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Tokyo’s First Lady Of Soul

Black Tokyo is pleased to present a new series of posts on Blacks in Japan’s entertainment industry. Our first story features singer, song writer and producer, Ms. Brenda Vaughn.

According to information obtained from the CD insert of her latest single, “The Worst is Over,” Ms. Brenda Vaughn was born in Starkville, Mississippi, the eldest of five children. She moved to Missouri at the age of four and later to Oakland, California.

At the age of fifteen, Ms. Vaughn was expecting her first child and was facing a very tough road ahead. Years later she gave birth to two more children and would have to survive via the welfare system. Although Ms. Vaughn would get the occasional singing gig, as a young single mother she would face frustration and criticism and often thought about giving up. Courageously, she summoned the strength from her music and her faith in God. Little did she know, her prayers would eventually be answered.

After enduring many hardships, Vaughn’s career began to take off. She started performing internationally and ultimately found her niche in Japan. Her soulful voice quickly came in high demand in Japan’s music scene. Ms. Vaughn found work as a back-up singer, solo artist and has been the featured voice in many Japanese commercials.

In addition to her musical endeavors, Brenda Vaughn has been involved in charitable work for many years. In 1992, she established the “Sistuh to Sistuh Awards,” an organization that honors female vocalists for their contributions to the California Bay Area music scene.

In other charitable work, Ms. Vaughn co-wrote and co-produced the song “Touch the Sky” for the “Sing for Darfur Charity” which brings awareness to the victims of genocide in the Sudan.

In April of 2007, Brenda Vaughn received the Living Legend Award at “The Bay Area Black Music Awards” and even received her own day, December 12, which is declared Brenda Vaughn Day in her home town of Oakland, California. She also has received one triple platinum and two platinum awards for her coordinating work with Japan’s Ki/oon /Sony Music recording group The Gospellers.

A photo of Brenda Vaughn. Tokyo's First Lady of Soul.

As noted by Japan Indies, “Since arriving here in Japan, Brenda has worked with many of Japans top recording artists such as touring with Hirari Ken and singing and coordinating singers for MTV Unplugged in New York! Other japan’s top artists include Crystal Kay, Sowelu, Hikaru Utada, Rx, Makoto Kuriya, Philip Woo, Sakura, Mink, TRF, Boa, Kumi Koda, The Gospellers and FayRay are names that you can always associate her with , whether singing background, lead, coordinating, or shopping for songs.”

Article by Hagemaru

One Comment

  1. mary anne godwin mary anne godwin

    Hello Brenda,

    Please let me know that you are well since the Tsunami, so that I can convey the good news to your friend Charles Franklin, who is worried about you, and your well being. I have met you on a few occasions in Oakland. I will convey the good news asap. I am happy to learn of all of your accomplishments, and will keep you in prayer , to continue spreading the joy of you good works. You are most deserving of the tributes I have read about. accolades to Tokyo’s First Lady of Soul.
    Peace, love and blessings,
    maryannegodwin@yahoo.com

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