With over a decade of experience in the Entertainment field, Keia has made a name for herself as the multifaceted Artist that attacks each opportunity with gusto and her signature smile.
Keia was born in San Antonio, TX but grew up all over the world in a Military family. Keia listened to a wide range of artists. But it was the move to Memphis that helped her establish her sound and performance style. She has performed with some of the best talent Memphis has to offer, while also building relationships with notable national names like The Bar-Kays and David Porter of Stax Records.
In college, Keia was able to use her gift to secure scholarships and it was one competition in particular that began to shape her life. In 2003, Keia made history by being crowned only the third African-American Miss ASU (Arkansas State University). The same university that Miss America 1990 Debbye Turner attended and was crowned the first African-American Miss ASU. Keia went on to the Miss Arkansas Pageant where she was crowned Miss Congeniality, a name that stuck with her for years to come. She graduated with a degree in Communications emphasis Radio/Television Broadcasting and a minor in Political Science. But the arts kept calling her name.
Years later, it was American Idol that served as the true catalyst for Keia to recognize who she was as an Artist and what she wanted to do with her career. The talent competition led her to Hollywood where “Miss Congeniality” wowed the judges for two seasons. Her audition performance of Celine Dion’s vocally rigorous “My Heart Will Go On” prompted guest judge and musical role model Mary J. Blige to simply declare: “She can sing!” Keia later went on to compete on Season 4 of The Voice as well, but wasn’t chosen for a team. Her journey hasn’t been without its disappointments and de-railings. But she can’t stop singing.
So sing she has — for everyone from former President Bill Clinton and former Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton to Writer/Producer Tyler Perry, Singer Denise Williams and Author Eric Jerome Dickey. After jumping into the Independent film arena where her music was used on the soundtrack for the film Lesson Before Love (available on Hulu and at RedBox) Keia felt it was time to get back to the music. In June of 2011, Keia released her first solo effort, an EP, T.I.M.E., and followed up with serval music videos. In early 2013 Keia received an Emmy for her PSA for the Memphis Music Foundation featuring her original song “Movin’ On”. She has since recorded an album Facets (2014), an EP Back 2 Me (2019), Live: Keia Johnson & The Xperience (2020), Black (2020) and Wish I Could(2021).
In 2013, Keia got back to acting. She has since been cast locally in The Color Purple (ensemble, 2013), Once On This Island (TiMoune, 2014), Hoodoo Love (Toulou, 2015), Simply Simone (Nina, 2015), The Parchman Hour (2019), and The Night Watcher (2021). She was nominated for an Ostrander Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical for Simply Simone.
From 2016-2018, the world seemed to open up for Keia as she was selected for the legendary BB King Allstar band that traveled the world on Holland America Cruise lines singing Blues, Rock and Roll, Jazz, Classic R&B and Soul. Back at home in Memphis, she was awarded Actress of the Year award (2016) from the “Diversity on Stage & Film” committee as well as being featured in a new independent film Verge that showcased local indie Artists from Memphis, TN.
She is currently working at Stax Music Academy as the Lead Vocal Instructor for the academy, as well as Acting, writing, and touring several shows on the Mississippi River Steamboats.
About Candlelight Concerts
You've seen shows with us in art deco elegance and modern sophistication, but now we invite you to a new experience with the Orpheum Theatre Group — music under the stars.
To welcome some of Memphis' best talent, we've transformed the Front Street side of our campus into a candlelight concert venue. Scan your tickets and discover a stage surrounded by hundreds of candles, socially distanced seating, food trucks, and bars. Think of it as your own Orpheum outdoor lounge.
Add a spark to your evenings this spring and enjoy the cool downtown air and even cooler Memphis music at the Orpheum's first-ever series of Candlelight Concerts.
Physically Distanced Seating Note
All tickets are sold in pairs as general admission. If a patron violates physical distancing requirements, they will be asked to leave.
COVID-19 Procedures and Precautions
The safety of our patrons, performers, staff, and volunteers is our top priority. Under the guidance of the Shelby County Health Department, we have put important procedures and practices in place at our venues that will be enforced at this event. Please review these carefully at orpheum-memphis.com/covid19 before purchasing your tickets and arriving at the venue. Thank you for supporting the Orpheum Theatre Group and for helping to keep each other healthy and safe.