The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Scherrie Payne

Share on Social Media

Information about Scherrie Payne

Profile image of Scherrie Payne

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Motown Singer
Songwriter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Barbecue
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere Warm
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
11/4/1944
Birth Location:
Detroit, Michigan

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Motown Singer
Songwriter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Barbecue
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere Warm
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
11/4/1944
Birth Location:
Detroit
See how Scherrie Payne is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Singer and songwriter Scherrie Payne was born November 4, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan, to Frederick and Charcle Lee Payne. The younger sister of Freda Payne, Scherrie learned to sing and play the piano at an early age. Payne attended Crossman Elementary School, Hutchins Middle School, and graduated from Central High School in 1961. Payne earned her B.S. degree from Michigan State University in 1966.

Teaching at Grayling School of Observation, Payne was discovered by Eddie Holland of the Motown team of Holland, Dozier and Holland. In 1968, Payne and her sister Freda, already an established performer, signed contracts with Holland, Dozier and Holland’s new label, Invictus. Payne joined The Glass House, which consisted of herself, Pearl Jones, Larry Mitchell and Ty Hunter. Payne sang lead and contributed to the writing of “Hotel”, “The Fox”, “Horse and Rider”, “Heaven Is There To Guide Us”, “Let It Flow” and “Crumbs Off The Table,” the group’s biggest hit record. When The Glass House disbanded, Payne toured briefly with Charo’s Review before Lamont Dozier introduced her to Mary Wilson; Wilson then invited Payne to join the Supremes. Payne joined Wilson and Cindy Birdsong in the fall of 1973 and became known as “the little lady with the big voice” singing most of the leads. Payne was officially the last lead singer for the Supremes in 1977, when the group consisted of her, Susaye Greene, and Mary Wilson. The final Supremes album Mary, Scherrie & Susaye was released in late 1976; it boasted several club smashes, including "Let Yourself Go," "You're My Driving Wheel," "Love I Never Knew You Could Feel So Good," "I Don't Want To Be Tied Down,” and “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking”, which was their biggest hit. On June 12, 1977, in London, England, The Supremes performed their final performance. After the break up, Payne and Greene recorded 1979's Partners which focused on the writing and singing talents of both artists.

In 1982, Payne released her first solo hit, "I'm Not In Love.” The Altair Records recording featured Payne’s sister Freda, Mary Wilson, and Edmund Sylvers singing background. This success led to the recording of Payne’s 1984 single, "One Night Only" (from Dreamgirls) for Megatone Records. In 1986, Payne and the late Ronnie Phillips formed Former Ladies of the Supremes (FLOS), which at various times included Cindy Birdsong, Jean Terrell, Freddie Pool, Sundray Tucker and Lynda Laurence. In 2000, along with Lynda Laurence, Payne was a part of “Diana Ross’ Return to Love Tour”. Payne, who has also written two musicals and a number of screenplays and songs, has toured Europe and Asia extensively with the FLOS and performed on special occasions with her sister, Freda.

See how Scherrie Payne is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Scherrie Payne's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Scherrie Payne lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Scherrie Payne describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Scherrie Payne describes her mother's upbringing in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Scherrie Payne describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Scherrie Payne describes her father's upbringing in Asheville, North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Scherrie Payne relates how her father moved to Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Scherrie Payne describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Scherrie Payne describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Scherrie Payne describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Scherrie Payne describes her childhood personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Scherrie Payne describes her experiences at Detroit's Crosman Elementary School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Scherrie Payne describes her favorite childhood activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Scherrie Payne recalls the start of her sister, HistoryMaker Freda Payne's, music career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Scherrie Payne reflects on why she did not sing with her sister, HistoryMaker Freda Payne
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Scherrie Payne recalls her ambitions while at Detroit's Central High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Scherrie Payne recalls her experiences at Michigan State University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Scherrie Payne reflects on civil rights activism at Michigan State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Scherrie Payne recalls close friendships from Michigan State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Scherrie Payne describes her favorite teachers at Detroit's Central High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Scherrie Payne describes majoring in medical technology at Michigan State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Scherrie Payne describes her early awareness of The Supremes
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Scherrie Payne describes the beginning of her music career with the Glass House
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Scherrie Payne recalls touring with the Glass House
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Scherrie Payne describes singing backup for Charo
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Scherrie Payne describes joining The Supremes
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Scherrie Payne recalls The Supremes' tour to South Africa
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Scherrie Payne recalls performing in apartheid era South Africa
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Scherrie Payne recalls her career after The Supremes broke up
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Scherrie Payne describes performing with the Former Ladies of the Supremes
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Scherrie Payne recalls the Return to Love Tour in 2000
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Scherrie Payne describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Scherrie Payne reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Scherrie Payne reflects upon her legacy and describes her screenplays
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Scherrie Payne reflects upon her family life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Scherrie Payne describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Scherrie Payne narrates her photographs