This article has multiple issues. Please help talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)( or discuss these issues on the Learn how and when to remove this template message)
December 29, 1968 |
Omaha, Nebraska, United States
|Singer, songwriter, social activist, radio personality|
Redd Velvet grew up in Monroeville, Alabama singing in her grandfather's church. Early experience singing gospel gave her a powerful, earthy voice compared to Gladys Knight and Mavis Staples. A local choral teacher discovered her at age 12 singing in the school chorus and encouraged her to pursue classical training. At 18 Redd began intense vocal coaching under the tutelage of Mildred Allen, a principal artist with The New York Metropolitan Opera and baritone Andrew Gainey, who encouraged her to pursue a career in classical music.
During a visit to "Memphis in May" in 2009, Redd met songwriter Earl Randall and Hi Records producer Willie Mitchell. Mitchell and Randall heard a demo of Redd's cover of O.V Wright's "Searching" which had been penned by Randle. On their advice, she relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, and launched her career. Upon her arrival in Memphis she founded Big Daddy's Baddass Band as her backing band and garnered the attention of the local blues community as the first African American woman to lead a band in the Memphis Blues Challenge. She advanced to the finals of the 2010 competition and again made local blues history as the first African-American woman to lead a band to place in the band category.
Velvet recorded and released her first album Womanhood 101 in December 2010 on the Banana Pudding Music label she founded when she refused to sign a conventional recording contract. Womanhood 101 was critically acclaimed as the beginning of an interesting and potentially important chapter in contemporary blues by Living Blues Magazine.
Although Redd is most noted for her unconventional entry into the music industry, she has also been recognized for her work as both a registered nurse and social activist for causes such as domestic violence, women's rights, and child/sexual abuse. In 2010, Redd Velvet founded Music Heals Memphis, Incorporated, a non profit organization focused on providing health and social services for musicians, promoting racial harmony and the preservation of blues and soul music. The Commercial Appeal proclaimed her the "Blues Angel" for her work as a nurse and advocate.
In March 2011, Redd Velvet became the first blueswoman to create and host a radio talk show. The show was created to meet public demand from loyal followers of her posts on a social networking site. The Little Redd Schoolhouse debuted on March 3, 2011, on WMQM, a Memphis-based radio station.
Redd Velvet was nominated as "Best New Female Artist of The Year" for 2011 by the Jus' Blues Foundation.
In 2016 award-winning journalist Toure' wrote an article in Smithsonian Magazine praising Redd velvet for her powerful performances and work to preserve the history and heritage of the blues as an African-American art form. At the urging of Toure' and blues vocalist Teeny Tucker, Redd Velvet created "I Am The Blues", the only live, interactive blues exhibit showcasing the evolution of blues music from the shores of Africa to the twenty-first century.