Aretha Franklin. Betty Wright. Ann Peebles. Just a few of the trailblazers who paved the way for not just women in soul but in every genre of music. Their acrobatic vocal stylings and gut wrenching delivery were only bested by those meaningful lyrics—cries for RESPECT or lamenting on how the rain reminds us of those things we wish to forget. These amazing women weaved stories of the beauty—as well as the pain—of womanhood.
Fast forward a few decades, a new resurgence of soul began to spring up globally and Memphis is, once again, a guiding light. The Women of Soul concert is a showcase of the talent that has kept our soulful tradition alive, carrying its torch, and using its fire to ignite new sounds, new legacies. Open your hearts and ears to the new sounds of Memphis Soul in the second installment of the Women of Soul Concert Series as we present Stefanie Bolton, Keia Johnson, Tonya Dyson, and Rolynné.
About Stefanie Bolton
Stefanie Bolton (from Memphis, Tennessee) is an R&B\jazz singer and songwriter that released her debut album in the 90s. She has performed as a background singer and worked as a songwriter, working with artists such as Angie Stone, Howard Hewett, TLC, Lenny Kravitz, OutKast, Luther Vandross, Lyfe Jennings, Angela Bofill, Anthony Hamilton, Goodie Mob and Marvin Sapp. In 1996, Stefanie released her debut album “Stefanie” on Bellmark Records. It’s unknown how or if the album made the charts.
Two singles were released from the album “Wrap My’celf Around You” and “Why”, but it’s unknown if either of them made any music charts at all. Then, Stefanie has continued to stay active with her music career and currently works as a singer for Edwin Hawkins along with being a cruise entertainer for the Holland American Cruise Line. Most recently, she released a single called “Cling to Me.”
About Tonya Dyson
Memphis is a city known for its deeply spiritual connection to the history of soul music. After all, this is the city where Stax/Volt Records was born and flourished, the home of dozens of highly respected soul music impresarios and a bevy of gospel singers who have charmed audiences around the world for decades. How pleasing, then, to find a new generation of soul music coming to life here in the bluff city in the guise of Tonya Dyson.
Tonya Dyson is taking steps towards completing their debut album appropriately title “Finding My Way”, and the current results are a powerhouse of gospel-influenced soul stirrings that are reminiscent of the best songs of people like Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan and Mary J. Blige. Tonya is the real deal in the revival movement and the new soul underground seamlessly blending gospel, jazz, and R&B into a promising attempt to reboot Memphis' soul legacy.
About Keia Johnson
Keia Johnson’s musical background has included American Idol (2 seasons), The Voice (Season 4) and other prestigious opportunities. 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). It prompted her to release her first solo effort, an EP; T.I.M.E. followed by 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 several singles and albums Facets (2014), an EP Back 2 Me (2019), and Live: Keia Johnson & The Xperience EP (2020).
In 2013, Keia got into acting in Memphis, TN. 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) and “The Parchman Hour” (2019). She was nominated for an Ostrander Award for best Lead Actress in a Musical for Simply Simone. From 2016-2018, she toured with the legendary BB King Allstar band that travelled the world on Holland America Cruise lines singing Blues, Rock and Roll, Jazz, Classic R&B and Soul. In 2020, Keia was commissioned to play Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill in Milan, Italy and has been nominated for an International award for her performance. She is the Owner of KJ Management, an Entertainment Agency which includes Coaching, Teaching (Lead Vocal Instructor at Stax Music Academy), Production, Event Planning and Acting.
Singer/Songwriter Rolynné is a Nashville-based artist who serves an eclectic blend of R&B, Jazz, Folk, and Soul. Hailing from Memphis, TN, an early immersion in music molded Rolynné’s timeless and unique sound. In 2009, Rolynné relocated to Atlanta, GA. After graduating from college, Rolynné began her journey as a supporting vocalist for Musiq Soulchild. As a background vocalist, Rolynné has supported a host of artists, including Tyrese, John Legend, Common, and Megan Thee Stallion. Rolynné recently lent her vocals to multiple songs on Big Krit’s 4Eva is A Mighty Long Time and K.R.I.T. Iz Here LPs. As a solo artist, she has opened for Bj the Chicago Kid, Samoht, Kandace Springs, Chantae Cann, and Kenyon Dixon. Rolynné’s vocal stylings have been praised in publications such as Fader, Soulbounce, XXL, Okayplayer, and Pitchfork. Rolynné’s debut EP Damaged Goods is now available on all major platforms.