We knew Heather Headley was talented, we just didn’t realize exactly how talented. As Wide Open Country recently pointed out, the actress who plays Helen Decatur on Sweet Magnolias has an impressive showbiz resume spanning more than 25 years. Headley has had successes in film, television, theater, and music, earning both a Grammy and Tony along the way.
The Trinidadian-born multihyphenate’s first major role was Nala in the original Broadway production of The Lion King in 1997. Headley originated the title role of Aida and won a 2000 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance. The mom-of-three has also released five studio albums including Audience of One, which earned her a Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album in 2010. Headley finally got the chance to show off her voice during season two of Sweet Magnolias, when Helen and Erik wowed their Serenity friends with a karaoke performance of Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About” in episode six. “We’d been trying to figure out how to [work music into the show], and I remember asking the producers, ‘How well does Helen sing?'” Headley explained to TVLine. “Is she tone deaf, or… has she been on Broadway? They were like, ‘She might be able to sing pretty well,’ so I was like, ‘OK, I’ll get her somewhere in the middle.