Her recording career began in 1963. She has countless albums to her credit and has performed on stages all around the world. Nevertheless, people primarily associate Freda Payne with only two songs from her vast catalog: the classics “Band of Gold” and “Bring The Boys Home”. But there is much more to Freda Payne than being a perceived two-hit wonder.
In a conversation that spans her start with Pearl Bailey at 17 years old, to her current concert schedule, Freda Payne’s consistent message is about the importance of being an overall performer, as she explains to Darnell Meyers-Johnson…
Darnell Meyers-Johnson: Good day, this is Darnell Meyers-Johnson for SoulMusic.com. Today I’m speaking with a woman who is a living legend in this business of soul music. Every time she’s on the stage or sings a note, she is exemplifying style, grace, sophistication, class and of course, talent. You know her best from her huge hits from back in the day—“Band of Gold” and “Bring The Boys Home”—but she has always been a part of the business and she has never left it. SoulMusic.com Records is about to re-release her 1977 album STARES AND WHISPERS. Today I’m speaking with Miss Freda Payne. Miss Payne, how are you?
Freda Payne: I am fine, how are you? Thank you.
DMJ: I am great. Thank you very much for taking time out to speak with us; we do appreciate it. You’ve been performing on stages all around the world for many years. When the show is over or when the event is done, who is Freda Payne at the end of the day?
FP: Well, I’m a person who sometimes likes to see how the audience feels about the show, when people come backstage, or especially when I go out and meet and greet. I like to see the faces and feel some of the love, other than just being onstage. I just like to relax, and sometimes I like to watch a good movie or something like that. Is that what you’re talking about?
DMJ: Yeah; just how you would describe yourself as a person. Whenever we’re talking about an entertainer, we have an idea of who we think they are because we hear the songs and we see them onstage, but we often don’t know who they are as people. So I was just trying to get a feeling for how you would describe yourself as a person.
FP: Well, I’m quiet. See, when I’m onstage I’m an extrovert and I’m all-out—I’m performing and doing my thing. But then when I’m offstage I turn into a different person: I’m quiet, I’m a little bit shy. When I’m finished I don’t like to hang out and party and go nightclubbing; I’m ready to go back to the hotel or go home and just relax and kick back; take my makeup off, put my feet up on the couch and watch television [laughs].
DMJ: And just relax; I can understand that.
FP: Yeah, and have a glass of wine or champagne.
DMJ: That always helps [laughs]. As a somewhat shy girl growing up in Detroit, was it always your dream to become a singer?
FP: I didn’t even know I could sing until I was twelve. I hadn’t really discovered any artistic talent until that time. And then by the time I was thirteen I came to the conclusion, after being prompted by several friends and family members and some strangers, that I should start seriously thinking about being a singer on a professional level.
DMJ: And I heard somewhere that back around that age you were very much also into dance and at one point maybe you were considering becoming a dancer of some sort?
FP: Yeah, I did. I loved dancing because both my sister and I, Scherrie, we took ballet—I think I was twelve when we started, and she was ten. We started taking ballet, and we studied Russian ballet for about two years, and then we stopped taking it because our mother really didn’t want me to be a dancer. Being an old-fashioned person, she thought that wasn’t the way to go. But then when I was in high school, from thirteen until I was sixteen—I graduated when I was sixteen—in the 10th, 11th and 12th Grade, they gave dance courses in school, and you could take modern dancing. And I took modern dancing for the three-year period I was in high school. And I loved to dance, I really got into the dance thing, but then I also discovered that I was starting to do more with my singing as well, and I auditioned for a radio show that was called “Make Way for Youth”. What it was was a choral group and we sang all kinds of material, like pop material, Broadway standards, spiritual standards—all kinds of material as well—and also, occasionally, the head of the show—his name was Don Large and the show was called “Don Large’s Make Way for Youth”—and occasionally he would give me a solo, and I would have a solo to sing. So that’s how it kind of started for me.
DMJ: Your mom wasn’t too keen on the dancing thing for a career. What was her opinion about singing, once you started doing the choral stuff? What was her thoughts about that?
