Jennifer Holliday, Keynote Speaker and Performer
After more than two decades since she starred in the hit Broadway musical “Dreamgirls,” JENNIFER HOLLIDAY whose heart wrenching rendition of the show stopping torch- song ballad, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” is a woman with a voice that has evolved into what is arguably one of the greatest female voices of the rhythm and blues of the 20th century. She is a vocal powerhouse whose hardy, passionate, throaty and soulful voice touches hearts and leaves her audience flooded with emotions running deep and their spirits soaring high.
Holliday, a two-time Grammy Award winner, has recorded five chart-making CD’s for Arista, Geffen and Intersound Records. She also has several chart-topping singles. Her signature spine-tingling hit song “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” charted at 1 on the R&B charts and was top 40 Pop charter as well. Holliday won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance and she was awarded a second Grammy for Best Inspirational Vocal Performance for her soul-stirring rendition of Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday,” a tribute to the great gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. “The Best of JENNIFER HOLLIDAY: Millennium Collection” on Universal Records is her most recent release.
She has recorded with such artists as Barbara Streisand, Foreigner, Qunicy Jones, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Michael McDonald, Maurice White, Peabo Bryson, Lorretta Lynn, the Cincinnati Pops Symphony and many CD compilations featured with other artist, including soundtracks for “The Five Heartbeats,” “The Woo-Woo Kid,” “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka,” “In The Mood” and “The Rising Place.”
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Jennifer went straight from the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Choir to the bright lights on Broadway. She was discovered singing in the choir by a dancer, Jaimie Patterson, who himself was performing in Houston in the musical “A Chorus Line.” Jennifer made her Broadway debut in the musical “Your Arms Too Short To Box With God” which Patterson arranged an audition for her with Vinnette Carroll, who conceived and directed the musical. While performing on Broadway in ”Box With God,”
Jennifer captured the attention of the famous Broadway director-choreographer, Michael Bennett (A Chorus Line). Bennett cast Jennifer in the starring role of Effie “Melody” White in his production of “Dreamgirls,” which garnered Jennifer a Tony Award for best Actress In A Musical. Her other Broadway musical credits include Chicago, Grease, “Down-Hearted Blues: the Story of Bessie Smith,” “Sing Mahalia, Sing: the Story of Mahalia Jackson” and Harlem Suite.
Holliday, a versatile performer, has made several guest appearances as an actor on prime-time television. She is most highly known for her recurring role on “Ally McBeal,” the popular hit Fox TV show. Jennifer portrayed the character of Lisa Knowles, the outspoken church choir director and lead soloist at Ally McBeal’s favorite church. Her other television appearances include “Touched By An Angel,” Ellen, Hang Time and The Love Boat. Jennifer also made her motion-picture debut as both an actor and a songwriter for the independent film “The Rising Place,” which had a successful limited release and is now available on DVD. She wrote five songs for the movie, including the theme song, “You’ve Got To Rise Up.” Jennifer also delivered spectacular performances for three PBS Television Specials on DVD- “A Fourth of July
Celebration: Live with the Boston Pops Symphony.” “My Favorite Broadway: the Leading Ladies Live From Carnegie Hall” and “The Singer and the Song: Live From the White House.”
Miss Holliday received an honorary Doctorate of Music from the Berkley College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She is also a fervent advocate of Mental Health Issues and speaks often for Depression Awareness and Erasing the Stigma of Depression, as well as Suicide Prevention for Youth and she offers hope Through Song and Testimony to those suffering with Depression and support to those who have loved ones or have lost loved ones to Depression.
Jennifer Holliday is a legend of the musical theatre and a veteran of soul music. Jennifer’s ardent fans have remained faithful to her for more then two decades since her first performance in “Dreamgirls.” Jennifer is a “Singer’s Singer.” She’s an exciting performer who delivers her songs with great passion. She’s a vocal power-house who chews on every lyric, infusing them with emotional statements. Whether she’s singing at the White House, the Pops Symphony, the Broadway Stage, a Baptist Church or just an Evening of Love Songs and Classic Jazz Standards, JENNIFER HOLLIDAY continues to inspire a whole new generation of admirers of all ages. Her Voice, Her Song, Her Story and Her Spirit are “a True Gift from God” to music lovers all over the world!