Freda Payne has never stopped performing and never stopped looking beautiful. She performs on July 22-23 at the legendary Blues Alley in Georgetown. Payne comes to DC with music from a forthcoming CD and an autobiography where she does not hold back about her life. She is a versatile entertainer.

“Sometimes you see an artist and they just go down one road, and they don’t venture off into other areas,” Payne said. “I did a duet with Kenny Latimore that included a big band and strings called ‘Let There Be Love’ a Nat King Cole song,” Payne said collaborating with Latimore, the metro Washington native was fantastic.

“Just to Be with You” is the first single from Freda Payne’s forthcoming untitled CD. It is a follow-up to her 2021 NAACP Image Award-nominated EP in the Traditional Jazz category. That EP also includes a duet with Johnny Mathis, “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” a standard composed by George and Ira Gershwin.

A Detroit native, Payne is multi-talented performing in music, films and on stage. She started in the ’60s working with major artists like Quincy Jones, Pearl Bailey and Bill Cosby. Payne’s first chart-topping hit in 1970 “Band of Gold” was composed by award-winning composers Holland Dozier Holland of Motown fame. She scored again with “Bring the Boys Home” a song in response to the high number of Black soldiers injured and killed during the Vietnam War. The song was banned by American Forces Network, but not before 50,000 copies were pressed and sold.

In her autobiography, titled after her first hit “Band of Gold,” Payne admitted she was a shy little girl. She also said she was an ugly duckling, which is hard to believe. Payne’s mother encouraged and supported her daughter resulting in shaping the artist she remains today. Her work with other performers is in the book and as Payne told us in a recent interview, she does not shy away from talking about her romantic affairs.

“I share who came in and out of my life,” Payne said. “I talk about how my sister Scherrie Payne, a former singer with The Supremes, was the more outgoing and gregarious one.”

Coming up for Payne is the play, “Ella Fitzgerald, First Lady of Song.” The production runs from August 18 – September 11 at the Madison Theatre at Molloy College in Rockville, NY.

“People told me that I sound a little like Ella when I sing jazz,” Payne said.

She began performing this musical in 2004 when Maurice Hines cast her in the play. A long-time talented singer, dancer, choreographer, producer and director Hines started his career performing with his brother Gregory Hines and their dad as a Las Vegas act, then onto regular appearances on The Tonight Show hosted by Johnny Carson.

Always moving forward, Payne maintains a busy schedule. Keep up with Freda Payne through her website www.fredapayne.com and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @iamfredapayne. 

Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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