American capitalism would want us to believe that it is never too early to start thinking about and celebrating Christmas. If you are among the people that believe in that way, then you know there is no Christmas season without the sounds of Donny Hathaway and his version of “This Christmas.”

From the syncopated beats to his soothing voice, Hathaway gave us one of the original soundtracks for the Christmas holiday season. But don’t get it twisted. Donny Hathaway’s music goes far beyond the Nativity scene, gifts, and Black Santa.

Deemed by Rolling Stone as a Soul Legend, Donny Hathaway’s music and influence has touched millions worldwide. With songs like “A Song For You,” “The Ghetto,” and “Where Is The Love,” Hathaway mastered a timeless sound through music that is still relevant today.

Born in Chicago, IL, Hathaway had early roots in music, which began in the church. His early affinity for music led him to earn a scholarship to study at Howard University. His continued passion for music would ultimately land him roles as a music arranger for artists such as Aretha Franklin and the Staple Singers.

Hathaway’s creativity was noticed by many in the industry. In a conversation with NPR, singer-songwriter Raul Midón confirms this truth, specifically regarding Hathaway’s voice.

“He’s just the strongest soul singer that ever existed,” Midón said to NPR. “Call it gospel. Call it soul. Call it whatever you want. That tradition of singing… black singers, African-American singers. He came from that tradition.”

It has been noted that the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. member knew the power of his gift as it related to music. In a 1973 interview found on the 2004 release of his “These Songs for You, Live!” Hathaway expressed how he wanted to use his gift and tap into the complete range of music.

“When I think of music, I think of music in its totality, complete,” he said. “From the lowest blues to the highest symphony, you know, so what I’d like to do is exemplify each style of as many periods as I can possibly do.”

Unfortunately, in 1979, Donny Hathaway tragically passed away. However, with continued interest in his artistry and the work of his three daughters – the Hathaway legacy lives on.

The Future Of Donny's Music

Music Business Worldwide reported that Primary Wave Music Publishing was set to acquire a majority stake in the publishing catalog and artist royalties of Donny Hathaway in 2020. At the time of the report, the acquisition was to include a partnership with the Hathaway estate to market his music and negotiate opportunities to license his name and likeness.

Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

“Donny Hathaway was one of the greatest singers of our time with a voice as smooth as anyone. It’s an honor to represent his music,” Lawrence Mestel, CEO & Founder of Primary Wave Music Publishing, said to Music Business Worldwide.

Donnita Hathaway

Donnita has established herself as a key administrator in and out of the music industry. According to her LinkedIn profile, she has worked as the personal assistant for India Arie and is currently serving as the executive assistant for the Black Voters Matter Fund.

She is also carrying on her father’s legacy as the founder and president of the Donny Hathaway Legacy Project.

Kenya Hathaway

Kenya followed in her father’s footsteps as a singer. She is credited with numerous background vocals on Fox’s “American Idol” and is a voice actor for “Sunny Funny” in the PlayStation video game, PaRappa the Rapper.

Kenya also worked as a vocal coach on Fox’s “The Four” and is featured on several R&B and soul tracks.

Lalah Hathaway

Lalah is likely the most known offspring of Donny Hathaway. She, too, is a singer, releasing her self-titled debut EP in 1990. She is known across the industry for the versatility and uniqueness of her voice. She has worked with artists like Kirk Franklin, Kirk Whalum, Anderson .Paak, and Charlie Wilson.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Lalah has a net worth of $10 million.