"I have been an artist all my life. When I was little, I sang with every TV commercial. I was in the Sunshine Band (little kids choir in the Baptist church), school choir, violinist in the orchestra up until high school. My dad was a trumpet player. He once played with Bessie Smith. In our apartment, he played the recordings of Sarah Vaughn and Billy Eckstein. My mom played the Kingston Trio, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Wilson, Dionne Warwick and Mario Lanza. In my Cleveland, Ohio 1960s neighborhood, people blasted their console stereos with Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Temptations, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Jackson Five. My friends and I made up dance moves and I was sometimes the lead singer. In my teen years, I lost my soul to teen trafficking, addiction, self-hatred. It has been a journey becoming myself—a university professor, an advocate, author, artist, singer-songwriter. It took all of that to find my purpose. I see Maya Angelou as a huge source of inspiration. I love who I am becoming. I love my voice. I use my songs, performance, and writing for advocacy, education, and healing. I love life and I wouldn’t take nothin’ for my journey now!"
—Elaine Richardson Ph.D., singer/songwriter and author