FP: She supported it, because we had rehearsals three times a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and of course she would drive me to the Fisher Building—this is in Detroit, this is where I’m from—the Fisher Building was located directly across the street from the General Motors office buildings, and it’s still there and it’s a very prestigious building—old building, but very prestigious. And the radio station was WJR, located atop of the Fisher Building. And she would drive me, and we would have our rehearsals, and then she’d drop me off and then she’d pick me up—and that was Tuesdays and Thursdays—and then the broadcast was every Saturday afternoon at two o’clock, so we’d have to get there about two hours earlier to rehearse again for the show. And that gave me some of my basic training—which was invaluable, that kind of training. And then of course I had music courses in school as well—that’s why I hate to see them dismiss music courses in school, because a lot of kids got their music training from public school.
DMJ: Right, I can remember back even when I was in school. We had a music program there. We had actually a very good teacher, and I was studying violin and I was very much into it, and the following year they completely got rid of the program, including the violins. And I always think back to what if I had pursued that? If it was available to me to practice some more, what could have become of it?
FP: I know. I also studied violin; I think I was in the 6th Grade. I took violin for about a year and then I just dropped it off; I just stopped doing it because I guess I went on to something else. And then I was taking piano lessons—my mother gave my sister and I both, we had piano lessons, and this lady would come to the house once a week. So my mother paid for that. In addition to the school music, the choral training, we had private piano lessons at home.
DMJ: Now I read that you got your professional start with the late, great Pearl Bailey when you were only seventeen years old. How did you meet her?
FP: That’s right. Well, her show was in Detroit and she was playing at a theatre in Detroit—she had a revue, The Pearl Bailey Revue, and a friend of the family had heard that she needed another singer for her background chorus and they said, “Freda should audition.” So I didn’t even think I would really get it, because I had just graduated from high school. And I auditioned, and they hired me. Other people who were auditioning were grown women and were professional singers, and they hired me. So I went on the road, and I think I was on the road for about two months with Pearl Bailey. That was my first professional job, and I turned seventeen,
DMJ: And a lot of people still don’t know that you kind of started out as one of Quincy Jones’s first protégés, I guess you could say, and you were singing in his big band, and I think you were only maybe eighteen at that point, right?
FP: Yeah, I was about eighteen, nineteen years old when that happened.
DMJ: And how did you meet him?
FP: Well, I was eighteen when I went to New York, and I was in a restaurant, and he had come to the restaurant, and the guy that owned the restaurant—this was in the ’40s—introduced me to him because he knew I was a singer and he said, “I think you need to meet this guy ’cause he’s Quincy Jones and he’s got a big band and he’s working at Basin Street East over on the East Side and he’s going places.” And so I met him, and we wound up leaving that restaurant and going to a little club, and there was a trio playing and he said, “Why don’t you get up and sing?” So I sang. And next thing I know, the next day he called me and said, “I’m going to the Apollo with Billy Eckstine and Redd Foxx and Coles & Atkins, and I’d like to hire you as the band singer. Would you like to do that?” And I said, “Yes!” Of course I was like, yes! And so that’s how I would up working with him. We did the Apollo and then we traveled on to Chicago and did the Regal Theatre.
DMJ: And how long did you stay as a part of the band?
FP: We did it that year, and then the following year we did it again.
DMJ: And how much longer thereafter did you start your recording career?
FP: My recording career started in 1963, so it was right about that same time I got a deal with ABC Paramount. Then I put a single out, and then they decided to do an album on their jazz label that was their subsidiary called Impulse. Impulse was like Blue Note. So my first album was a jazz album. I had people on it like Zoot Sims, Hank Jones and all those kind of guys.
DMJ: Were you still doing jazz-inspired material on the second album? I know on the second album you did a couple of Beatles covers and some pop stuff like that.
FP: That was on MGM?
DMJ: I don’t remember which label, but it was the HOW DO I SAY I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE album.
