State of My Heart
“La Toya stood out to me the very first time I saw her on ‘Idol.’ Her talent, her style and her command of the stage set her apart. It was apparent that she had all the makings of a superstar. When she was voted off, I was hopeful that we'd have a shot at bringing her into our family. I am thrilled that it has become a reality.” Peak Records president Andi Howard on La Toya London
African-American Soul and R&B singer, songwriter and stage actress La Toya London rose to fame as a result of her participation in the third season of the reality talent search television show “American Idol,” where she finished in fourth place. Her singing ability put her on the radar of the president of Peak Records and she was soon signed to the label. In September 2005, London released her debut album, “Love & Life,” which spawned the Billboard hit single “Appreciate/Every Part of Me/All By Myself” and the Adult Contemporary hit “State of My Heart.” She has also established a fruitful stage career and made her debut in “Issues: We All Got 'Em” (2006). She has since received praise for performances in the Los Angeles production of “Beehive” (2006) and the Oprah Winfrey produced touring company of the Broadway musical “The Color Purple” (2007-2008).
As for her personal life, London, who currently resides in southern California, is separated from her husband. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends.
Childhood and Family:
La Toya Renee London was born on December 29, 1978, in San Francisco, California. She grew up in Oakland, California, and attended Skyline High School where she studied dance and performed with the school's gospel choir. Upon graduating in 1996, she moved to Richmond, California, to live with her father, who died four years later in October 2000. After her father's death, she relocated to Los Angeles to receive formal training at the Musician's Institute.
La Toya is a fan of Whitney Houston, Anita Baker, Mariah Carey and Faith Evans.
The Color Purple
Discovering an interest in singing at age 4 while attending church, La Toya London made her first public appearance three years later singing “The Greatest Love Of All” at her mother's wedding. She then tried out for talent shows and performed in events held by family, friends and church choirs. From 1993 to 1996, London was a member of the Oakland Youth Chorus. She began writing songs at age 13 and singing on demos.
London, who worked as a bartender and waitress to support herself, had just moved to Los Angeles when auditions for the third season of “America Idol” were held there. At the time, she was the lead singer of All-Star Jukebox, a band that usually performed at wedding ceremonies. Thanks to her rendition of “If I Could” by Regina Belle, London effortlessly passed the first round and went on to gained praise in her next performances. She even received a standing ovation from judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson after singing Eric Carmen's “All By Myself,” a performance that voted her one of the show's final 12 contestants. Named one of “The Three Divas” with Jennifer Hudson and eventual champion Fantasia Barrino, London shocked many when in May 2004 she was voted out of the show. She ended up being the fourth finalist. Recalling her experience in the competition, she stated, “It was a lot of fun, including sharing the stage with Elton John, Donna Summer and Barry Manilow, but a lot of hard work. We were pretty much in a bubble being in this competition week after week. We were so busy that we barely talked to our families. It was like boot camp!”
After “American Idol,” London joined the other Idol contestants for the international tour in the summer of 2004. Her voice was also heard in “American Idol Season 3: Greatest Soul Classic,” in which she sang Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes' “If You Don't Know Me By Now.” The compilation disc was a bestseller and London's rendition was considered one of the album's best. In addition, she was invited to appear in TV shows like “Late Show with David Letterman” and “On-Air with Ryan Seacrest” and performed at a number of events and festivities.
After signing a record contract with the jazz label Peak Records in 2004, London released a CD single called “Appreciate/Every Part of Me/All By Myself” in August 2005. It hit No. 8 on the Billboard Singles Sales Chart. Her full length album, “Love & Life,” followed a month later and went on to earn good reviews from critics. Consisting of 14 tracks, 5 of which she wrote, the album peaked at No. 27 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart but failed to reach the Top 50 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. Her song “State of My Heart,” which was co-written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager and Linda Thompson, was a success on Adult Contemporary radio. Other songs included “Every Part of Me,” “More,” which she co-wrote with Rex Rideout, “Learn To Breathe,” “Meet Me Halfway,” “Practice Makes Perfect,” “How I Love The Rain,” “I Can't Hide (What's In My Heart),” “Scandalous,” “Anything” and “Waiting For You.”
London announced in 2006 that her partnership with Peak Records had ended despite their initial three album deal. While finding a new home, she is collecting material for her next album. It was also in 2006 that London began her career as a stage performer. Along with Dave Hollister, Angie Stone and Kim Fields, she toured in a dramatic comedy production called “Issues: We All Got 'Em” by Laterras R. Whitfield. Later that same year, London hit the Los Angeles stage with a revival of “Beehive” at the El Portal Theater in north Hollywood and later shared a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle nomination in the category of Best Ensemble Performance. She then received good reviews for her portrayal of Nettie in the Broadway musical “The Color Purple,” which was produced by Oprah Winfrey. Also starring ex-Destiny Child member Michelle Williams, Jeannette Bayardelle and Tony nominee Felicia Fields, the show debuted in April 2007.