Freda Charcelia Payne (born September 19, 1942 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American singer and actress.
As a teenager, she attended the Institute of Musical Arts; she soon began singing radio commercial jingles and took part in (and won many of) local TV and radio talent shows. In 1963, she moved to New York City and worked with many different singers including Quincy Jones, Pearl Bailey, and Bill Cosby. During that same year, her debut album (of jazz), After the Lights Go Down Low and Much More!!!, was released on the Impulse! label. Three years later, she released her second album of jazz, How Do You Say I Don't Love You Anymore, for MGM Records.
In 1969, her old friends back home in Detroit, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland, Jr., persuaded her to sign with their newly-formed record label Invictus. During that same year, her first Invictus single, "Unhooked Generation" (a minor R&B hit), was released. Shortly thereafter, songwriters Edythe Wayne and Ron Dunbar offered her a song entitled "Band of Gold". Almost immediately, in early 1970, the song became an instant pop smash reaching #3 in the US and #1 in the UK; it also gave Payne her first gold record. An album of the same name proved to be fairly successful as well. Other Invictus singles included "Deeper and Deeper", "You Brought the Joy", and the Vietnam protest song "Bring the Boys Home" (#12, 1971; her second gold record). Her other Invictus albums were Contact (1971), The Best of Freda Payne (1972, a compilation which included four new, unissued songs), and her last Invictus album Reaching Out (1973).
In 1973, being dissatisfied with her royalties (which were very low to begin with), she left Invictus and recorded albums for ABC/Dunhill and Capitol, but she never found the commercial success she had with Invictus.
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