FP: HOW DO I SAY I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE—that was MGM. It was more middle of the road: I did “Yesterday” and I did Everly Brothers “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” [Editorial Note: Miss Payne was referring to The Righteous Brothers.] and a song called “Feeling Good” which a few artists have recently covered, like Michael Bublé, Oleta Adams…
DMJ: Yeah, the Nina Simone song.
FP: Nina Simone, right. But that song was a hit from the Broadway musical “Smell of the Greasepaint, Roar of the Crowd”—no, I got it wrong. “The Roar of the…” Something of the Something… oh well, forget it. You’ll get it right in your editing.
DMJ: [Laughs] Exactly, I’ll look it up and see what it is. [Editorial Note: Miss Payne was referring to the 1965 musical “The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd”.] Was it your desire to be more of a jazz singer, or did it just work out that way in the beginning?
FP: It was my desire. That’s what I did; that’s what was happening back then. And plus, I sang in supper clubs—I never worked in any juke joints or anything like that—I worked supper clubs, and it was like I was a nightclub chanteuse: I was a nightclub chanteuse, where I worked nightclubs and small supper clubs and jazz clubs. And basically, that’s what it was.
DMJ: In 1970 your third album BAND OF GOLD came out, and of course that’s the album that garnered your biggest hit, the title track. Rolling Stone magazine called that song one of the greatest songs of all time. Tell me what you remember about making it?
FP: Rolling Stone?
DMJ: Yeah, Rolling Stone magazine. In ’04, I think it was, they did a list of the greatest songs of all time; and I don’t remember where “Band of Gold” ranked on their list but it was on the list. [Editorial Note: “Band of Gold” ranked #391 in Rolling Stone magazine’s December 9, 2004 issue, “The 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time”.] Tell me what you remember about making that song?
FP: Well, I remember the day I first heard it, and a guy by the name of Ronald Dunbar, who worked with Eddie and Brian and Lamont—when I say Eddie, Brian and Lamont that’s Holland-Dozier-Holland—and he brought the song to me and played the track, showed me the lyrics and I said, “That song is for a fifteen-year-old. This is so immature.” And he said, “You don’t have to like it, just sing it.” I wasn’t that crazy about it at first. I thought the music was great and the track was out of sight, but I was thinking, “What did he mean, ‘But that night on our honeymoon we stayed in separate rooms’? What is that all about?”
DMJ: I was going to ask you what that was about.
FP: Then when we went into the studio we did about forty-eight takes over a period of two days, and they wound up going back and taking the earlier takes.
DMJ: And why was it taking so long to get it together?
FP: Well, that’s how they did it—you would do it until you got it just the way they wanted it. Because I wasn’t used to singing in that style, I had to adjust and do it exactly the way the producers wanted it sung.
DMJ: The next album you did after that was called CONTACT. That album would eventually have your hit “Bring the Boys Home” on it, but when that album first came out that song wasn’t on the album.
FP: Not the first pressing.
DMJ: Right. Do you remember why that was?
FP: I don’t know; I think it wasn’t ready yet.
DMJ: Now that song, “Bring the Boys Home”, everybody knows it as an anti-war—
FP: And I was nominated for a Grammy for that album.
DMJ: For the CONTACT album?
DMJ: And do you remember who ended up winning?
FP: I do not remember.
DMJ: You’re like, “I know it wasn’t me, so who cares?”
FP: I’ve been nominated twice: I was nominated for Best Female R&B Singer for “Band of Gold”, I know that, and I think I lost out to Aretha or something. And I think the album thing, I may have lost out to Roberta Flack or somebody like that.
[Editorial Note: Freda Payne’s CONTACT album was nominated for a 1972 Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female. She lost to Aretha Franklin’s cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”. The other nominees were Diana Ross, Jean Knight and Janis Joplin.]
DMJ: The song “Bring the Boys Home” garnered some controversy at the time: it was an anti-war song and it was around the Vietnam era. Tell me what you remember about making that song and the impact that it had.
