Freda Payne is famous for her musical career, which reached its peak in the 1960s to the mid-1980s. She is also known for her acting roles in musicals and films.
In her lifetime, Payne has been in relationships with two American musicians and shares a son with one of them. Find out more about her career, relationships, and son.
Payne was born on September 19, 1942. She was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up listening to jazz musicians like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.
In her teenage years, Payne attended the Detroit Institute of Musical Arts. She sang commercial radio jingles and participated in and won several local television and radio talent shows.
She moved to New York in 1963 and worked with multiple entertainers like Quincy Jones, Pearl Bailey, and Bill Cosby. In 1964, she released her debut album titled “After The Lights Go Down Low And Much More.”
The album was a jazz recording she recorded in collaboration with arranger Manny Albam. The following year, Payne went on her maiden European tour and recorded an album in Sweden in collaboration with Don Gardner and Bengt-Arne Wallin.
In 1966, she released her second American album titled “How Do You Say I Don’t Love You Anymore.” The album was released for MGM Records and was a jazz album like her first.
Occasionally, Payne appeared on television shows like “The Merv Griffin Show” and “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”
Payne was also involved in theatre. In 1967, she understudied Leslie Uggams for the Broadway show “Hallelujah Baby.” She also appeared in a production of “Lost in the Stars” alongside the Equity Theatre.
Two years later, Payne’s old friends in Detroit, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland Jr., convinced her to sign with their newly created record label Invictus.
After signing with the record label, she released her first single for them titled “Unhooked Generation,” which was somewhat an R&B hit. Next, Edward offered Payne a song titled “Band of Gold,” which he, Brian, and Dozier co-wrote with Ronald Dunbar.
The song became an instant hit in the early 1970s and peaked at No. 3 in the US and No. 1 in the UK for six consecutive weeks. Through the song, Payne earned her first gold record. After that, she released an album of the same name, and it proved to be a success.
Besides her singing talent, Payne became an in-demand cover subject for Ebony and Jet Magazines because of raging beauty. In a 2014 chat with Ebony, she recalled the memories of her cover-girl days and said:
“Can I tell you, I think there were some people who were a little jealous. They would say, ‘Who do you know?’ God bless those people at JET, they’re all gone now.”
Payne also appreciated Jet and Ebony Magazines for always writing about what Black people were doing in the United States of America. She said if not for them, many Blacks would not have gotten any exposure,
She released many other songs for Invictus, including another smash hit, “Bring The Boys Home,” a Vietnam War protest song, which earned her a second gold record. Her other albums for the record label included “Contact,” “Best of Freda Payne,” and “Reaching Out.”
Following her and Gregory’s divorce, Payne had a relationship with another musician
Payne left Invictus in 1973 after enjoying so much success with them. She moved to record albums for ABC/Dunhill and Capitol but was never able to re-enact the commercial success she had with Invictus.
In 1981, Payne enjoyed a short stint hosting her own talk show, “Today’s Black Woman.” She also acted in several films, Broadway, and other theatre productions in the 1980s.
Despite concentrating on acting, she still did some music as she released multiple singles and remakes of her hit song “Band of Gold.” She also released three albums for Dove Music. She also released an album titled “Come See About Me” for the Volt Records label in 2001.
PAYNE’S MARRIAGE AND RELATIONSHIPS
In 1976, Payne married American singer Gregory Abbott. Following her marriage, she explained why she tied the knot. Payne noted she said she would never marry unless she was swept off her feet.
Payne did not feel like giving up all the comforts and luxuries that had become part of her life through living alone. However, that mindset changed when she met Gregory, who she described as the most handsome, brightest, and nicest man she had ever set her eyes on.
On September 19, 1977, Payne gave birth to her and Gregory’s only son, Gregory Abbott Jr. She delivered her son at the Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Payne and Gregory were a happy couple, but their relationship did not last as it came crashing in 1979.
The couple sealed their divorce, with both of them getting joint custody of their son. However, the court ordered Payne to pay Gregory temporary spousal support of $650 per month.
Following the couple’s divorce, Payne was coaxed into returning to the studio to record new music as she thought she had had enough. She recorded the backup vocals on Belinda Carlisle’s remake of her hit song “Band of Gold.”
After the recording session was completed, Payne said she had no regrets and described it as remarrying the same husband for the second time. She added that love is sweeter the second time around.
Payne also spoke to Jet about why her marriage with Gregory turned sour. She explained that one gets wiser as they grow older. Hence, she learned that married couples should have much more than a physical relationship and love.
The singer said she had many opportunities to have better chances with other men but ended up making a huge mistake. Payne revealed she was vulnerable when she met Gregory, who used the opportunity to sweep her off her feet just by acting nice.
She described herself as a glutton for having something easy and said she did him an injustice by marrying him because he was not ready for marriage and could not handle it.
Despite having a child for Gregory soon after their marriage, Payne expressed no regret about that. However, she was disappointed over the misunderstanding that led her to conclude their marriage was a mistake.
She discovered painfully that the man she courted was not the same person she married. According to her, Gregory showed himself to be a different kind of person but started putting his foot down and telling her how he wanted things to be after their marriage.
Payne concluded by advising people to agree with their partners before tying the knot on how much commitment they are willing to give to each other.
Following her and Gregory’s divorce, Payne had a relationship with another musician, Edmund Sylvers, who was The Sylvers’ lead singer. They dated from 1979 until 1983. It was Sylvers who wrote and produced her 1982 single “In Motion.”
WHAT PAYNE LOOKS LIKE NOW
Payne is 79 years old now but looks incredibly younger than her age. Also, she remains as beautiful as she ever was. She regularly posts pictures of herself on her Instagram page.
In September, she celebrated her son, Gregory Jr.’s birthday by sharing a picture of them posing in matching red outfits and smiling. In the post’s caption, the septuagenarian, who shares the same birthday with her son, wrote:
“Today is also my son’s birthday, Gregory Abbott Jr!😊🎁 Let’s all wish him a happy birthday!🎂 Thank you all for your kind birthday wishes 💞 love you!. Freda.”
Earlier in September, she shared a photo that showed her performing on stage while clad in a shiny strapless gown. She also rocked long, black, curly hair. In the post’s caption, she celebrated the Jewish New Year by writing:
“L’ Shanah Tovah!! Happy New Year- Rosh Hashanah 🥰.”
In April, the beautiful Payne shared a picture that showed her leaning on a white pole while clad in a gorgeous floral gown, which she accessorized with golden hoop earrings. She also rocked curly hair and smiled as she posed.
In the post’s caption, she advised her followers to remember to have fun and laugh. Payne has advanced in age but remains a beautiful and elegant singer with an amazing voice.