International recording artist Freda Payne has made her mark on music history, and it is indelibly etched in the minds of music aficionados from Rio to Rome. Her evocative sounds captures the essence of true romance and broken hearts.
As a demure child growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Freda learned to express her deepest inhibitions, andm usic has poured from her soul ever since.
Under the direction of piano teacher Ruth Johnson, high-school dance instructor Ann Cade, Luigi's Jazz Center instructors in New York,
and mentor Mack Ferguson, Freda received training that was the foundation for what followed. Now equipped with the unique vocal style and a distinctive dance technique, the public was ready for the multi-dimensional Miss Freda Payne.
Possessing screen idol beauty, Freda exhibited an artistry and stage presence that was peculiar to older, seasoned artists. At age thirteen, she performed her first studio recordings (United Sound Studios in Detroit): "Father Dear," "The Moon Rock," and "Applications for Love" written and produced by impresario and Motown Recording Co. founder Berry Gordy Jr.
From those early recordings to her 1970 mega-hit "Band of Gold," which was written and produced by Holland, Dozier, Holland for Invictus Records, to her latest project, On the Inside, Freda has sculpted an image of class and sheer elegance. This latest album is a riveting twelve-track CD that exhibits vintage Freda interspersed with an ecletic lineup of beautifully arranged super-cuts, produced by Preston Glass.
Throughout her exciting career, Freda has interacted with some of the finest international musicians, composers, and performers. And when she was only seventeen, she recieved her first paying gig from singer Pearl Bailey to be one of her background singers. From the great Duke Ellington, super-producer Quincy Jones, Sammy Davis Jr., and Lionel Hampton to bandleader Bob Crosby, Freda has established an extraordinary track record. Her enormous contributions to the recording industry peaked in the summer of 2008 with her stellar performance at Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival, celebrating Quincy Jones' 75th anniversary.
Freda's love for diverse genres is evident on the Volt label release Come See About Me, which features jazz, R&B, and popular standards. Like Ella, Sarah, and Billie, Freda is recognized internationally as a pure singer whose essence defies nomenclature. Other noteworthy albums in Freda's illustrious discography are listed below.
The favorable impression that Freda Payne has made on the international performance
landscape extends beyond "Band of Gold," which reached gold status and launched to #3 on US Billboard's pop chart and rocketed to #1 in Great Britain. "Bring the Boys Home," another golden smash-hit, received tremendous world wide acceptance along with "Deeper and Deeper," "You Brought the Joy," and the unforgettable "Cherish What Is Dear to You." Incidentally, Payne and Please, her 1974, ABC Dunhill Records album, was re-released in 2009.
Not to be overlooked are Freda's graceful portrayals in popular theatrical productions of Sophisticated Ladies, Ain't Misbehavin, Blues in the Night, Jelly's Last Jam, Donald Welch's A Change Is Gonna Come and Divorce, and the much anticipated one-woman concert tribute to Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song (in 2009 remains a hit), which opened to rave reviews at the Crossroads Theater in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
More than a singer, Freda is a seasoned thespian, assuming an assortment of memorable screen roles. Among her noteworthy film credits are Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Rag Doll, Rhapsody, Book of Numbers, and Cordially Invited, which is an evocative love story. In addition to her movie roles, she has also been a frequent performer on many popular television shows of our time such as The Tonight Show, Soul Train, Merv Griffin, Dick Cavett, and David Frost. Freda's excellent people skills and charismatic personality were on display each week as she enjoyed a successful run of hero wn talk show, Today's Black Woman. Noteworthy is the fact that the highly photogenic star is sought out often by credible national periodicals (such as Johnson Publications) and even tabloid journals.
Adding to her illustrious credits, Freda's rousing special guest perfromance to upwards of 100 million American Idol television viewers in 2009 is a powerful statement to her artistry and endless appeal: "A solid performance," said a former Motown recording artist. "I'd like to have been there to see her in person," said a longtime record industry insider.
Freda was chosen to participate in We Are The World 2010, Remake for Haiti, benefitting Haitians in the wake of the worst earthquake disaster in history. "I was thrilled to participate and perform with other artists for Haitians," Freda exclaimed.
Although Freda isn't the only singer in the family: Scherrie Payne, her sister, is a member of Former Ladies of the The Supremes. From a young, aspiring chanteuse to an international recording sensation, Freda Payne continues to give legions of fans great live and recorded music.
By Phil Brown
PERFORMED FIRST STUDIO
RECORDINGS AT AGE 13
SMASH HIT “BAND OF GOLD”
REMAINS A CLASSIC
WORKED WITH DUKE
ELLINGTON, QUINCY JONES,
SAMMY DAVIS JR., LIONEL
HAMPTON, BOB CROSBY