Legendary, internationally acclaimed singer and actress Freda Payne was born in Detroit.
After graduating from Central High School, Freda Payne toured with Pearl Bailey's musical review and sang with the Duke Ellington Band. Her first album was
After the Lights Go Down for ABC's Impulse Records in 1962.
Early in her career, Ms. Payne performed with the Four Tops, Billy Eckstine, and Nipsey Russell on the Quincy Jones Tour. Payne was understudy for Leslie Uggams in Broadway's
Hallelujah Baby! in1967. She also performed in the Equity Theatre production of
Lost in the Stars.
Stardom for Payne began when she signed with Invictus Records, ran by her old Detroit friends, Brian Holland, Edward Holland, Jr. and Lamont Dozier (formerly of Motown) in1969. Payne's smash single "Band of Gold" in 1970 was ranked #1 in the U.K. and #3 in the U.S.A., her first gold record.
To date, she has recorded 21 albums including several remakes of "Band of Gold." Freda has also starred in productions of
Ain't Misbehavin' with Della Reese,
The Blues in the Night, Jellies Last Jam with Gregory Hines and Savion Glover into the 1990's. Payne film appearances include:
Private Obsession, Sprung, Ragdoll, The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps and
Fire and Ice.
In 2009, Freda appeared on
American Idol and sang "Band of Gold". In February 2010, Freda joined Kanye West, Jordan Sparks, Jennifer Hudson, Barbra Streisand and many more on "We Are the World 25 for Haiti."
Freda has also recorded a new Jazz based album for the Mack Ave label titled
Come Back To Me Love produced by Bill Cunliffe.
The album has six original compositions written by Gretchen Valade, owner of the Dirty Dog. This past April 2018 Freda returned to the stage with glowing reviews in
Ella: First Lady of Song at the Delaware Theatre Company in Wilmington, Delaware.