FP: The song was… at the time, that was the height of the Vietnam War, and Richard Nixon was the President of the Republican party, and I remember first hearing it play and listening to it I was like, wow. It brought tears to my eyes. It touched my heart. And so we went into the studio and did it, and it reached gold status quicker than “Band of Gold”.
DMJ: And when you hear the song today, is the sentiment still as strong as it was all those years ago?
FP: Oh, yeah. Back then, shortly after the song was released, the record company got a telegram from D.C. from the U.S. government saying that my song would not be played in South Vietnam because it would be giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
DMJ: And was there some sort of effort here in the U.S. to not have stations play it? Was there that kind of motion going on at the time?
FP: If there was, I have no idea of that. I don’t know about that; there may have been. But people liked the song; they picked up on it. And the song still got heard over in Vietnam, because I run into people who were over there who said they heard it over there, and they said the song was encouraging to them and helped them.
DMJ: So the controversy of the song did not have an impact necessarily on you as a performer, meaning you weren’t being blacklisted from clubs or anything like that, right?
FP: No, no, that never happened.
DMJ: I want to skip ahead a few albums to the one that SoulMusic.com Records is going to be re-releasing—that’s your 1977 debut on Capitol Records, STARES AND WHISPERS. Before we go into talking about the album, first tell me how you got together with Capitol.
FP: Larkin Arnold was the A&R person at Capitol. He got together with my people, and he signed me to Capitol, and that’s how that happened.
DMJ: I understand that also at that time you had the chance to join Gamble and Huff’s Philly International Records.
FP: I did; I got an offer from Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and at the same time I got an offer from Capitol. The Capitol offer was more lucrative, and at the time my attorney/manager advised me to go with Capitol because he said, “No contest—they’re offering you much more.” And if I could go back in time I should have gone with Philly International, because even though their offer was a smaller offer, I think I would have got more mileage career-wise, material-wise and airplay-wise from them.
DMJ: What do you think they would have done for you that Capitol did not?
FP: It was just an artistic thing. Now my management, they were thinking about the dollars, the advances, and also Capitol’s distribution and the name: Capitol Records was a much bigger record organization than Philly International. But you never know. I just felt that maybe I should have gone with Philly International because they may have had the magic touch to find the right material for me. Not that I didn’t do good material with Capitol.
DMJ: No, you absolutely did, because STARES AND WHISPERS is a great album. It was released during a particularly exciting time in your life, personally speaking. Can you share what was going on at the time?
FP: When I did it I was pregnant with my son. As a matter of fact, my picture on the cover wearing this white gown, I was eight months’ pregnant. And I had a dedication—I’d just lost my mother that same year, 1977; she died in March of ’77—and the dedication on the album reads: “This album is dedicated to the memory of my dearly departed mother, Mrs. Charcilia Farley, 1977, and to the birth of our first child, October 1977. God bless both.” Now, my son happened to come a little earlier than October, so he was born on my birthday, September the nineteenth.
DMJ: Oh, okay. Mine is September 12th.
FP: Oh, wow—Virgo!
DMJ: Exactly, exactly. I want to talk about a few other songs on the album specifically. The song “I Get High (On Your Memory)” was written by the team that did the Diana Ross song, “Love Hangover”. A lot of people know it from being part of that hip-hop song “Good Times” by Styles P, because they ended up sampling it and putting it on their song. When did you realize that your song was being sampled as a part of that song?
FP: I was told. Different people started telling me, “You know that this rapper sampled your song?” And then I got a hold of the song and I listened to it and I actually heard it on BET or one of those programs they were playing it and I said, “Well, wow, they sped up my voice. I sound like Minnie Mouse.” [sings sped up] “I get high on your memory/ high on your memory/sweet, sweet memory…” And I said, “You can’t even tell it’s me, but it’s my song.” So I got my lawyer and we wound up taking it to court… it never did go to court; we kind of settled. Because they made the song refer to getting high, like smoking dope or whatever, rather than… the song was about getting high on your love, so it was like a besmirchment of character and using my song to do it. Rosa Parks did the same thing: she sued a rapper.
DMJ: Right. And did you ever get an apology from anybody who was behind that song, in terms of using your song without getting anybody’s permission? Did anybody even apologise for that?
