Harold Payne (Los Angeles, CA) is a multi-platinum singer/songwriter with an earthy, soulful sound.
His music has been featured in numerous television programs, commercials, and movies, including Beverly Hills Cop II, Splash, and Summer Rental, and has been commissioned by corporations and individuals.
Payne has recorded an assortment of albums that will hold your heart hostage with his unpretentiously sexy voice and modest charm.
In January, Payne won the 2010 Posi Music Award in the Group/Chant Category for his feel-good, "positively" rockin' song, Something Wonderful, (Stayin' True album. Note: links to videos and audios of songs mentioned are at the end of the article.)
The Posi Awards have been called "The Grammys of Positive Music."
Faith and Harold and other Posi Nominees sing Stand Together, Jan. 2011
(Image by Jim Downer) Details DMCA
In 2009, Payne and LA-based singer-songwriter Faith Rivera shared the annual Posi Music Award for Most Uniting Song for their soulful, movin' and shakin' song, Stand Together.
Payne's songs have been recorded by over 100 artists, including Rod Stewart, Patti LaBelle, Sly Stone, the Temptations, and the Kingston Trio; and he's no stranger to Billboard's Top 5. Payne's hit, "Music Speaks Louder Than Words" has been recorded by dozens of artists, most memorably by Peter, Paul and Mary.
Hits from the Partyin' Past
Payne is a longtime collaborator with Bobby Womack , the famous prote'ge' of soul music pioneer Sam ("You Send Me", "Chain Gang") Cooke.
Popular and prolific, Womack charted 36 hit singles from 1970 to 1990, including the well-known party song, Daylight, which he and Payne co-wrote. Both Leon Russell and Destiny's Child's Kelly Rowland have recorded the song.
Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child recorded Payne's 'Daylight'
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Womack and Payne have collaborated on countless songs, including "When the Weekend Comes," ( a Womack/Sly Stone duet), " Don't Break Your Promise Too Soon," (a Womack/Rod Stewart duet) and "Save the Children," (performed by Carlos Santana on his Live in Tokyo: The Budokan DVD.)
The Power of Positive Music
Nowadays, Payne's goal is to leave his audiences happier than he found them, noting, "My mission is to touch people's lives in a positive way and to use my gifts for good--and for good fun." In California, Payne performs at least three or four nights a week in a variety of venues, singing music from his CDs as well as inspired improvisations. He notes, " it gives me a chance to 'get sweat' on all of my songs ... it keeps my writing muscles 'tuned up,' and keeps me connected to the source that inspires me."
In addition, Payne is often invited to perform his uplifting music at "New Thought" services including Unitarian, Unity, Religious Science, and other non-denominational organizations.
On Father's Day, at the Unity Church of Fairfax, VA, Payne sang a poignant song he'd written for his late dad: "Pass It On," from the album of the same name, which touched the heart of the congregation with its appreciative, "pay it forward" theme.
The Positive Music Association states that affirmative lyrics and music have "a positive effect on the listener. The benefits of listening to positive music include physical and emotional healing, increased motivation, a sense of connection and unity among others and the natural world, facilitating the process of experiencing grief, sadness, anger or apathy, and an increased sense of well being and joy."
Serving the Greater Good
Payne generously peppers his career
with a variety of charitable activities. In June, he participated in the
Unite4Japan concert in San Pedro,
California, during which volunteering entertainers raised $30,000 for
the 2011 Japan Relief Fund. Payne opened the concert with "We'll Be There for You (Kimi
No Soba Ni)," a kind, compassionate "love note" he wrote to the Japanese after the disasters earlier this year.
Payne contributed the song, "You Are My Teacher," co-written with Rivera, to Harmonizing with Humanity's autism awareness CD, and he has also lent his voice to the fundraising efforts of political hopefuls from Los Angeles to Capitol Hill.
Positive Vibes from Coast to Coast
In June, Payne
headlined Jeff Wolf's Positive Music and Arts Festival in Marshall, VA.
featured a lineup of musicians performing on the outdoor stage at Stillwaters,
Wolf's lakeside property in the foothills of the Shenandoah mountains.
Payne on the outdoor stage at Jeff Wolf's Positive Music and Arts Festival
(Image by Meryl Ann Butler) Details DMCA
Improv: It ain't fer sissies!
At Payne's live performances, his careful listeners are richly rewarded with lyrics that he has unexpectedly and humorously "repurposed" to suit the moment.
And with astonishing sleight-of-hand, he can pull a suddenly finished song out of a hat by its ears.
It's a skill that Mark Victor Hansen of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame appreciated when he showcased the singer in one of his popular conferences: Payne can craft the essence of a speaker's message into a new song that's ready to perform by the end of the lecture.
Watching that kind of magic happen is like peering through a window into the soul of the creative process. And Payne has parlayed that unique talent into a custom song service that memorializes a variety of clients' special occasions.
