New Orleans’ Soul Vocalist showcases versatility, sensuality, and bravado.
Mississippi-born, Louisiana-raised singer-songwriter and soul artist Tonya Boyd-Cannon is no stranger to the music scene. The daughter of a preacher, she has been singing since she was a child. Although most of her musical training came by way of high school and middle school band directors, auditory and observation, Boyd-Cannon is a classically trained vocalist studying vocal performance in college. She says of her musical background, “I love to sing. Whether I’m singing jazz, funk, classical, rock, gospel, reggae or neo-soul, I perform like it’s my last time. I try to use all my gifts to my fullest potential.” She continues, “I believe I have grown so much as an artist. My songs are really about me sharing my love of music and my soul with other music lovers. I am extremely excited and dedicated to music and musicianship.” As an artist, Boyd-Cannon plays piano, organ, drums, and saxophone.
Boyd-Cannon got her professional start as a background vocalist for Jean Knight, best known for her 1970’s hit single, “Mr. Big Stuff”. Boyd-Cannon’s professional career also includes work as a music vocal coach, educator, creative arts teacher and minister of music. Additionally, Boyd-Cannon is credited with creating the first, combined male and female mass choir in the Orleans Parish Prison. She states, “In working with inmates I made it clear, ‘I’m not the judge and jury. I’m not here to convict you or condemn you. I’m here to help you and to revitalize you.’” Clearly, these words of inspiration are strongly reflected in her artistry as a performer, composer and writer.
Boyd-Cannon’s fairly rare contralto voice, almost identical to that of a countertenor, pushes the envelope with amazing musical arrangements and jazzy lyrical content. Her current single “No Approval” is the self-validating anthem for the new millennium. Boyd-Cannon states, “This is a song of self-validation! I lived my life for everybody else. I took their opinions over mine. The decisions that I made were theirs, not my own and now I’ve found myself. I loved myself. I approved of myself and put the stamp of approval as Tonya Boyd-Cannon.” Her international single “In New Orleans” captures the true heart of the city. The catchy chorus is in your head long after the song is over. Even if you have never visited New Orleans, Boyd-Cannon brings the personality of the city to life by using her sultry voice in every description.
Boyd-Cannon’s delivery is sharp yet inspirational; contemporary and authentic. Boyd-Cannon’s combination of sounds and instruments is a vocal kaleidoscope. She strategically blends creative vocals and instrumentation into a fusion of musical gumbo. In 2006, Boyd released her CD Rise My Child. The self-titled single is delivered with innocence and surrender. Boyd-Cannon shows her soulful vocal range, including fresh lyrics and robust harmonies.
In 2010, Boyd-Cannon was crowned the winner of “Budweiser’s: Battle for the Crown” contest. The win gave her the opportunity to open for R&B heavyweights: Anthony Hamilton, KEM & Jaheim. This achievement, also catapulted her to national prominence, with performances in showcases and festivals around the country. In 2011 and 2012, Boyd-Cannon performed in Alabama’s Bayfest, where she stopped the crowd in their tracks when she belted Journey’s ballad, “Lights.” In 2012, she performed with the Stooges Brass Band at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Essence Music Festival. Her appearance at Essence Fest led to an onstage performance with Grammy-Award winning rapper-songwriter, Eve. Boyd-Cannon has performed with Cassandra Wilson, Rhonda Richmond, Danny Glover, and many others.
Most recently, she returned home to New Orleans after ranking in the TOP 20 on NBC’s Emmy-Award winning show, “The Voice, where she was on “Adam Levine’s team. Not only did Tonya move the world with her voice, but she also wowed her coach, where he told others on her team to “Do what Tonya does!” Today, she continues to bring her distinctive style to the stage as she shares her musical quest. She states, “Music is a healer. It has allowed me to heal myself and bring vitality and happiness to others. I don’t care which genre it is. It can be the hardest metal rock to the most heart-wrenching ballad; with each lyrical and melodious piece, I will find a feeling of peace in the music.”
Boyd-Cannon incessantly states, “I love performing for and connecting with people, no matter where I am. I just sincerely hope my fans enjoy the music and the journey we are embarking on together.” She recently toured with international recording artist, "Zucchero" for the "Black Cat Tour" where she learned even more about her voice and how music speaks a common language; worldwide!
Today, Boyd-Cannon is the executive director for the "Rise My Child" Foundation. This foundation has programs for children, ranging from ages 3-18 years old. When Tonya is off stage, she directs the "New Orleans Citywide Youth Choir" and facilitates vocal music workshops worldwide.
“MUSIC is Life. Life is Love. You are Golden”
Tonya Boyd-Cannon's music is available in stores and on all streaming platforms.
For more information on the Rise My Child Foundation, visit www.risemychild.org