FP: Well, they got permission from Capitol, because Capitol owns the master, but they still should have got permission from me.
DMJ: Right, because they were going to use your voice even though they sped it up.
FP: Because I’m the artist they still should have gotten, ultimately, permission from me as well.
DMJ: Right. And when you expressed concern that the song was being used as part of this drug reference, did anyone associated with this song apologize to you for that?
DMJ: Wow; wow.
FP: Well, I’ll put it this way: not verbally. There was a settlement. All I can say is that it was just swept under the rug.
DMJ: Another one of my favourites from the album is a song called “I Wanna See You Soon” with Tavares. How did you get together with them?
FP: That’s not on that album.
DMJ: That’s not on that one?
FP: No, that’s on Tavares’ album.
DMJ: I thought that was on your album. It’s being included in this reissue, so I thought—
FP: Oh, I’m sorry, I beg your pardon. That’s not on the original album but they’ve included it as an extra cut.
DMJ: Oh, okay, so that’s an extra addition that’s being put on the reissue. How did you get together with them for that song?
FP: Their producer—who was it, Freddie Perren?
DMJ: I don’t have it in front of me, but yeah, I think so.
FP: Yeah, he was their producer. He approached me and Capitol approached Larkin, and Larkin said that they’d called and would like to do a duet with me. And I said, “Yeah, I would love to,” because they were a great group and they were hot on Capitol.
DMJ: Right. And pairing up a female singer with a male group was inspired by what Dionne Warwick had done with The Spinners when they had their big hit “Then Came You”?
FP: Wasn’t that before them, or was it after them? I don’t remember.
DMJ: I don’t quite remember either.
FP: I think they came after.
DMJ: After? Okay. So they were inspired by you then, I guess you could say.
FP: I don’t know… and nowadays, so many people duet together. It’s like a very common thing—a very common thing. [Editorial Note: “Then Came You” by Dionne Warwick and The Spinners was released in 1974. “I Wanna See You Soon” by Tavares with Freda Payne, which was originally only available on Tavares’ LOVE STORM album, was released in 1977.]
DMJ: The song “Love Magnet” was clearly geared toward the disco crowd, and it was the disco era, after all. Did it end up helping you expand your fanbase among the club-goers and disco fans?
FP: “Love Magnet” was a great song, but I don’t think it ever became a massive hit—but my God, it was a great disco number and it was disco-inspired. Because at the time if there’s a fad going on, a musical fad—like disco was the king then: you had the Village People, you had Gloria Gaynor and all these different acts—Donna Summer—and everybody was doing it, so the record company wanted me to do something in the disco frame.
DMJ: So the record company was intentionally trying to get you to reach some of that audience?
FP: Yeah, absolutely.
DMJ: One of the songs that’s one of my favourites—I don’t think it was ever a single, though—was the title song, “Stares and Whispers”.
FP: Oh, yeah. I think they did release that as a single.
DMJ: Oh, really? Okay, because that’s a great song. And even though the album has some disco touches to it, a lot of the songs aren’t really disco—they’re really just nice ballads like that one.
DMJ: When you look back on your entire catalogue of music, how does the album STARES AND WHISPERS compare to your other albums, in your opinion?
FP: It’s just another album. You mean in terms of production, or what?
DMJ: In terms of quality—not necessarily chart-wise or sales—but in terms of quality, do you think it was one of your better albums?
FP: The quality was excellent because I was working with Frank Wilson of Motown fame, excellent producer, and then Tony Camillo did a lot of those arrangements; and a lot of other people. I think I had some of the best people: the best producer, some of the best musicians—everything was done first-class. Frank Wilson, Tony Camillo … the musicians were great. Jack Ashford, Bobby Hall, Frederick Lewis… it was good. Bruce Miller, Greg Phillinganes was on it—
DMJ: Everybody knows that name.
FP: You know what I mean? I had some good people.
FP: Raymond Pounds on the drums; bass, Nathan Watts. So I had a lot of good people on this.
