Interview: Legendary Singer Freda Payne

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Freda Payne is a true legend in her own right. Her music and lyrical messages have inspired many of today’s artists. Even though Payne was thrust into the spotlight at a very young age, her desire to become a successful recording artist always allowed her to keep her feet planted firmly on the ground.

In 1970, Freda Payne became a household name after the success of her song “Band of Gold.” The song reached No. 3 on the charts in the U.S. and No.1 in the UK. Additionally, the song gave Payne her very first gold record.

Payne also brought us hits like “Deeper and Deeper,” “You Brought the Joy” and “Bring the Boys Home.”

Not many artists can live up to the standards of what represents a true legend, but Payne had proved that she is worthy of the title through and through.

Her longevity and ability to remain in the limelight despite an ever-changing industry is not only admirable, it is remarkable. Her powerful voice and elegant demeanor shines through in every song and during every performance.

Payne has more than 17 albums under her belt and suffice it to say she’s has more music on the way. Payne is currently touring various cities across the United States. Her tribute show to Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald has been receiving rave reviews from critics and fans alike.

In this in-depth interview, Payne talks about stardom, what keeps her motivated and she even offers some sound advice for artists who are just starting out.

I know you got your start when you won an amateur contest on WXYZTV in
Detroit, is that when you started singing?

Freda Payne: “That was basically when I started. I started taking ballet when I was eleven, but I never became a professional dancer. I just enjoyed dancing so much and it brought me out of my shell. Not too long after, my piano teacher discovered that I had a good voice and she said I should sing. I auditioned for this talent show called Ed McKenzie’s Dance Hour. It was Detroit’s version of Dick Clarke’s American Bandstand and it was on NBC. I entered the contest as a singer and I won. Then about 6 months later they asked me to come back and be on it again and I won again. People started encouraging me to work on my singing and to pursue it as a professional and I did. “

So that was when you decided to take on singing as a career path?

“Yes I did and I liked it…I loved it! I auditioned for a radio show called Don Large’s Make Way For You. The show was broadcast on WJR and was located on top of the Fisher building in Detroit. I became a member of the chorus and then Don Large started giving me solos and I sang on that show. I was on that radio show for three years. It was a youth chorus with a full-band and an orchestra. We would broadcast live every Saturday afternoon.”

So was that overwhelming for you to be a part of something like that at such a young age?

“No it wasn’t overwhelming; it was responsibility because we had rehearsals twice a week. My mother would drive me there and then come back and pick me up. It was a 2-hour rehearsal. We’d rehearse every Tuesday and Thursday and then the show would broadcast live on Saturdays.”

I know that at that time, you loved being a part of the music industry, but was there ever a time when you felt like being in the music industry wasn’t for you?
“There were times when I felt like things aren’t happening and that this was not my calling. But every time I got to that point, something would happen that would totally turn it around and send me up on that high carpet ride again. A job would come or a big break would come. It was almost as though God would tell me to hang in there and don’t turn around.”

Freda Payne at the ’20th Annual Night of 100 Stars Oscar Gala’ in the Crystal Ballroom on March 7 in California. (Photo by John M. Heller/Getty Images)

Who would you say were your musical inspirations growing up? Is there anyone in particular in the industry that inspired you?
“Oh there were so many. Well she just passed, but Lena Horne was a big inspiration. Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, and Sarah Vaughan were all inspirational artists.”

A lot of people get thrust into the spotlight, but they don’t handle it well. What would you say has always kept you grounded and focused?
“My spirituality and my belief in God kept me focused. Also, some of the lessons my mother taught me… just basic morals. There were times that I strayed, but I always came back.”

Now going along with that, what would you say keeps you motivated?
“The spirit of life and the belief in God that I have a purpose motivates me. Especially in this business where they’re quick to put you out to pasture. I believe that I can be an exception to the rules because I feel that God has blessed me. As long as I still have my strength, my talent, my voice and my health, then I can still do anything that I want to do.”

What has been your biggest obstacle in regards to being an artist in the music industry?
“Being accepted again and have people take me serious as an artist in today’s market. The industry tends to ignore the veterans. That’s been the biggest obstacle.”

