There are two ways to approach the world when you have a signature song that has defined you for 40 years: you can embrace it or you can run as far away from it as possible. Freda Payne, who struck solid gold in 1970 with her hit single, Band of Gold, has taken the former approach, using the song as a calling card for both fans and those who might not otherwise know her.
American Idol fans will recall that she performed the song last season on the show, and it’s a staple of her live concerts.
But Freda Payne, who’s appearing at San Francisco’s Rrazz Room April 20-25, is a multitalented singer and actress who absolutely shouldn’t be defined by that single hit, as great a song as it is. (And make no mistake about how great it was: even Rolling Stone put it at #391 on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.)
Performing since her early teens, Payne has done theatre (Hallelujah Baby), movies (Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps) and TV (Today’s Black Woman), besides her brilliant singing career that has spanned jazz, R&B and disco.
Where Payne really shines is as a jazz vocalist. For those who know her as a Top 40/R&B/disco singer, it will be a revelation to hear the sophisticated stylings that she brings to jazz vocals. In fact, her first album, “After the Lights Go Down Low and Much More!!!,” recorded in late 1963 and released in 1964, remains a classic and powerful album that wows even today.
That’s why the Rrazz Room is a perfect venue for Payne, where the intimate surroundings and good sound system will let her incredible voice really stand out.
Recently, along with Barbra Streisand and other legendary singers, Freda participated in “We Are The World 2010, Remake for Haiti,” a benefit for Haitians after that devastating earthquake.