Spotlight on: 'Freda Payne'
Freda PayneThe multi-talented Freda Payne is best known for her
singing career, yet she has also performed in musicals
and acted in movies over the years, and briefly in
1981 was the host of her own televison talk-show.
Born in Detroit , Michigan , Freda Payne is sister
of former Supremes member Scherrie Payne.
Freda began her career with the Pearl Bailey Revue,
performing regularly with Duke Ellington.
Her first major break came when musician Quincy
Jones invited her to perform as a soloist with his
orchestra one night at the Apollo in Harlem , New York .
In 1965 she signed with ABC Records and sang strictly
jazz until 1969 when she was signed by the Invictus label,
formed by the Holland/Dozier/Holland production
team, after their departure from Motown Records.
In fact, Freda Payne was the first singer that Motown
president Berry Gordy Jr. wanted to sign to his label.
Gordy had his eyes set on making Freda his big
female star in the early part of Motown before
Diana Ross, Martha Reeves and Mary Wells.
However, Freda was never signed by Gordy.
At Invictus Freda Payne made an immediate
impact on the American R&B scene with
"Unhooked Generation," followed
by her biggest hit "Band of Gold" .
In the UK this success was followed by a couple
of minor hit singles, "Deeper and Deeper"
and "Cherish What Is Dear To You".
However, her U.S. million-seller anti-Vietnam song
"Bring the Boys Home" failed to chart in the UK .
Because of a royalty dispute with Invictus,
"I haven't been paid a cent in 25 years," said Freda
in a recent U.S. interview, she returned to the ABC label.
Her album releases for ABC included "Payne & Pleasure"
(1975) and "Out Of Payne Comes Love" (1975).
In 1976 Freda made a switch to Capitol for
"Supernatural High" and in 1982 Freda Payne recorded
the single "In Motion" for the New York Sutra label.
Payne is equally at home performing with
a symphony or an intimate jazz trio.
Her remarkable multi-faceted career spans
more than four decades and includes
theater, Broadway, concert stage and film.
Whether singing pop, jazz, or R&B, there
are few vocalists finer than Freda Payne.
Notable songs include --
- Band of Gold
- Deeper and Deeper
- Bring the Boys Home
- Cherish What's Dear To You
- Reaching Out
- Supernatural High
- The Unhooked Generation
- Road We Didn't Take
- Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right
- Through the Memory of My Mind
- You Brought the Joy
- Now Is the Time to Say Goodbye
Born in Detroit , Michigan on September 19, 1942,
Freda grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie
Holiday, which inspired her growing interest in music.
While still in school, she began her musical career by singing
radio commercial jingles in her hometown of Detroit , Michigan .
Her polished voice caught the attention
of music executives and other artists.
She was wooed with offers of contracts from the
likes of Berry Gordy and Duke Ellington, but
her mother wanted her to finish school first.
After she did, the legendary Pearl Bailey gave
Freda her first professional job and this paved
the way for her to share the stage with other
legends such as Lionel Hampton, Sammy Davis Jr.,
Billy Eckstine, Quincy ]ones, Bill Cosby and many others.
Freda toured with Quincy ]ones during his big band
era, performing at the world famous Apollo in New
York and the Regal in Chicago, among others and
soon after, recorded her first album When
The Lights Go Down for Impulse Records.
Three years later, she released her second album of jazz,
How Do You Say I Don't Love You Anymore, for MGM.
She also made occasional guest appearances on different
television shows including Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson.
During this time, a busy Freda also
added theatrical credits to her resume.
She understudied Leslie Uggams for the Broadway
show Hallelujah Baby in 1967 and appeared with the
Equity Theatre in a production of Lost in the Stars.
Then in 1969, some of her hometown friends, brothers
Brian & Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier persuaded
Freda to sign with their newly formed label, Invictus.
These distinguished songwriters were responsible for
putting Motown music firmlyon the map by writing and
producing million sellers for acts such as the Four
Tops, Martha & the Vandellas and the Supremes
- whose last lead singer is Freda's sister Scherrie
- also blessed with an incredible vocal talent.
Freda went on to score with 2 million selling singles
- Bring The Boys Home and Band Of Gold.
She also recorded Deeper and Deeper, Cherish (What's Dear
To You) and You Brought The Joy with Invictus, releasing
several albums, including Contact and The Best of Freda Payne.
Then Freda moved to ABC and later Capitol Records,
releasing such albums as Payne & Pleasure, Out Of
Payne Comes Love and Supernatural High and Red Hot.
1993 saw the release of her critically acclaimed album
An Evening With Freda Payne that perfectly showcases
her incredible talents and incomparable jazz styling.
In the 80s, Freda concentrated on acting and television,
briefly hosting her own talk show, but never
entirely losing touch with her music.
She recorded a single in 1982 entitled "In Motion" (Sutra),
and a remake of "Band of Gold" with Belinda Carlisle in 1986.
In the 90s, Freda recorded several songs for Ian Levine's UK Motorcity
label, including "Memories and Souvenirs" and "Only Minutes Away",
and released several albums Dove Music, including her first
and only Christmas album, Christmas With Freda and Friends.
She also continued her acting career.
The new millenium brought a new album of jazz, pop and R&B
called Come See About Me for the Volt label and rave reviews
met the show called "Love & Payne", which featured Freda
and Darlene Love at Feinstein's at the Regency in New York
City and at the Cinegrill in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in
Los Angeles, while several compilations of her music were released.
Freda Payne's prolific career will continue to flourish
and prosper for as long as her creative juices keep flowing.
Her indelible mark on the music industry is far from over.
[[Note: Information provided by `Ty Andererson'
-- owner / moderator of TheAfrica2AmericaSwirl
Yahoo!Groups discussion group / gemini072@...
"Man would rather be a little higher than the
apes,than a little lower than the angels."
"I am Black & I am White, and
know there is no difference.
Each one casts a shadow,
and all shadows are dark."