Gladys Knight Talks Music, Singing In The Kitchen, and Her Love of Cooking

The legendary musician joins us for this week’s episode of Biscuits & Jam.

Gladys Knight
Photo: Derek Blanks

The legendary Gladys Knight talks with host Sid Evans on Biscuits & Jam about her Atlanta upbringing, making cobbler from scratch, and how her group's biggest hit, "Midnight Train to Georgia," almost didn't happen.

Get to Know Gladys Knight

Gladys Knight, known around the world as the Empress of Soul, began performing in her native Atlanta at age 4. By 15, she and her brother and cousins, known as the Pips, already had a hit with their debut single "Every Beat of My Heart" in 1961. Despite success on the R&B charts over the next decade, 1973 changed everything for the quartet with the release of "Midnight Train to Georgia," which became not just the group's crossover hit, but one of the most beloved pieces of American recorded music. The lyrics center around leaving the hustle-and-bustle of the big city behind for the comforts of home in the South, and even if you're not a born Southerner, the sentiment remains universal for us all nearly 50 years later.

What Gladys Knight Talks About in This Episode

  • Growing up in a musical family
  • Being a sweetaholic
  • How Gladys Knight & the Pips started out
  • Their hit "Midnight Train to Georgia"
  • What Little Richard meant to her

Quotes From Gladys Knight

"Georgia for us was always home, especially Atlanta. And that's why that line to me just hit home. It's just easy. Going back to find a simpler place in time. The further up north we got, the less they were—what can I say?—amenable to being cordial, so to speak."

Gladys Knight

"My mom was a great cook but so was my entire family...All my uncles and my male cousins, and nephews, they came to cook, too. And on top of that, we'd all be singing. We had enough people in there cooking to have a choir."

— Gladys Knight

"When Sammy come out there, he'd control that audience. I was in awe of that and I used to go, I said, 'How do you do that? I know they love you and they love your music, but you know when you step on stage or you start to performing and you get to your quiet time in your perform...how do you do that?' He said, 'When you get out there, you do your song from your heart, which you always do. ...and if you say anything to them or singing anything to them, just bring it down and just get softer and softer and softer and they'll want to hear what you got to say.'"

"You know, I don't care what you do in life, whether it's history, whether it's music, whether it's just hard work or whatever. You got to have something and someone on your side saying, 'Oh, you did a great job.' It helps."

About Biscuits & Jam

In the South, talking about food is personal. It's a way of sharing your history, your family, your culture, and yourself. Each week Sid Evans, editor-in-chief of Southern Living, will sit down with celebrity musicians to hear stories of how they grew up, what inspired them, and how they've been shaped by Southern culture. Sid will take us back to some of their most cherished memories and traditions, the family meals they still think about, and their favorite places to eat on the road.

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Get a transcript of the full interview with Gladys Knight.

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