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Patrice Rushen

Patrice Rushen's Biography

Multi-Grammy-nominated artist, PATRICE RUSHEN, is fashioning her career after her long-time friend and mentor, Quincy Jones. Composer… Producer… International Recording Artist – Rushen has definitely earned the respect awarded her by her peers in the music industry.

Admired by many for her ground-breaking achievements, Rushen has amassed an impressive list of "firsts". She was the first woman in 43 years to serve as head composer/musical director for television's highest honor, the EMMY AWARDS, the first woman to serve as musical director for the NAACP IMAGE AWARDS broadcast, an honor she has held for twelve consecutive years. Rushen has been the only woman musical director/composer for the PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS, HBO's COMIC RELIEF and the only woman musical director/conductor/arranger for a late-night television talk show, THE MIDNIGHT HOUR, which aired on CBS. In addition, Rushen was named musical director/composer for Newsweek's first AMERICAN ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS, broadcast on CBS from the Kennedy Center and she served as the musical director for Janet Jackson's World Tour, "Janet." As the musical director for these top award shows, Rushen composed and performed special musical tributes to Michael Landon, Ted Turner, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, The Temptations, James Garner and Leonard Bernstein to name a few.

A classically trained pianist, Rushen has spent a lifetime honing the skills, which make her one of the music industry's most versatile and sought after artists. In 1998, Rushen was again honored by the music industry when her current adult-contemporary CD, SIGNATURE, received a Grammy nomination, as well as, an NAACP Image Award nomination, and landed in the top ten of the adult-contemporary jazz charts. The critically-lauded, chart-topping style she championed in the '70's and '80's – a jazz R&B/pop fusion that combined melodic accessibility with instrumental prowess not only became her signature style but continues to be a mainstay of popular radio.

Rushen receives some 30 requests weekly to use her music for samples, especially for rap albums with artists from Mary J. Blige, Zhane, George Michael, R. Kelly, Shabba Ranks, Heavy D. and many more scoring their own hits sampled from one of Patrice's songs. Most notably is the smash hit "Men in Black" which Will Smith recorded for the movie – sampled from Patrice's 1982 Grammy nominated recording, "Forget Me Nots."

ASCAP honored Patrice's publishing company for "Men in Black" in the category of most Performed Song from a Motion Picture for the year 1997. George Michael also had a dance hit version of "Forget Me Nots" with "Fast Love", which also sampled and featured Patrice's original vocal tracks.

In addition to her success as a recording artist and musical director, Rushen is also an accomplished composer providing musical scores for Emmy-nominated television movies and series among which include Showtime's "The Killing Yard" starring Alan Alda and directed by Euzhan Palcy, "Just A Dream", Danny Glover's directorial debut, the Sundance Film Award winning "Our America", directed by Ernest Dickerson, "Fire and Ice" starring Kadem Hardisson for the BET Network, HBO's "America's Dream", starring Danny Glover and Wesley Snipes; the critically acclaimed Wonderful World of Disney telefilm, "Ruby Bridges", Masterpiece Theater's "Cora Unashamed" starring Regina Taylor and C.C.H. Pounder, "Brewster Place" starring Oprah Winfrey, a PBS documentary, "A. Phillip Randolph" and composer for the hit sitcom series, "The Steve Harvey Show."

Rushen's feature film composing credits include MEN IN BLACK, WAITING TO EXHALE, Sandra Bernhardt's WITHOUT YOU I'M NOTHING, and Robert Townsend's breakthrough, HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE.

As a producer, Rushen helmed Sheena Easton's "The Nearness of You" for the hit film INDECENT PROPOSAL that led to an album of jazz standards, No Strings, in 1993, which Rushen also produced and MCA released.

Considered one of the world's top jazz pianists, Rushen has performed with and produced for such esteemed artists as Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Prince, Lionell Hampton, Carlos Santana, Boys II Men, George Benson, Jean Luc Ponty, Tom Jones, Nancy Wilson, Michael Jackson, Dianne Reeves, Sheena Easton, Stanley Turentine, Joshua Redman and on and on. Rushen has played at the world's most prestigious jazz festivals.

She has performed with Philharmonic Orchestras and has even written an award-winning symphony. She has served as Composer in Residence with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for the 2000-2001 concert season. She has composed several symphonic works since 2000, each a commissioned assignment by a major orchestra and each given their World Premieres to rave reviews. Rushen has 14 solo albums to her credit and a greatest hits anthology released on Rhino Records in 1997. Rushen has recorded two albums with The Meeting, the world renowned jazz super-group, which includes Rushen, Ndugu Chancler and Ernie Watts.

Currently, her career focus is composing for films, television and orchestras. Patrice still enjoys performing and is often asked to make guest appearances at music festivals and on the recording projects of other artists. Rushen can be seen as the host of Clint Eastwood's Malpaso Productions, "40 Years of the Monterey Jazz Festival," which will air on cable and has been released on DVD. She will also be featured in an upcoming program on HGTV's "Houses of Note" special. Rushen spends whatever free time she has working closely with the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, NARAS's Grammy In The Schools program and other organizations dedicated to establishing music education and mentorship programs for inner-city youth.

Patrice Rushen's Gear