DMJ: Why do you think—because it sounds like you were very satisfied with it in terms of quality and who was playing on the songs and everything—but why do you think it wasn’t as big a hit commercially as maybe some of your other albums?
FP: I think it was a promotional thing—maybe they didn’t put as much into the promotion, which is the typical story that you hear.
DMJ: Well, it’s true—if people don’t know that it’s out there then they’re not going to go get it. That’s a valid point.
FP: If they don’t hear it played on the radio, how do you know it’s out there? Nowadays you can get stuff over the Internet. People can put stuff on YouTube—
DMJ: And it’s a hit by the end of the day. I want to switch gears for just a moment and ask you about your longevity in the business. What do you think are the necessary ingredients for somebody to last as long in the business as you have?
FP: First of all, you have to keep reinventing yourself in certain ways; or if not that—because sometimes if you’re a brand and people like you for certain things, you’re going to have to keep doing that. Like I can’t stop singing “Band of Gold”, because people come to see me because they want to hear “Band of Gold”.
FP: So you have to keep finding different ways to pique the interest of the public. And also, you have to maintain a certain level of excellence in your performance—you have to continue to be good. You can’t slack. You can’t… all of sudden your voice doesn’t sound as good or… well, some entertainers, let’s say, have other personal problems. You have to deliver.
DMJ: How do you keep it interesting for yourself when, as you’ve said, you can’t really do a show without doing “Band of Gold” because that’s the main song people probably want to hear from you. How do you keep it interesting for yourself doing the same songs, basically, every show?
FP: I keep it interesting by doing jazz now: I do a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, then recently I started doing a little tribute to Lena Horne. And I do things to show people that I’ve got talent beyond just doing pop/R&B. I’m not about just being a record artist; I’m about being an artist, period. I’m a performer.
DMJ: I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you about image, because you’ve always exuded a certain kind of sex appeal that appeals to both men and women because they consider it classy—and that’s a word that I hear a lot when people talk about you. How important has image been to you in your career?
FP: Image has been very important. I basically had a certain image based on who I am—I can’t be any other way; this is just who I am. Image is very important—look at Beyoncé, the image that she has—a very clean image: she’s very sexy, she’s very wholesome and she really performs very hard. She doesn’t slack, she gives it all—she gives it up. And she’s a beautiful woman and she’s extremely talented. She’s got a great image. You pick out somebody like an Amy Winehouse, whose image is… she’s extremely talented, but she has a drug problem, and unfortunately it’s sort of pathetic because you hate to see a young person go through this—you want them to wake up and correct themselves and get away from that kind of addiction, because people want to enjoy their talent. It’s like when we lost Marvin Gaye, you know? It’s sort of like, wow. People had their own domestic problems, and nowadays we’re more privy to these kind of things because of all this internet stuff and you have very little privacy and everybody can walk around and take their cell phone out and do a video while you’re walking down the street or something. So I think image is very important.
DMJ: You mentioned about performers who have personal problems, and I’ve seen and I’ve always wondered why it is people in their camps allow them to even go onstage—why somebody hasn’t at least pulled them aside, or somebody from the venue pulled them aside and say, “Listen, you’re not in great shape to go out onstage right now, so we can’t allow it.” Do you think people within the performer’s camp, their managers, or whoever it may be—I don’t want to say should have some responsibility, because every person has to be responsible for themselves—but at least have a responsibility to address the matter with the artist?
FP: Well, yeah, I guess that’s something they have to do to be abreast of what’s going on; let them know what’s happening.
DMJ: Before we wrap up our conversation here, let everyone know what you’re doing these days. Are you performing anywhere? Do you have any upcoming shows we can look out for?
FP: Yes, I’m performing July 17th here in Los Angeles at a club called the Catalina Bar & Grill; and then in August I’ll be in the Detroit area, the suburb Grosse Pointe: I’m working another jazz club called the Dirty Dog. And that’s going to be around mid-August—I think around the 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th of August in Grosse Pointe, Michigan—the Dirty Dog. And then I’ll be performing in Minnesota in September; I have a one-nighter. I’m going to have to probably have this posted on my website, which is www.fredapayne.com.
