Odia Coates
Born: 1942 Died: 5-19-1991
(
Breast Cancer)
    Odia was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. As a young child her family moved to Watts, California where her father was a pastor in the Beautiful Gates Church Of God In Christ. Odia began her singing in the church choir
and eventually became a member of the Southern California State Youth Choir.
    She turned secular in 1968, singing at a club in Sunnyvale, California, while working during the day as a secretary at an aircraft company. Her first professional job was in Batman's Cave at the
"Wayne Manor Club"
working with a yet to be famous Sly and The Family Stone. She then joined a local band, Brotherly Love, before teaming up with Merry Clayton to form Sisters Love. She supplemented her income by doing session work
during the late 1960's and early 1970's.
    One day she called old family friend Edwin Hawkins for some professional advice.
"I had called Edwin to ask his advice about a local deal offered to me," Odia explained in a BillBoard interview, "and he said to forget
about it, he'd talk to Paul (Anka) about me."
Anka had produced Hawkins "Oh Happy Day" album in 1969. "Later I got a call and he had set up an audition for me in Las Vegas, where Paul lives. I did "Do You Wanna Dance"
and Stevie Wonder's "If You Really Love Me." Paul was taken away by the songs but I didn't know that because he was very calm at the time. So I went on and continued my vacation and a week later gave Paul a call. And
he said "Where have you been, I've been trying to reach you."

    This began a lifelong friendship with Anka that lasted till her death. Odia signed with producer Rick Hall
(another cousin of mine), who leased her recordings to Anka's label at the time, United Artists. She was in the
studio with Anka when he was recording
"(You're) Having My Baby" as a solo effort. United Artists executive Bob Skaff was also there and he suggested that Odia duet with Paul on the song. The duet hit #-1 the week of
August 24th, 1974 and held that spot for three weeks. The pair recorded several more tracks together resulting in the hits
"One Man Woman/One Woman Man" (#-7 1974), "I Don't Like To Sleep Alone" (#-8 1975) and "(I
Believe) There's Nothing Stronger Than Our Love"
(#-15 1975).
     She then charted with a solo single, a cover of E.L.O.'s
"Showdown" (#71 1976) also for United Artists. Both had left the label by 1977. Anka had moved to RCA and Odia had moved to Epic. Paul returned the favor for
Coates by writing and producing the 1977 12" classic
"Make It Up To Me In Love." He also returned the favor by duetting with her on the track. The flip was an Odia solo track "You." The 12" featured a stunning Tom Moulton
mix but failed to garner enough success to merit another release.

    Odia went back to session work and her beloved church, quickly disappearing from the pop spotlight. Her beautiful voice was stilled in 1991 when she succumbed to breast cancer. An underrated singer that deserves
recognition ....
she has her spot here in The DiscoMuseum.