London calling: La Toya brings some glitz home for the holidays

Showbiz is hard work, so you can’t blame a girl if she indulges in some occasional pampering.

By the time singer La Toya London calls in for her interview, she’s settled into a well earned mani-pedi treat while still taking care of business. “I try and take care of myself,” she says while sipping a raw juice concoction of “beets, carrots and spinach! Mmm!”

Born in San Francisco and raised in Oakland, London made her mark in the third season of “American Idol,” rising to fourth rank before being eliminated.

“Simon [Cowell] called us the ‘three divas,’” she says, referencing co-contestants Fantasia Barrino, the winner that season, and later Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson.

“It’s a great launching pad for anyone able to get through,” she says of the reality-show process that has become the staple of many a career strategy.

“It’s about taking advantage of that moment when you’re ‘hot’ and capitalizing on the success,” she says. “So you get the publicist and hit the recording studio, because you do have fans and they want to buy your music and see you perform.”

London is delighted that her participation in “Putting on the Glitz at the Ritz,” a New Year’s Eve extravaganza at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel organized by J’LaChic Productions, is bringing her home for the holidays, but not just for relaxing.

“Honestly, I’m looking forward to recording when I get there,” she says. “I have some new music and it’s been a while since I’ve been in a studio. Of course seeing family and friends will be wonderful. Also eating at the restaurants I love in Oakland!”

Depending on your ticket purchase, the multitiered gala evening at the Ritz might include a reception with media personalities Jan Wahl and Miranda Wilson, the dinner show with entertainment, casino-style gaming, dancing to a wide range of music, auctions and a late-night buffet.

In addition to London, performers throughout the evening include Denise Perrier, the Tom Shaw Trio and R&B artists Top Shelf.
Part of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation, an organization dear to London. She’s appeared in their benefit concerts and serves as an honorary board member.

“The people who run the foundation are close to my family and they’ve been tremendously supportive of my work,” she says. “I’ve had two cousins die from AIDS and everyone, myself included, still needs to pay attention, protect themselves and do what they can to fight the disease. So I’m more than happy to give my gift of song to support them.”

IF YOU GO
Putting on the Glitz at the Ritz
Where:
Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 600 Stockton St., San Francisco
When: 6 p.m. Dec. 31
Tickets: $125 to $250
Contact: (866) 907-3777, www.newyearsevesanfrancisco.com

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