Multi-Grammy nominated artist, Patrice Rushen, is fashioning her career after the legacy of her long-time friend and mentor, Quincy Jones.
Composer…Producer…International Recording Artist…Rushen has definitely earned the respect she has been awarded by her peers in the music industry. Admired by many for her groundbreaking achievements, Rushen has amassed an
impressive list of “firsts”. She was the first woman to serve as Musical Director for the 46th, 47th & 48th Annual Grammy Awards, the first woman in 43 years to serve as Head Composer/Musical Director for television’s highest honour, the Emmy Awards and the first woman Musical Director of the NAACP Image Awards, an honor she held for 12 consecutive years.
Rushen has also been the only woman Musical Director/Composer for the Peoples Choice Awards and HBO’s Comic Relief. She was the only woman Musical Director/Conductor/Arranger for a late-night television talk show. The show was The Midnight Hour, which aired on CBS. In addition, Rushen was named the Musical Director/Composer for Newsweek’s first American Achievement Awards, broadcast from the Kennedy Center and she served as the Musical
Director for Janet Jackson’s World Tour, “janet.” As the Musical Director for the award shows, she 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. Rushen was named Composer in Residence during the August 2004 sessions at the Henry Mancini Institute.
A classically trained pianist, Rushen has spent a lifetime honing the skills that make her one of the music industry’s most versatile and sought after artists. In 1998, she was again honoured by the music industry when her adult contemporary CD, “Signature”, received a Grammy nomination. The CD also received an NAACP Image Award nomination and also 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 combines melodic accessibility with instrumental prowess. This not only became her signature style but also has continued to be a mainstay of popular radio.
Rushen receives some 30 requests weekly to use her music for samples, especially for rap albums. A few of the artists that have requested her music include Kirk Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Zhane, George Michael, Shabba Ranks and Heavy D. Many more performers have scored their own hits using samples from Patrice’s songs. In 2007, Kirk Franklin had an award-winning hit with “Looking For You,” which is a gospel version of her hit song “Haven’t You Heard.” Most notably is the smash hit “Men in Black”, which Will Smith recorded for the movie of the same name. The song was sampled from her 1982 Grammy-nominated recording, “Forget Me Nots”
ASCAP honoured her publishing company for the song “Men in Black,” as the 1997 ASCAP Most Performed Song from a
Motion Picture. George Michael also had a dance-hit version of “Forget Me Nots” with “Fast Love”, which also sampled that song and featured Rushen’s original vocal tracks. ASCAP presented her with the songwriter’s award for 2007 ASCAP Top Gospel Song, “Looking For You” based on the recording by Kirk Franklin.