Photo Credit Raj Naik
Payne discusses her love of Jazz, choosing her own musical style, to putting her heart and soul into her latest album.
Iconic Vocalist Freda Payne known for her 1970 R&B crossover smash hit Band of Gold, remains a timeless beauty with immeasurable talent. Ranging from jazz, soul to R&B, she is artistic versatility as an all-around entertainer. Payne remains among music’s and show business’ brightest shining star survivors. With a string albums under her belt, from her debut album After The Lights Go Down Low And Much More (1964) to Come See About Me (2001), the singer is continuing to make music. Returning with her latest album, Come Back To Me Love for Artistry Music on July 22 marks not only a return to the big band and strings-laden classics from her mid-60s beginnings with Impulse! Come Back To Me Love is split between powerful big band jazz and classy contemporary pop with strings. “It feels great, I’ve been waiting and anticipating for so long, it’s nice that is finally being released, I’m very happy about it,” Payne said of her new album. The singer recorded the album in 2013 at Capitol Records, with 40 musicians, taking a year in a half to complete and release. The Detroit native recalls the initial start of the album. “I was doing an engagement at a jazz club The Dirty Dog, and Gretchen, owner of the club, Mack Avenue Records, Inc. and the Detroit Jazz Festival took a liking to my voice and asked me to do a CD,” she said. Developing the album, she credits her producer Bill Cunliffe. “He’s the orchestrator, pianist and conductor on the album,” she explained. “He and I set down sorted through a collection 22 original tunes written by Gretchen Valade and Tom Robinson, dwindling down to 6 tunes and picking 8 songs that I wanted to do.” She recalled choosing the songs for her album. “I’ve never had that kind of freedom before. When you’re working with a producer and record label, it’s always something they want you to do.” Payne admits her label choose the album title to reflect the theme of love being lost. “It’s a subliminal to say to those who have missed me or use to be a fan, I want you to come back to me now.” Encompassing R&B, soul and jazz, her latest album is different musically and lyrically, referring to her previous album Band of Gold (1970), “Those were more R&B, pop tunes, Middle of the Road wasn’t jazzy at all. During the Disco phase, “I went along with the company (Capitol records) who thought it would be the best thing to sell.” It wasn’t until she signed with Dove Audio label that she got a chance to do records she liked including the album, Freda Payne Live in Concert. “I was doing songs based on an anthology of my life, so did some of the big band tunes, show and jazz tunes along with 8 companies of Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies to fine ballads Who Can I Turn To.” Payne who has always first and foremost been a jazz singer notes “This is the first time I had an opportunity to do a real jazz standard album. I’m going back to my roots.” On today’s musicians she comments, “I think their good, they have great voices, it’s all a sign of the times, the material that they use based on what’s palatable to the public’s ear today and I appreciate it.” The icon is a fond of jazz artists, Gregory Porter, Kirk Elliott, Adel and Jennifer Hudson. Being a legend and continuing to create music, “this album came about through the grace of God.” Noting that record labels have changed in regards to signing celebrated artist in the industry Payne said “established artists who are bigger that me can’t get a record deal, so I just kind of fell into this.” Payne acknowledges that she’s stayed relevant in keeping her music going. Inspired by her talent, the singer has only just begun. “Go out and get it, whether you download it or go out and buy it, just listen to it. “I think they’re going to fall in love with it because I put my heart and soul into it.” You can see Payne on August 9 at the BB King Blues Club in New York, NY; August 30 at the Detroit Jazz Festival in Detroit, MI; and September 19 – 20 at Catalina’s Jazz Club in LA. For more information visit FredaPayne.com.