KJAZZ Radio UK is delighted to have as part of its family of musicians the soul/blues singing Diva -Holle Thee Maxwell. Holle Thee Maxwell was born on October 17, 1945 as HOLLE THEE MARCLA RODE’ MAXWELL. She recorded singles under the name “Holly Maxwell” in the 1960s-1970s for the record labels Constellation, Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom Records, Smit-Whit, and Star. Her songs such as “Only When You’re Lonely”, “One Thin Dime”, “Never Love Again”, “Suffer”, “Philly Barracuda” were regional hits across the USA.
Holle sang her first song professionally at the age of 5, studied classical voice and piano at the age of 9, and graduated with degrees from both The Chicago Musical College at Roosevelt University and The Julliard School in New York City.
Holle is an accomplished songwriter as well as an incredible singer. Blues superstar, Bobby “Blue” Bland covered one of her songs on his critically acclaimed album Come Fly With Me. In addition to singing soul, rock, jazz, country and blues, Holle also sings in French, German and Italian. From opera, to “Thee” blues (as she likes to call it), Holle Thee Maxwell can sing it all in a way that is distinctly “Holle”. Holle recorded with jazz great Jimmy Smith, and replaced Tina Turner in the Ike Turner’s band. Holle also worked with The Temptations, Johnny Taylor, The Spinners, The Dells, Fred Williamson, Captain and Tenille, Reynaldo Rey and many others. Sammy Davis Jr., Redd Foxx, Sydney Poitier, Isaac Hayes, KoKo Taylor, Archie More, Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammed Ali, Slappy White, Lou Gossett Jr., King Curtis and others have all been fans of Holle Thee Maxwell. Holle’s performances will not disappoint. Her recent performance at the Chicago Blues Festival in 2009 Time Out Chicago asked: “Would you expect any less from a lady who once danced on tables at a high-school cafeteria to promote her latest record?” AN ICON…A MUSICAL LIVING LEGEND…”THEE” BLACK BLONDE BOMBSHELL…There is only one HOLLE THEE MAXWELL!
Five Minutes with Holle Thee Maxwell
KJAZZ Radio UK was fortunate to catch up with Holle and asked if we could send some questions to help you the listener get a better picture of this talented living legend. We posed a selection of several questions to Holle and asked her to answer those that she felt comfortable with. Holle was happy to oblige and here are the responses. We thank her for taking the time to conduct the following interview with KJAZZ Radio UK.
Q. Holle a good place to start is How old were you when you first learned to play an instrument/sing?
A. Instrument/ 9 years young…Sing/ 5 years young….
Q. Can you tell us about some of your earliest musical memories?
A. Being THEE first and only 12 year young (Black)American child to be presented at Civic Opera House in classical/operatic concert, singing Italian, German and French!……singing with famed bassist/ writer/arranger Johnny Pate at Parkway Ballroom, Chgo., Il. and just too many to tell about, out side of book I AM writing…….
Q. What kind of music did you listen to when you were growing up?
A. Opera/Classical/Pop/Show Tunes while sneaking and listening to R&B….
Q. Has this influenced the kind of music you like to perform now?
A. Yes! I do multiple genres of music….
Q. Who inspired your love of music?
A. First….My Mother(Eula THEE Gladys Maxwell! Professor Dr. Lena McLin (still teaches music today at 86 years young); too many more that knew I was talented…….
Q. Did you perform as a child (with school orchestra or choir or with bands or choirs outside of school etc)?
A. Every day of my life it seems, in church(AME) leading all THEE choirs; High school in choirs and starred in all Variety Shows……..
A. Modeling, reading, piano, majorette……
Q. At what stage did you realize you could make a career out of music?
A. I grew into knowing that from my mother knowing ahead of time……..
Q. How did you get your career started? (when did you play first professional gigs)
A. My mother got my career started at 5 years young when I sang THEE Lord’s Prayer by Malotte at a church in Chicago,(still standing); which I got paid for singing, which mad me a professional singer at 5 years young……..
A. Ike Turner……..
Q. What was it like working with Ike Turner and his band?
A. It was never a dull moment and one of THEE best experiences that I was to ever have……
Q. Please tell us about some of the other amazing legends you have worked with over the years?
A. Bobby Blue Bland(wrote song “Ain’t God Somethin” for him), THEE Temptations, Jazz Organ Great Jimmy Smith, Charlie Earland, Jack McDuff, David Ruffin, Charlie callis, Redd Foxx, King Curtis and to many more to mention……..
Q. What are you doing these days?
A. Receiving THEE Life Time Achievement Award from Chgo Music Awards, March 15th, 2015; Doing interview in on tv show entitled, “UNSUNG” which helps me to describe my life with Ike Turner; writing book about life with Ike Turner; in movie, entitled, “Women In Blues, released, Sept 15th, 2015; and planning to record country CD…..
Q. Where can people listen to and buy your music?
A. At this time they can listen to my music at www.reverbnation.com/holletheemaxwell
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