Baseball announcers often talk about a player having “sneaky power,” meaning that the batter has more strength and impact than at first it might seem. And that is analogous to the story of Patrice Rushen, a complete musician who has quietly created a career that has won for her millions of fans and the full admiration of her musical peers. Today we wish a very happy 65th birthday to her.
A child musical prodigy, Patrice was an award winner at the Monterey Jazz Festival while still a teenager, and graduated from the University of Southern California with a reputation as a star on the rise.
In the late 1970s, Patrice signed with Elektra Records and issued a series of albums that smartly straddled the line between soul and jazz, delivering such tasty jams as “Feels So Real” and “Haven’t You Heard,” as well as her signature smash, “Forget Me Nots.” But those albums went deep with great cuts, winning for her a sizeable, loyal following that continues to this day. She has recorded 14 albums in all.
Patrice also paved new trails as a conductor, serving a musical director for both the Grammy and Emmy Awards – the first woman to do so. She also served in that capacity for the People’s Choice Awards and the CBS show, The Midnight Hour, and, of course, for the world tour of the great Janet Jackson.
Patrice’s songs have been sampled countless times, including by Kirk Franklin, who sampled “Forget Me Nots” in his recording “Looking For You,” which became the top Gospel song of 2007. She continues to record with and produce other artists, and has spent much of the past two decades scoring music for movies and television. She also serves as a faculty member at the noted Berklee School of Music.