Back when you were in the studio recording “Band of Gold,” did you ever think that it would be as successful and as popular as it was and still is today?

“Not at all. . .There were a lot of other songs that I did, that were just as good or even better. You don’t know which one is going to be the winner and when that one became such a mega-hit, I realized that this was my time now. Put it this way, I never predicted it in the beginning.”

Let’s go back for a second. The song “Bring the Boys Home,” was recorded in 1971. It just so happens to be one of my favorite songs of all-time. What inspired you specifically to record such a bold yet inspiring song?
“Well it was the timing. We’re talking 1971 and the United States was in the midst of the Vietnam War. It wasn’t a very popular war at all. They came up with this song and they played it for me and it brought tears to my eyes. So I loved it and they loved it and we went into the studio and cut it then put it out. It just addressed what was going on at that time.”

It’s no secret that the music industry has changed a lot. What are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?

“I’m from the old school and I’m looking at it with two different sets of eyes. You have to basically have an education in terms of knowing technology. Nowadays, artists are making money off of downloads and ringtones. The artists today have much more control of their recordings then they did back in the earlier days when I came along.”

Have you ever felt the need to conform to the changing times?

“Well I’ve been through changes. It happened back in the 70s when the Disco era came in. I thought maybe I should do some disco tracks. That was the type of music that was selling then and a lot of other singers were changing and doing Disco music. So I tried that, but it didn’t really work for me. I found that with staying true to myself, as a legitimate Cabaret artist, that I got further. I flourished more being myself, than by following a trend.”

Photo Credit Alan Mercer// Wardrobe:Linda Stokes

When you aren’t singing and performing, what is Freda Payne up to? What are your leisure activities?

“I go to Equinox and workout, but I mainly take the yoga classes. I started doing yoga 34 years ago with Bikram Choudhury. I started out doing Hot Yoga for years and then I discovered 6 years ago that I could no longer take the heat anymore. That was when I started taking yoga at Equinox. Yoga relaxes you, takes the stress out of your body and balances you out. I also like going to the movies when there’s a good movie to see and sometimes I play a little bit of tennis.”

For an artist that is just starting out, what advice would you give them?
“One thing to remember is that you have to be deadset on what you want. Believe in yourself, be tenacious and go for it. If it’s meant to be, it will happen. They say many are called, but few are chosen. If you don’t try, then you’ll never know.”


For tour dates, merchandise, and more information on Freda Payne, visit her official website and MySpace page.

Freda Payne’s music is available for purchase through iTunes and wherever digital music is sold.

Special thanks to J. Stander of Scott Stander & Associates.
Photo Credit: Alan Mercer
Wardrobe: Linda Stokes

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Album Review: George Michael -“Faith” (Remastered Edition)

George Michael became a household name after the release of his debut solo album, Faith in 1987. Now almost 24 years after its original release date, this Grammy Award-winning album has been remastered and it is better than ever.

Faith spent 87 weeks on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The album produced six chart-topping singles. These singles include, “Father Figure,” ” I Want Your Sex,” “Monkey,” “Kissing A Fool,” “One More Try,” and the title track, “Faith.” Not only did this album make a mark in music history, but it also thrust George Michael into the spotlight, giving him a massive amount of recognition around the world.

It’s not often that you come across an album that can mesh with the changing times. Although Faith was originally released in the 1980s, Michael’s soothing voice coupled with his heartfelt lyrics make blending into today’s music seem almost effortless. Some albums from the 1970s and 1980s have a “dated” sound, but this remastered version of Faith is not one of them. The remastered version is much cleaner, and sharper than its original form. All of the songs sound as though George Michael recorded them yesterday.

Faith has something for everyone. “One More Try” is a heartwarming ballad that explores a man’s reluctance to enter into a new relationship because of a fear of being hurt. “I Want Your Sex,” and “Monkey” were two of Michael’s most popular dance songs and is heavily played in clubs and lounges even today. And if you’re looking for something a little more mellow, Jazz enthusiasts will get a kick out of the ballad “Kissing A Fool.” If you aren’t big on lyrics, then pop in the the second disc and listen to the instrumental versions of “Faith” and “Kissing A Fool”; you will be whisked away to a dream world after listening to them.

