Freda Payne

Lifetime Achievement in Performing Arts




Freda Payne is a Detroit native who never realized her talents until the early age of twelve. Her piano teacher discovered her singing ability and from that point on Freda was singing for local affairs around Detroit and even entered talent contest on local TV as well as the national TV show, Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour.  At age fourteen she joined The Don Large’s  Make Way for Youth radio show broadcasted  on station  WJR in the penthouse of the Fisher Bldg.  Freda’s first album deal was on the Impulse label with ABC Paramount in New York. After The Lights Go Down Low and much more.  Recording  her next album three years later on MGM records.  She was an early protégé of Quincy Jones during his big band era, and also performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2008 in honor of Quincy’s seventy fifth birthday celebration.

Freda may be recognized by her 1970’s hits, BAND OF GOLD  and BRING THE BOYS HOME. The producing team of Holland ,Dozier, and Holland  were the ones who brought her to worldwide attention with those two gold records. Freda received a nomination for best R&B female vocalist for Band of Gold, and another nomination from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science’s for her album on the Invictus label,  CONTACT, also produced by HDH.   Freda has film credits as well , The Book of Number’s,  Rag Doll,  Sprung, Nutty  Professor the Klumps. Cordially Invited,  Rhapsody,  and the Divorce.

Freda has a list of musical theatre and acting in plays. DUKE ELLINGTONS SOPHISTICATED LADIES,  AINT MISBEHAVIN,  DADDY GOODNESS, JELLY’S LAST JAM,  BLUES IN THE NIGHT,  and recently starring in  ELLA FITZGERALD FIRST LADY OF SONG.   Her new CD on the Artistry label for Mack Ave, is a return to Freda’s true jazz roots with the wonderful material written by song writer’s Gretchen Valande and Tom Robinson. Here she shows a smooth connection between jazz and pop . Along with some gorgeous band and string arrangements by Bill Cunliffe,this might be Freda’s best showing yet.

Freda a Detroit native who got her start singing with big bands & then sang with the great Duke Ellington’s band, then in New York where she landed her first record deal, a jazz album on Impulse. Freda Payne went on to perform with the big band of Quincy Jones. 

Freda may be recognized more so for her pop and R&B  hits, Band of Gold & Bring the Boys Home with The producing team of Holland,Dozier, & Holland on Invictus.  She was Grammy nominated best R&B vocal performance by a female for Band of Gold, & for the album CONTACT.   Freda’s musical theatre credits are, DUKE ELLINGTONS SOPHISTICATED LADIES. THE BLUES IN THE NIGHT, JELLYS LAST JAM, ELLA FITZGERALD FIRST LADY of SONG & Montreux Jazz Festival with Quincy. COME BACK TO ME LOVE, her latest CD signals a return to Freda’s jazz roots. It’s about time.