Broadway star Yvette Cason records a tie-in single for ''Any Way the Wind Blows''

By Karen Valby
Updated August 20, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Illustration by Tim Bower

‘WIND CHIME E. Lynn Harris, author of steamy novels like ”Invisible Life” and ”Not a Day Goes By,” has been called the Luther Vandross of literature. How fitting then that the marketing campaign for his latest best-seller includes a CD tie-in that is generating some steam of its own.

”Any Way the Wind Blows” describes the crossover of one of Harris’ main characters from Broadway to pop-music fame. The author contacted his friend, songwriter Bobby Daye, and asked him to compose a song that the character would actually sing in the novel. Daye wrote the music and lyrics for ”Any Way” in one day and enlisted Broadway actress Yvette Cason (”Play On!”) to record it. Harris’ publisher, Doubleday, then made 15,000 copies of the CD single and sent it out with the book to reviewers, fan club members, and radio stations.

”[Harris] is the mastermind behind all of this,” says Janet Hill, executive editor of Doubleday/Hollow Moon. ”He knows his fans better than anybody and is using radio in completely new ways to keep them endeared to him.” While Daye rushes to make the song available for commercial release, deejays are playing the single during interviews with Harris on his 20-city book tour. ”The song has already gotten a great response,” says Sybil Wilkes, a cohost of the nationally syndicated radio program ”The Tom Joyner Morning Show.” ”Our listeners are big fans of his books, and now they’re excited by this surprise song.”

The buzz continues to build. ”Word of mouth is very powerful,” says Cason, who has previously sung backup for Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder. ”My mother called me up and said, ‘Yvette, one of my church members is in Lynn’s fan club and told me how much she loved the song.’ My first reaction was ‘Mom, just who in your church is reading E. Lynn Harris?”’