Paying tribute to an artist like George Michael could never be confined to just one CD. So, what better way to show appreciation for George Michael than with not one but three Faith packages?

The three Faith packages available for purchase include: FAITH: DELUXE EDITION (12”x12” box set), FAITH (Double CD), and FAITH: SPECIAL EDITION ( 2 CD + DVD). Each package pays tribute to Michael and the album that put him on the map. These packages (shown below) can be purchased via George Michael’s official website, and wherever music is sold. Any avid George Michael fan will appreciate this special compilation of remastered music, classic videos , a 180-gram vinyl replica of the original LP, a special in-depth interview with 1987 with UK journalist Jonathan Ross and much more.

Music lovers fell in-love with George Michael’s debonair flair, charming good looks and magnetic stage presence, but his voice was the key element to his success. The songs, lyrics and words on this remastered version of Faith have not been altered, instead it has been digitally enhanced for your listening pleasure. If you are a true music connoisseur then one, if not all, of these Faith packages belong in your collection.

Check out the sizzle reel for George Michael’s Faith below:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

For more information on George Michael and his upcoming projects, please visit:


Special Thanks To: George Michael, Chip Schutzman of Miles High Productions (WWW.MILESHIGHPRODUCTIONS.COM), Epic/Legacy and Sony BMG Music Entertainment (UK) Limited.

Our 2019 Oscar Nominations Predictions: And The Nominees Are…


It’s award season again and all of Hollywood elite is on the edge of their seats in anticipation for the 2019 Oscar nominees. From actors who transformed themselves for biopics to crime fighters to magical nannies who fly over houses.  This year’s nominees may be eerily similar to this year’s Golden Globe nods, but we can never pass up an opportunity to give our take on who we’d like to see nab a trophy.  

In the ‘Best Motion Picture’ category we foresee at least eight films being nominated this year.   Our picks include: “Black Panther,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Green Book,” “BlacKkKlansman,” Bohemian Rhapsody,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Vice,” and “A Star Is Born.” Our money is on the critically acclaimed “If Beale Street Could Talk,” which has received rave reviews and support from theater goers and critics. 

This year’s “Best Actor in a Motion Picture” category will likely feature a mix of actors who took on real-life portrayals and actors who poured their heart into innovative roles.  Our picks are: Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”), Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”), Christian Bale (“Vice”), Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”), and John C. Reilly (“Stan & Ollie”).  The Academy could put a twist on things and nominate Robert Redford for his outstanding role in “The Old Man & the Gun,” but our guess is that they’ll nominate John C. Reilly for his uncanny portrayal of Oliver Hardy in “Stan & Ollie” instead. 

This year’s “Best Actress in a Motion Picture” category will be a nail-biter.  Glenn Close (“The Wife”) and Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”) have both been receiving praise and awards for their respective roles.  The duo even tied for the “Best Actress” trophy at the Critics’ Choice Awards, so it would come as no surprise if the Academy opted to give the statue to both ladies – an occurrence that hasn’t happened since both Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand took home the trophy 50 years ago. Rounding out the rest of our picks for this category include Nicole Kidman (“Destroyer”), Emily Blunt (“Mary Poppins Returns”), and Rosamund Pike (“A Private War”). 

For the “Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture” category there’s no need to list all of our choices, as there is only one woman who we have our money on; it’s none other than Regina King for her phenomenal performance in  “If Beale Street Could Talk.”  King has been a standout actress from the first time she appeared on the screen in the hit 1980s series, “227.” She emerges herself into every role she takes on and she did the same here. 

The Best Actor in a Supporting Role” category will have some familiar winners this year.  Mahershala Ali who won for “Best Actor” in 2016 for “Moonlight” is a big contender for his work in the movie “Green Book.”  He already won the Golden Globe Award for “Best Supporting Actor” for the film, so he seems to be the likely winner here.  Another familiar face we know we’ll see on the roster this year is Sam Rockwell. The actor won this award in 2018 for the film,  “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Rockwell’s performance in “Vice” has created a lot of buzz this season, but sadly we don’t see a repeat win here. Some other notable favorites of ours for this category include Timothee Chalamet (“Beautiful Boy”), Adam Driver (“BlacKkKlansman”) and Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”). 