Flying Friendly Skies
On a recent Southwest flight, Payne was among the delighted witnesses to a surprise, in-flight marriage proposal. At Payne's request, friends of the lovebirds scribbled details of the couple's lives on airline napkins, which were secretly passed to him, and he composed a song faster than you could consult a rhyming dictionary.
Since Southwest allowed Payne to bring his guitar on board as carry-on luggage, he was able to surprise the newly engaged couple--along with a plane-ful of travelers--with a custom song that celebrated the occasion! And thanks to technology, it was captured on an iPhone video, now on YouTube.
While on the East Coast in June, Payne also performed at the B.O.W. (Barrel Oak Winery, Delaplane, VA) singing a mix of boomer and current favorites, improv, and originals.
He generously invited a few of his musical cohorts who were in the audience to get into the playful act.
B.O.W. is a kid- and canine-friendly winery with some of the most breathtaking views in the Blue Ridge foothills.
Little 18-month-old Caitlin brought Maverick, her 110 lb. English Black Lab, and her parents, to enjoy the entertainment.
As the sun set behind the spacious open air patio, Caitlin got into the spirit of Paynes' music, clapping and dancing with Maverick.
In the flash of a smile, Payne burst into a happy improv song about her, delighting both the two-legged and four-legged guests.
What comes across loud and clear in Payne's solid performances is his authenticity, appreciation, and generosity.
His radiant smile and rugged, "cowboy" good looks keeps listeners riveted. Every moment of his performance is infused with the energy of a musician who genuinely loves what he does, and Payne envelops his grateful audiences in it.
And don't blink an ear, or you might miss one of his creative lyrical twists or a hilarious, "Payne-ful" pun!
A Bit of Heaven on Earth
In Payne's song, Angels Don't Always Wear Wings, a mom invites her little one to look for angels in everyday life.
It's true, angels don't always wear wings - sometimes they wear guitar straps!
Harold Payne offers a hopeful and heavenly vision of positivity through the captivating fusion of his boyish smile and smoldering voice. It's a devilishly divine combination that entices listeners to let the music raise their spirits a notch or two.
If you are lucky enough to be in Southern California, check Payne's online calendar at www.haroldpaynemusic.com/performances. He can often be found performing his unique mix of originals, covers and improvs at a variety of local venues including: Tony's on the Pier Redondo Beach; 21 Oceanfront Newport, and Montage Resort, Laguna, in addition to other special events. He also performs as a member of the band Gravity 180, formerly known as Gravity. WARNING: if you play the group's CDs in the car, be careful - the magnetic mix of Clydene Jackson's sensuous sound with Payne's bluesy vocals is likely to steam up the windows!
'Gravity' oil on canvas; Clydene Jackson, Oliver Brown & Harold Payne
(Image by by Synthia Saint James) Details DMCA
Hear Harold Payne's music:
"Something Wonderful" by Harold Payne http://www.myspace.com/haroldpayne
"Stand Together," Posi Award winning song from Faith Rivera and Harold Payne
Bobby Womack sings Womack and Payne's, "I Wish He Didn't Trust Me So Much" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovmS20sc2_U
Daylight , which Womack co-wrote with Payne. http://www.amazon.com/Bobby-Womack-Greatest-Hits/dp/B00001R3HY
Payne's "Music Speaks Louder Than Words" recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHy2vXM6Ktk
Payne sings We'll Be There for you (Kimi No Soba Ni),
Southwest Airlines Flight 3627 (Sept. 19, 2009) - Proposal Song by Harold Payne http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqfMLfKNhFU
Custom Songs 4 U http://customsongs4u.com/samples.html is Harold Payne's music service, memorializing special occasions with one-of-a-kind songs written especially for each event, including weddings, birthdays, retirement, and more.
Gravity 180 (Clydene Jackson, Oliver Brown & Harold Payne) www.gravity180.net
RELATED ARTICLES by Meryl Ann Butler:
Cool Aid for Japan: Artisans and Entertainers Band Together Coast to Coast http://www.opednews.com/articles/Cool-Aid-for-Japan--Artis-by-Meryl-Ann-Butler-110605-125.html
We All Win When We Evolve Away from Fear: Personal and Societal Wellbeing and Positive Music http://www.opednews.com/articles/We-All-Win-When-We-Evolve-by-Meryl-Ann-Butler-110116-547.html
Positive Music Awards: A Fanfare of Harmony
emPower Posi Music Awards www.empowerma.com/PosiAwards
The Positive Music Association www.positivemusicassociation.com
Randy Grossman's Harmonizing with Humanity autism awareness fundraising album and other events at www.hwhrecords.com
Faith Rivera website www.faithrivera.com
Jeff Wolf's Stillwaters Studios and annual Positive Music and Arts Festival www.stillwaters-studios.com
Barrel Oak Winery www.barreloak.com
Unity of Fairfax VA www.unityoffairfax.org