Frenchie Davis joins the San Diego Women’s Chorus for an exclusive performance in San DiegoEntertainment Feature, Entertainment News, Section 4A Thursday, April 30th, 2015
“I want to live my life and create art that inspires people to be brave and courageous. To believe in themselves and never take no for an answer.”
— Frenchie Davis
There are a lot of people, and performers, who have looked in the face of adversity and said “Think what you wish, I’m going this way and I’m going to make it work!”
Frenchie Davis, best known for her recent stint on The Voice, Broadway’s Rent and a West Coast tour of Dreamgirls, is one of those performers.
Davis, will be here in San Diego performing at the Balboa Theatre May 17, for a fundraising concert event with the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation (SDHDF). The show entitled Broadway, Our Way, will feature Davis and The San Diego Women’s Chorus.
SDHDF is, according to their Web site, “the sole community foundation in our region dedicated to the benefit of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. We fund programs and projects that promote equal treatment, tolerance, wellness, well-being, and above all else, human dignity.”
The concert, Broadway, Our Way is a fundraising event benefiting the Lesbian Health Initiative of the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation and will be presenting songs from the stage that will take the audience through a journey of love, loss, trials and triumphs. Songs will include both contemporary and classic stage productions, including Funny Girl, Into the Woods, and Wicked. The program promises to give “a fresh twist on the typical Broadway-themed revue, with exciting and beautiful vocal harmonies you don’t get from solo performances.”
“Broadway, Our Way will be a tremendous event to remember,” said SDHDF Executive Director John Brown. “The wonderfully talented San Diego Women’s Chorus teamed with the one and only Frenchie Davis promises to deliver a diverse and delightful show that all will enjoy.”
As for Davis, her style of music and theatrical background is a perfect match for the evening. She started singing when she was just a child.
“I grew up in Los Angeles,” Davis said. “[I was] the oldest of six kids; a daddy’s girl. I have been singing for my whole life but I never considered doing it for a living until I got to college. I got a lead in the school play my freshman year and by the end of its run, I had changed my major to theater.”
Davis was inspired by many of this century’s greatest singers including the amazing Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Aretha Franklin and, yes, Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the group Queen. She was also inspired by many of her family members.
“Well we are all music lovers,” Davis exclaimed. “My mom sings a little. And my paternal grandfather played sax.”
With a voice like Davis’ and an outward appearance of unwavering confidence, it’s easy to assume that Davis has always had an easy road, but that hasn’t been the case. One of the things she has struggled with all her life is body issues.
“I think all women have struggled with body issues,” Davis confided. “I think it’s important to not allow other people’s definitions of beauty define how you see yourself.”
Davis went on to explain that she feels that being healthy is really the most important thing.
“It’s important to keep in mind that the most important thing is health above all else,” Davis added. “If the conversation we are having in this country about weight isn’t a conversation about health, we are wasting time because let’s be honest, there are plenty of skinny people with horrible eating habits who don’t exercise and they will age horribly. There’s no gym for ugly so love yourself. Be good to yourself and don’t waste time worrying about other people’s opinions of you.”
While much of Davis’ career has been on stage she did record a single back in September 2012 entitled “Love’s Got A Hold On Me” which reached No. 12 on the Billboard Dance Chart. There was also a rumor that the song was part of an album called Just Frenchie, but Davis is quick to clarify.
“I actually only recorded the single,” Davis explained. “I am just finishing the album this month.”
Another of the singer’s inspirations is the late Phyllis Hyman. The songstress was in the original Broadway cast of Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies and had moderate success with a few singles like “Old Friend” and “Don’t Wanna Change The World” but in the summer of 1995 the singer committed suicide. She was only 45.
“I love Phyllis Hyman,” Davis said. “I know “Old Friend” and I love her rendition of “It Don’t Mean A Thing” from Sophisticated Ladies on Broadway. As far as a [Hyman] tribute album is concerned, hmmm, I don’t know. Who knows what the future holds.”
There is no doubt that Davis prefers and loves being on the stage. Broadway beckoned to her back in 2003 when she appeared in the smash hit Rent singing one of the shows most popular songs “Seasons Of Love”. She left the show to play the part of Effie in a West Coast tour of Dreamgirls, but then returned to Broadway, and Rent, finishing that run in 2007 that coincided with Rent’s 10-year anniversary podcast.
Many hardcore Frenchie Davis fans would love to see her return to the Broadway stage, and when asked, Ms. Davis’ answer is resoundingly clear.
“There is always the possibility of another Broadway show,” Davis said. “I love the stage!”
Davis isn’t divulging just what she’ll be singing at the SDHDF concert, she simply says it’ll be “a concert of Broadway standards with the San Diego Women’s Chorus at the Balboa Theater.” Which can mean plenty of things. If anyone has caught her Frenchie and Kat Show, which has been called a “musical orgy” then you know you’re in for an evening of great music.
As for the Frenchie and Kat show, Davis makes it known that she’d love the chance to do it out here in San Diego.
“I would love to do our set here in San Diego,” Davis exclaimed. “People would love it. They’d laugh hysterically and hear some good sangin’.”
Tickets to Broadway, Our Way Sunday, May 17 at 7 p.m. are on sale now to the general public via Ticketmaster and the Balboa Theatre box office, 619-570-1100. Ticket prices range from $25 – $105. Balboa Theatre, Fourth Avenue and E Street in San Diego. For more information visit:
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