For “Best Animated Film,” the Academy will give nods to “The Incredibles 2,” “Small Foot,” “The Grinch,” “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” and “Hotel Transylvania.”  We are fully backing a win for “The Incredibles 2” in this category!

We are also giving honorable mention to the song “Shallow” from the movie “A Star is Born.”  There is no doubt that the track will take home “Song of the Year.” Both Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper were a match made in heaven to collaborate on singing the song. 

With the Oscars not having a host this year, viewers can look forward to seeing some of their favs that took home awards at the Golden Globes,  do the exact same thing here. Repetition can be annoying in everyday life, but when you’re an actor, it’s a great thing.

Don’t forget to see who takes home a coveted statue, when the 2019 Oscars airs on Sunday, February 24 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.

Hype Hair Proclaims Tamar Braxton as their ‘Breakout Star of the Year’

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New mom Tamar Braxton covers the July/Aug issue of Hype Hair magazine.

Not only did Braxton snag the cover, but she’s also been named the magazine’s ‘Breakout Star of the Year.’

The singer-reality star sat down with the magazine to dish on her life on TV, her music career and her hair and beauty secrets.

‘Whether on her reality TV ventures or on the music front, Tamar Braxton has showed and proved that she’s a natural born star. As the youngest of the Braxton sisters, Tamar was introduced on WeTV’s “The Braxton Family Values” as the high-spirited and fun gal of the bunch, inevitably winning the hearts of the public. This all served to help catapult her music career, which has since spawned two hit singles, “Love and War” and “The One.”

Other beautiful ladies highlighted by Hype Hair in the new issue are: Zoë Saldana, Sanaa Lathan, Tia Mowry, Kerry Washington, Taraji P. Henson, Kat Graham, Nicole Ari Parker, La La Anthony and many more.








RHOA Kenya Moore Covers Hype Hair Magazine [Photo Spread]

Album Review || Dirty Dancing: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition

In 1987, Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey danced their way into the hearts of  movie-goers in the film Dirty Dancing. The romance between “Johnny” and “Baby” made our hearts flutter, but the film wouldn’t be the cult classic that it is today, without its amazing music. The movie’s soundtrack was a huge success, spending more than 18-weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album sales charts and going platinum in several different countries. Now, to commemorate the movie’s 25th anniversary, a brand new copy of the soundtrack, titled Dirty Dancing: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition, has been released.

Legacy Recordings enlisted the help of millions of fans to make this anniversary edition a top-notch collector’s item. Instead of drowning the deluxe anniversary edition with bonus tracks, fans insisted that only the original tracks be included. The soundtrack’s artwork features a still-shot of “Johnny” and “Baby’s” famous ‘Lift scene,’ which was also voted on by fans.

The anniversary edition’s overall packaging is stunning. Instead of a boring plastic case that can easily break, the album comes in a DVD-style case with a book-like feel. This edition also includes notes and insight by executive producer Jimmy Ienner, producers Michael Lloyd & Leon Medica, and producer-performers Eric Carmen and Zappacosta. From the high-quality photos of some of the movie’s most beloved scenes to the six ready-to-frame glossy art cards, this deluxe anniversary edition lives up to its name.

One of the greatest aspects of this edition, and probably the most sentimental as well, is the tribute to the movie’s star Patrick Swayze, who died from pancreatic cancer in 2009. Fans insisted that a tribute to the star be included and Legacy granted their wish.

Dirty Dancing: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition is currently available at For a more in-depth look at the album’s packaging, check out the photos in the gallery below.

Special Thanks –  Nicole A. &  Chip S. of Miles High Productions.

Alicia Keys Covers Hype Hair [November]

“Girl On Fire” singer Alicia Keys is Hype Hair‘s November covergirl!

The singer came on the scene with her signature long braids and the world has watched as her hairstyles have evolved over the years. More recently, Keys has been sporting a short bob or a slicked-down style.

Keys’ special feature begins on page 92 of the magazine.

This issue also features such public figures like Brandy, Nicole Murphy, Jackie Christie, Brooke Bailey, Malaysia Pargo and Sheree Fletcher, Syleena Johnson, Faith Evans, Monifah,  and Ashanti.

This issue of HH is on newsstands now!


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