At five years old, she began performing in church. Besides singing, the multi-talented artist was a cheerleader, performed with a dance troop at the White House, and by age thirteen, had become a runway and print model. She also began to write poetry, another talent that would prepare her for the great things to come. In her teens, Payne sang locally with a church group called Praise.
It was then that her love of poetry turned into a gift for songwriting. She started writing and rearranging songs for Praise and became a sought after performer in suburban Maryland, where she grew up with her brother and parents. Her destiny became ever more apparent to everyone around her. Shortly after high school, she met destiny when word of her incredible performance at a wedding reached then Los Angeles Hit producer Keith Crouch, who had produced some of Brandy’s multi platinum records.
This led to an opportunity to sing background vocals and demos in California. Within six months of traveling back and forth to L.A. to work with producers. She was soon after signing a solo recording deal.
Although production delays ended the deal, Payne kept moving ahead. In 2000, she called on by prolific producer Rodney Jerkins of Darkchild Entertainment asking her to join his hit making team. Her first major project with Rodney Jerkins was writing the hook and singing background vocals for hit single “YOU ROCK MY WORLD” For Michael Jackson on his Invincible album. The intimidation she felt about singing her ideas to the superstar vanished when he quickly replied, “That’s hot.
I love it.” The collaboration produced the number one single “You Rock My World”, and Title song “Invincible” which was once called Limitless before The King Of Pop asked Payne to re-write it. Along with these hit chart-topping songs was “Unbreakable,” which she co-wrote. The experience of working with Jackson was life changing and took Payne’s work to another level. Over the next three years, she amassed an impressive list of writing credits as multi-platinum artists from R&B to pop and gospel sought her poetic lyrics and signature voice.
The results were phenomenal. She sang background vocals for Toni Braxton’s GRAMMY Award winning song “He Wasn’t Man Enough” and co-wrote three songs for Brandy’s Full Moon CD including “What About Us?” “WOW,” and “When You Touch Me.” Payne has written (and sang vocals) for most of the artist projects in which she’s participated: Jennifer Lopez, “That’s The Way”; Britney Spears, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”; Will Smith, “Block Party” "Men In Black" movie sound track; Mary Mary, “He Said” and “Incredible”; Tamia’s “Protect My Heart” on latest CD “Between Friends” and United Kingdom recording artist Candy Dulfer, “Girls Night Out.” Payne’s endless list of projects also includes work with Dorinda Clark-Cole, LeAnn Rimes, Rahsaan Patterson, Kenny Lattimore, Eric Benet, and many other new projects soon to drop. Payne step into the spotlight with her debut CD entitled Pandora’s Box, released by Epiphany Entertainment. “After being behind the music, I’m ready to meet the world that has inspired me to record my first solo project,” says Payne.
The classic R&B album gives fans a chance to take a deeper look into the style of music they have already fallen in love with. The self written and vocal produced album features guaranteed favorites such as “Don’t Explain,” inspired by Billie Holiday’s version, and “Sometimes.” Both tracks are produced by Keith Crouch. While these moody tracks define Pandora’s Box, there are other light tracks such as “Diggin You” and “Crush,” produced by Briss, which add to the overall balance of the album. Payne says, “I think a good album is just full of different emotions, levels, stories and experiences.
I wanted people to feel the lightness of love, but at the same time realize that I’ve experienced heartbreak too.” The smash first single, “Your Man,” produced by Brandon Broadnex, expresses that heartbreak. Payne’s extraordinary talent on Pandora’s Box is nothing short of the hit-making work she’s known for as she has proven many times over that she is much more than a pretty face. She is one of the few female artists greats who writes hits for herself as well as other artists. She also knows music’s profound power to communicate, comfort, and inspire.
When asked about her motivation for this project, she says, “I think the best gift is sharing yourself, your experiences, your thoughts, communicating with the soul. True communication is the best gift you can give someone because all people want is someone who cares. I think that’s what drives me. I want to be that caring touch for somebody because I know they are listening and reaching.” Read more on Last.fm.
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