Vaneese Thomas embodies the rich heritage of sweet soul and rhythm and blues music of Memphis. At the same time she has combined all the influences of her background and experience – R&B, gospel, blues, and jazz – to cultivate a soul-stirring style that’s all her own.
Come enjoy this versatile, brilliant performer when the Vaneese Thomas Group kicks off Northeast State’s Hot Nights, Cool Music summer concert series on June 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Wellmont Regional Center for Performing Arts on the College’s main campus next to Tri-Cities Regional Airport. The show is free and open the public.
Born in Memphis, Thomas is the daughter of Rufus Thomas, a legendary musician and entertainer who began in Vaudeville and spanned more than half a century in rhythm-and-blues recording and radio. Her older siblings are the hit recording artist “Memphis Queen” Carla Thomas and the highly respected keyboardist and producer, Marvell Thomas.
Her most recent release Blues for My Father hit #1 in September 2014 in France, #7 in the United State for 2014 and garnering two Blues Music Association award nominations for 2014. Her talents as a singer, songwriter, producer, and actor have made her a sought-after solo performer as well as a first-call vocalist for projects by other top-name artists. She has worked with the renowned recording producer Phil Ramone and sung with legendary performers including Luciano Pavarotti, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, and others.
Thomas has also produced recordings, created vocal arrangements, and written songs for Patti Austin, Freddie Jackson, Bob James, Larry Coryell, Melba Moore, and Diana Ross, who scored a Top Ten hit in the United Kingdom with “One Shining Moment.”
Geffen Records released Thomas’ first major recording in 1987. The self-titled album included the Top Ten R & B hit “Let’s Talk it Over.” In 1999 Thomas used her own Peaceful Waters Music label to release When My Back’s Against The Wall, a gospel crossover hailed by Billboard Magazine as “a small label masterpiece that begs for attention from savvy majors.” Following a few years later was A Woman’s Love, which combined R & B and silky, smooth-jazz vocals and Soul Sister Vol. One.
Thomas was the voice of Grace the Bass on the PBS series “Shining Time Station.” She has sung on numerous film soundtracks including Anastasia, Mighty Aphrodite and The First Wives Club. Her numerous TV appearances include “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” and “NBC’s Today.”
The Hot Nights, Cool Music concert series continues through summer. For more information, visit http://www.northeaststate.edu.