Her full name is Freda Charcelia Payne. She was born and raised in Detroit.
She is the sister of the Supremes' Scherrie Payne.
She began her career as a teenager by singing radio commercial jingles and singing in local TV and radio talent shows.
In 1963, she moved to New York City, where she took part in the Pearl Bailey Revue. Soon thereafter, she toured the States and Europe with different bands. She also understudied Leslie Uggams for the Broadway show Hallelujah Baby and she performed in the show Lost in the Stars at the Equity Theatre.
Before rising to fame with her trademark hit "Band of Gold," she recorded two jazz albums - After the Lights Go Down Low and Much More!!! (1963, Impulse!) and How Do You Say I Don't Love You Anymore (1966, MGM). The former was reissued on CD in Japan in early 2002.
She signed to the Invictus label in 1969. Invictus was owned by the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland (HDH) who were friends with her since childhood.
She recorded three albums for Invictus - Band of Gold (1970), Contact (1971), and Reaching Out (1973). In 1972, Invictus released The Best of Freda Payne, a compilation which included 4 new songs. She left Invictus in 1973. During the later part of the seventies, she recorded albums for ABC/Dunhill and Capitol.
In 1981, she briefly hosted her own cable talk show: Today's Black Woman.
In early 2001, a new album for the Volt label entitled Come See About Me was released; the album combines Jazz and Pop and R&B, and the title track is a remake of the Supremes' #1 US hit.
Some of her movie credits include Private Obsession (1995), Ragdoll (1999), The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000), and Fire & Ice (made-for-TV, 2001).
In 2003, she performed a show (which met rave reviews) called Love & Payne
with Darlene Love at Feinstein's at the Regency in New York City and at the Cinegrill in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles.
Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for all above
For about 6 months she worked for Duke Ellington singing with his band in Las Vegas.
Bertrand - Paris, France