DMJ: Yeah, I was going to ask you if it was going to be there. Are you also on Facebook and Twitter? Do you do any of that stuff?
FP: Yeah, I’m on Facebook. I have to tell you, I am not indulgent in that—I don’t sit down and go through that and deal with that every day—I can’t do that. It’s too much. I barely have time enough to deal with my email.
DMJ: Right, exactly.
FP: So the Facebook thing, occasionally I’ll put in where I’m going to be—that I’ve got something coming up, I’ll put that on the Facebook.
DMJ: Can we expect another album? Are you doing anything studio-wise?
FP: Well, I just did a duet with a guy named Cliff Richard—his title is Sir Cliff Richard—he’s an iconic artist over in the UK and in Europe.
DMJ: Right, yes.
FP: We just did a duet, and it’s coming out on EMI in, I think, October.
DMJ: And that’s just going to be a single? It’s not part of any—
FP: It’s a whole album that he’s done with other artists. He’s done a duet with Percy Sledge, Deneice Williams, Dennis Edwards…
DMJ: Okay, on his album; and you’re one of the people.
FP: His name is Cliff Richard, and he’s been around since The Beatles.
DMJ: Yes, I’m familiar with him; he’s very good. Well, I want to thank you very much for your time. Is there anything that you want to mention that we haven’t talked about?
FP: No, I think I’ve mentioned it. Like I said, I’ve been singing jazz mostly now, and the tribute to Ella Fitzgerald has gotten me a lot of work and also, a lot of attention. But meantime, I’m still going to be doing my other stuff—keeping it real and doing a variety of material.
DMJ: Well, we will always be looking out for whatever it is you decide to do. I have a live album that you did… God, I can’t remember the year, but that’s one that I still pull out—
FP: I know; FREDA PAYNE LIVE IN CONCERT 1993.
DMJ: That was the one, yes, and I love that—I still listen to that and I still pull that out. So yeah, anytime that you’re doing anything, SoulMusic.com would love to let our readers know. Our doors are open anytime that you want to come through and share with us what you’re doing.
FP: Oh, I forgot to tell you, there’s another song that’s out, you can download it on iTunes: it’s called “Free Me From My Freedom”.
DMJ: Oh, okay.
FP: It’s produced by Artis Phillips, and you can get it right now. It’s called “Free Me From My Freedom”, and the other song is called “I’m Not Supposed To Love You Anymore”.
DMJ: And these are just solo songs by you?
FP: These are solo songs on me and they have been out for the last three or four months.
DMJ: Because I haven’t heard either song, what kind of music are we talking about on those?
FP: “Free Me From My Freedom” is something that was originally done by Bonnie Pointer in the ’80s, and so you should take a listen to it. There’s two versions—there’s a regular version and a house mix.
DMJ: Okay, a house mix, I’ll look forward to that—I love house music. What about the other one?
FP: The other song is a ballad.
DMJ: Okay, so we’ll definitely have people looking out for that. And they’re both available on iTunes, you said, right?
FP: Yeah, yeah.
DMJ: All right. Well, it’s been a pleasure speaking to you, thank you so much for your time and enjoy your day. Thank you.
FP: Okay, thank you, Darnell.
Darnell Meyers-Johnson the Editorial Coordinator for Soul Music.com who served as an Entertainment Editor for the now-defunct New Jersey publication, The Nubian News. He is actively involved in children's charities and sings in an all-male chorus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Transcription by Penelope Keith
About the Writer
Darnell Meyers-Johnson is a New Jersey based music journalist and creator of The Meyers Music Report (www.TheMeyersMusicReport.Tumblr.com). Previously, he served as Entertainment Editor for the now defunct publication Nubian News and as Editorial Coordinator for SoulMusic.com. When not conducting interviews or writing liner notes, Darnell hosts a weekly radio show, Vocal About Jazz, which streams online every Saturday from 12-2pm, EST on JazzOn2.org and iTunes.