TODAY | June 13, 2013
>>> if you are of a certain era you probably remember this song. it's from 1962 and it's called "he's a rebel" and it was sung by darlene.
>> she can be called a chart troper, author and actress. her road to success wasn't easy, including her stint as a housekeeper just to make ends meet.
>> her story is told in a new film called "50 feet from stardom."
>> my christmas record came on the radio while i was cleaning this bathroom. they're singing deck the halls
>> and i just looked up and said, okay, darlene. this is not where you're supposed to be. you're supposed to be singing. there's a whole world out there who wants to hear you sing.
>> oh, yes, there is. so good to see you.
>> how are you?
>> great to be back with you guys.
>> so great to see you having the career you're supposed to have.
>> 20 feet from stardom. you've sung backup for some of the greats, haven't you?
>> yeah, and bruce said it best in the film. it's 20 feet but it's a whole lot of inches in between those feet. well, you know, i mean, it is. and i have had a wonderful career because all the people i've backed up respected me.
>> like who?
>> well, bruce.
>> elvis presley , sam cooke , luther vandross .
>> but everybody knows.
>> was it frustrating to be -- because you have one of those angeli angelic, terrific voices. was it frustrating to watch someone take the spotlight while you were on the side?
>> not unless it was someone like my friend sonny bono or nancy sinatra .
>> but it was fun.
>> it was okay because we were meant to make them sound good. and that's what we did.
>> and a lot of people would see the bad dark side of that notoriety the stars had to face. i'm making a really good living. i don't have to put the fannys in the seat.
>> i still wonder about that today because i was making a good living but it gets too comfortable and i always wanted to sing by myself. i can understand when people are in a group. they can only do so much. you get by yourself. you are freer. and that's what i wanted to do. i wanted to be freer with my singing.
>> they always talked about how the backup singers are like the choir in church.
>> and the preacher was the lead singer .
>> started out like so many great singers do. you started out in the church.
>> my father was a minister.
>> you were pk.
>> my sister and three brothers. you have that many in your family --
>> what songs?
>> and vacation bible school . uh-huh. i know.
>> what songs do you love to sing? what do you sing in the shower?
>> i sing gospel. the old singers like james cleveland .
>> give us a little something. a hole to his hand god's unchanging hand whoa, hole to his hand god's unchanging hand build your hopes on things eternal i tell you got a hole to god's unchanging hand
>> i am so happy. still doing it. it's a beautiful movie.
>> hoda was blown away.
>> and fiphil spector, in a word describe him.
>> power hungry. he never made any of his recording artists stars. it was about him.
>> we are thrilled for you. one of the all-time greats. 20 feet from stardom opens tomorrow in new york and l.a. and across the country in the coming weeks.
>> it's so worth seeing.