Australian music fans will probably hear the name Freda Payne, and think of her 1970 hit, 'Band Of Gold'. Written and produced by former Tamla Motown team, Holland-Dozier-Holland, 'Band Of Gold' topped the charts in the USA, UK and Australia, earning Freda her first gold record.
There is much more to the Freda Payne story than one major hit. She grew up in Detroit, and was initially inspired by great jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. While in her teens, she attracted contract offers from Tamla Motown boss Berry Gordy Jr and jazz legend Duke Ellington, but her parents said no.
Through the 70s, Freda released a string of soul/pop albums that did well in the States, and regularly worked with Sammy Davis Jr. She focused on television from 1981, when she hosted her first talk show, Today's Black Woman. In the last 20 years, she has continued to record albums, appear on TV, and act in movies and on Broadway.
Recent career highlights include appearing as a judge on the 2009 series of American Idol, and the 2014 release of an acclaimed jazz album, Come Back To Me Love (Mack Avenue).