Part of a musical royal family, Vaneese Thomas spent her childhood on the vanguard of Black southern musical culture in Memphis, Tennessee. Her father is Rufus Thomas, whose career spanned half a century in R & B recording and radio, and her sister is the chart-topping “Memphis Queen” Carla Thomas. Vaneese lived and breathed the rhythms of Memphis. Steeped not only in the music but in its history, she is an authentic link to the early years of soul and rhythm-and-blues. Her latest CD, Soul Sister Vol. One, is a tour through two decades of seminal soul and a tribute to the original soul sisters who helped shape it. Vaneese has sung with major artists from Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson and Sting to Luciano Pavarotti. She has developed educational programs for: the University of Memphis; Bergen and Essex Community Colleges, NJ; Greenwich YMCA, CT; and other schools and organizations.
Vaneese is committed to preserving and passing on the musical traditions she inherited. Her programs recognize the societal significance of soul and rhythm-and-blues, and place the music’s origins and growth within a historical context.