In this conversation on race, Durga McBroom shares her experience as a Black woman in Rock music. “Because of racist stereotypes in the US, it was difficult to get work in Rock music. There was the belief that all Black women should be in R&B. I wanted to be like Jimi Hendrix or Donna Summer. I moved to the UK where I became a backing vocalist for Pink Floyd.”
• Growing up in an upper middle class Black family in Bel Air. Being stopped by police with her sister in their Mercedes because the cop didn’t believe that two Black women could have a car like that.
• Why it was easier to be a Black woman in Rock in Great Britain than in the US
• Why Durga McBroom says that while these is racism in Europe it’s not as entrenched as in the US
• How she is heartened by the response of so many white people today who demonstrate for Black Lives Matter
• Her willingness to engage with people who disagree with her and the importance of getting out of the echo chamber on only one way to think
• What it was like to work with Pink Floyd
Listen to her new album with her sister, Lorelei McBroom entitled Black Floyd
Check out their website, www.McBroomSisters.com
Durga McBroom was born on October 16, 1962, in Los Angeles, California. After working as an actress, dancer and singer in the United States, she and her sister Lorelei McBroom worked with Pink Floyd as backing vocalists. She went on to have a long stint with them, being the only backing vocalist to appear consistently on all of their shows starting from the November 1987 concert at Omni Arena of A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour up to the final concert of The Division Bell Tour in October 1994. She also performed on their appearance at the 1990 Knebworth festival and has provided vocals for the Pink Floyd live albums Delicate Sound of Thunder, and Pulse, and the Pink Floyd studio albums The Division Bell, and The Endless River, as well as David Gilmour‘s 2001 solo tour.
Around 1989, McBroom formed the band Blue Pearl with record producer Youth, singing, playing some keyboards and co-writing all of their material. As part of Blue Pearl, she had several hit songs in the early 1990s, including “Naked in the Rain” (UK #4 in July 1990), “Little Brother” (UK #31 in October 1990), and a cover version of Kate Bush‘s “Running Up That Hill“, all taken from the album Naked, released in 1990 on the Big Life label. Subsequent singles included “(Can You) Feel the Passion” (UK #14 in January 1992).
She provided backing vocals to the song “Don’t Wait That Long” featured on the James album Seven released in 1992. She also sang a duet on “Mother Dawn” with Billy Idol for his Cyberpunk album, a self-penned song that was originally released as a Blue Pearl single. In addition, she sang backing vocals on several other songs on Cyberpunk, including a featured performance on “Heroin”.
In addition to her music career, McBroom performed as an actress in the movies Flashdance , The Rosebud Beach Hotel, the episode “Lullabye” of the TV show “Hunter” (with Gary Sinise), and several other less notable appearances. She also appears in many videos, including “California Girls”, “Yankee Rose” and “Just A Gigolo” for David Lee Roth, “Would I Lie To You” for Eurythmics, “Day In, Day Out” for David Bowie, and “When I Think Of You” for Janet Jackson.
In April 2010, she started to work with the Argentinian band “The End Pink Floyd” show in Buenos Aires, including some appearances with Guy Pratt and Jon Carin. In October 2011, McBroom joined her sister Lorelei to sing “The Great Gig in the Sky” in Anaheim, California with the Australian Pink Floyd Show. 2017 saw her reunite with Gary Wallis, Scott Page, and Claudia Fontaine in several Italian shows. 2019 promises even more shows with her old band mates.
June 2019 kicks off with the first-ever live performances of Blue Pearl featuring both Durga AND Youth in anticipation of the long-awaited release of their new album.
She currently tours the world singing with various bands, and has recorded a second Blue Pearl album with Youth. Another album is currently in the works with her sister Lorelei (produced by Dave Kerzner), including some cover songs as well as original material. She and her sister Lorelei are also featured on Steve Hackett‘s latest album At the Edge of Light, being featured on the chart-topping single “Underground Railroad”.