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Freda Payne: From Africa to America

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Freda Payne born in Detroit, MI on September 19th, 1942. Her complete name is Freda Charcilia Payne and she was and African-American actress and singer. She is also the older sister of the singer Scherrie Payne who was the final lead singer in the Motown act “The Supremes”. Since Freda was a little girl she liked the jazz music of several singers such as Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald. When she was a teenager she went to the Institute of Musical Arts and then began to sing in radio commercials and also to participate in TV talent shows.

After some shows producers were awed with the voice of Freda and offered contracts. Two of those producers whom offered her contracts were Berry Gordy (who offered contract with Motown) and Duke Ellington. Nevertheless, the mother of Freda said she did not permit her to sign any contract until she finished school. By 1963 Payne moved to New York where she worked with different singers like Pearl Bailey, Bill Cosby and Quincy Jones. In the same year she released her debut album entitled “After The Lights Go Down Low and Much More”.

In 1965 Payne released her second record named “How Do You Say I Don’t Love You Anymore”. Four years later her old friends from Detroit, Lamont Dozier, Edward Holland and Brian Holland invited her to play with their new record label “Invictus”. In the same year (1969) they released the first single named “Unhooked Generation”. After that single, Ron Dunbar and Edythe Wayne (songwriters) offered her a song named “Band of Gold”. By 1970 this song became a hit single and reached the number three position in the US charts and the number one in the UK charts. This song also became in the name of the third album of Freda.

With Invictus, Freda also released the albums “Contact” (1971) and “The Best Of Freda Payne” (1972). The last album that Freda launched with Invictus was named “Reaching Out” in 1973. After that, she left Invictus and signed to ABC/ Dunhill and Capitol but she was not successful with those recording companies. After that she released other albums but she was more concentrated in acting. She had a TV show called “Today’s Black Woman”. By the 90’s Freda launched three records with the recording company Dove Music. Those albums were “I Hate Barney” (1995), “An Evening With Freda Payne” and “Christmas With Freda and Friends”, both in 1996. She acted in several movies like “The Nutty Professor”, “Private Obsession” and others.

During the 2000’s some compilations of Freda Payne were released. Some of them are: “Lost in Love”, “Unhooked Generation” and others.

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