Memphis is known as a city where music thrives. With such a rich history as the home of rock’n’roll and blues and the birthplace of many musicians of other genres of music, Memphis is a place that allows artists to make a name for themselves. Many female singers and songwriters have emerged from Memphis’ music tradition. These women perform music in genres from county to folk to rock’n’roll. Some of these influential new artists include names such as Kim Richardson, Carol Plunk, Jacquelin Simmers, and Reba Russell.
Kim Richardson is a folk singer, songwriter who shares her enthusiasm for music with many listeners in the Memphis area as well as other cities around the Southeast. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1975, Kim Richardson grew up listening to country music stars such as Conway Twitty and Reba McEntire. These country artists influenced the type of music Kim played when she began performing in college. After college and several years in corporate America, Kim decided on a career change that was more conducive to her love of music and performing.
She now writes and performs her own music in a unique style that conveys her thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Her tremendous musical talent includes not only her excellent voice but also her nimble guitar-playing skills that are ideal for folk music singers. In her lyric-driven songs, Kim incorporates a mixture of humor, attitude, and personal experiences; in her performances, she attempts to connect with her audience. She would much rather prefer to have her audience experience her music than just listen to it. The audience is so involved with her music because of the way she engages them with jokes and candor between songs. When one attends a Kim Richardson performance, they should be ready for Kim’s expectation of audience interaction because her style of music does not encourage passive responses.
Kim Richardson has built a successful career as a singer, songwriter. She has played at numerous venues around the Southeast including the Bluebird in Nashville, The Grey Eagle in Asheville, the Arkansas Heritage and Blues Festival in Helena, and in the Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis. Kim got to play with one of her idols, Hall of Fame Songwriter, Matraca Berg, in Nashville in December 2008. Kim’s accolades include winning the Ozark Folk Festival Songwriting Contest, and being nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year by the Memphis chapter of the Recording Academy. Kim has released two albums, including her newly released True North.
This singer songwriter is a spiritual person that believes music, including hers, can move people and that is a major reason she has chosen this path. Her desire to entertain people and make a difference with her lyrics makes Kim Richardson one of Memphis’ most respected and talented singer songwriters.
For more about Kim see her website at kimrichardsonmusic.com.
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Carol Plunk is driven in her music career as a singer and songwriter to be “Not Just Another Chick with a Guitar.” Born in Tennessee, she began her music career playing in bluegrass jam sessions with her father where she taught herself to play different instruments including the drums, banjo, mandolin, piano, and fiddle. She had already learned to play guitar by ear when she was five years old. Her father helped teach her the guitar chords she needed to know, so she never learned to read music. Her father was certainly a major influence on her early music career; however, once she discovered rock’n’roll she found a new inspiration. Plunk claims that since she turned twelve, Mötley Crüe has been her biggest musical influence.
At the age of fifteen, Plunk created her first band which performed around West Tennessee. This band, “Revelation,” was fairly successful and won several local competitions. In 1994 she became part of the duo, “The Belle Curves.” The other half of this duo was a member from her previous band. They produced a self-titled album in 1995, but one year later Plunk left the duo to embark on a solo career.
Since her solo career began, she has released seven successful CDs that have received public attention through radio airtime and being featured in publications. Carol was presented with the 2000 Premier Player "Newcomer of the Year" award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). She credits this award to being the greatest achievement of her career. She was also a nominee in the 2002 "Female Vocalist of the Year" category. In September 2002 Plunk gave a performance on Food Nation with Bobby Flay, on the Food Network. This gave Plunk much public exposure as the program originally aired to an audience of twenty million. In Memphis, Plunk is well-known and has performed in the Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival. In the future she hopes to transition to the business side of the music industry where she can become a producer.
Carol’s web address is carolplunk.com/home.html.
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Jacquelin Simmers is a true Memphis artist as she was born and raised in Memphis. She has been singing since she was a young girl and would make up songs while simply walking around her house as a child. When she was only twelve, she joined “The Crossway Worship Band” as a background singer. She wrote her first two songs at the ages of twelve and fourteen demonstrating her gift for songwriting. She then learned how to play the guitar with the help of her father and wrote a song that she could sing and play on her own.
Since her early beginnings as a young girl with a musical gift, she has been performing in different locations throughout Memphis including Memphis Originals (MO’s), St. Judes’ Target House, and The Acoustic Spoon. Simmers, now twenty years old, is working on recording her first album. Her music is most often described as acoustic-folk while she also sings Christian rock music.
Jacquelin Sinners website can be found at blog.jacquelinsimmers.com.
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Reba Russell made her name as a backup singer for Jimmy Thackery, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, Wynonna Judd, U2, Tracy Nelson and Walter Trout. Among her admirers are Rufus Thomas, Ringo Star and BB King. She has been influenced by artists like Bonnie Bramlett and Rita Coolidge, as well as her mentor and fellow Memphian, Jim Dickinson. She does not perform on any instruments—her voice is instrument enough. She has a style all her own, but gives tribute to her Memphis roots with an R & B sound. Reba has recorded five solo albums and is currently the front woman for the Reba Russell Band, which just came out with a new album, Bleeding Heart.
See rebarussell.com for artist, concert, and album information.
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