Sledge (PA)
Kathy Sledge (PA)

Disco star Kathy Sledge has described as “amazing” finally being able to perform using the Sister Sledge brand after 20 years.

The 62-year-old singer, who voiced classic tracks such as We Are Family and Thinking Of You, had been unable to play concerts using the name due to contractual wrangling with her three sisters – Debbie, Joni and Kim.

She described the past situation as “madness” but said she had been “reinventing” herself as an artist while performing live this summer.

Kathy, the youngest of the four siblings, helped launch Sister Sledge in 1971 before the vocal group found international fame working with Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of the band Chic later in the decade.

After she left in 1989 to become a solo artist, her three sisters continued to perform as Sister Sledge, although she would occasionally join them on stage.

Kim, Debbie and Joni Sledge
Kim, Debbie and Joni Sledge (Matt Crossick/PA)

She told the PA news agency: “Finally, because of some of the madness with the sisters, I was allowed to use the brand.

“It was crazy. For like the past 20 years as a corporation they voted that I was the only sister that couldn’t say I was ‘of’ Sister Sledge or ‘from’ Sister Sledge.”

“It was serendipitous for me. Because I started learning how to produce festivals and how to perform in such a way that singing all these hits and using the brand value as well now has just been amazing.

“So this past summer, for the first time I started, I guess you could say, just reinventing.”

Kathy gained the right to perform as “Sister Sledge featuring Kathy Sledge” shortly before the pandemic and following the death of Joni in 2017 aged 60.

Sister Sledge
Sister Sledge in 1985 (PA)

She said: “Kim actually is my neighbour. We get along – we go and get coffee. She knocked on my door right before the pandemic and she said, quote unquote, ‘I’m sorry we’ve been so mean to you’. And she voted back my rights.

“One thing I would like to clear up. When I say my rights, it gave me the right in the company to vote, because they had taken that away from me.

“Now what I’m trying to do is clear up, because it’s very nebulous out there. I would never fight with my sisters. I want that to be known.

“Yes I have, for lack of better words, fought to be able to sing. And I feel like what’s meant for you is meant for you.

“If you go to (the Sister Sledge) website, you see (a photo of) three faces you don’t know, which is basically Debbie and her family.

“What we are really trying to do is, if a 14-year-old wanted to do a book report or essay on Sister Sledge you should be able to pull up the authentic sisters.

“So we’re working on that. And Kim and I get along fine.

“I’m actually very hyped. What I’ve been doing is staying towards the positive in everything, because I think that you have to love too. It might sound corny but I just concentrate on doing what I love. And I feel like the good things surface to the top.”

Sister Sledge featuring Kathy Sledge takes place on Saturday May 14 at London’s Indigo at The O2. Tickets are on sale now.

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