11-18-2017  7:56 am      •     
MLK Breakfast
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SEI, Sunshine Division Offer Thanksgiving Meals to Families in Need

Turkeys are being provided to fill 200 Thanksgiving food boxes for SEI families ...

NAACP Portland Monthly Meeting Nov. 18

Monthly general membership meeting takes place on Saturday, 12 - 2 p.m. ...

Multnomah County Animal Services Waives Adoption Fees Nov. 17

Special runs from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday ...

Fitzpatrick Presents 'Pathway 1000' Plan Before City Council

Plan would restore involuntary displacement by building 80 homes per year ...

Sisters Network to Hold Monthly Meeting Nov. 11

Meeting to take place Saturday morning at June Key Delta Center ...



Local Author Visits North Portland Library

Renee Watson teaches students and educators about the power of writing ...

Is the FBI’s New Focus on “Black Identity Extremists” the New COINTELPRO?

Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.) talks about the FBI’s misguided report on “Black Identity Extremism” and negative Facebook ads. ...

ACA Enrollment Surging, Even Though It Ends Dec. 15

NNPA contributing writer Cash Michaels writes about enrollment efforts ...

Blacks Often Pay Higher Fees for Car Purchases than Whites

Charlene Crowell explains why Black consumers often pay higher fees than White consumers, because of “add-on” products. ...



Tamara Stephens
By Helen Silvis | The Skanner News

PHOTO: Tamara Stephens entertained publishers at the National Newspaper Publishers Association Convention in Portland this June.

Tamara Stephens has been singing since she was four-years old. She started off singing gospel in church, and at age 8 was discovered by Linda Hornbuckle.

"She'd bring me along to shows or festivals and let me have the stage," Stephens told The Skanner News. "That built my confidence. Linda is a mentor of mine; she's  a sweetheart. I absolutely love Linda."

Stephens stopped singing for a while during her self-conscious teen years, but started again about three years ago, she said, this time with a focus on R&B and soul. And true to form, she went straight to the top.

"I hit the stage with my ex-husband Errick Lewis at Jimmy Mak's," she says. "We did a song called "There" that we wrote together. And since then I've never stopped performing. I've even been on stage in LA."

As well as beloved local musicians such as Hornbuckle and piano genius Janice Scroggins, who recently passed away, Stephens has been influenced by the likes of LaRhonda Steele-- "a huge influence," -- Lalah Hathaway,  Brandi and Roberta Flack. And of course Liv Warfield.

"Everyone is looking up to her now," Stephens says. "She has really put Portland on the map."

Stephens also loves older groups like The Temptations, Al Green and Luther Vandross.

"My parents wouldn't let us listen to a lot of secular music, but they grew up with those groups and they let us listen to them," she says.  "So now I really love that music."

The hip hop revolution didn't totally pass Stephens by, however. She says her guilty pleasure is "hard-core rap,"  so she has to turn down the volume on the x-rated lyrics when her kids are around. And she's excited about an upcoming  visit to Seattle to see Jay Z and Beyonce in concert.

A student at Warner Pacific University, where she is studying Human Development, Stephens says she has considered becoming a therapist because she is fascinated with how people think and why we do the things we do. But her current day job is as a contract specialist with an insurance company. And as the mother of a four-year-old she has her hands full.

But now she's found her way back on stage, she says she's ready for whatever success comes her way --even if that someday means moving to a bigger city.

Meanwhile she's recording an album with her band The Tamara Stephens Experience, scheduled to be released next Spring.

"I'm very critical of my own work. I have to play stuff over and over and make sure it's right before I can let the world hear  it."

Hear Tamara Stephens  perform in person:

 August 9 with Eldon T. Jones: 7 p.m. at The Star Theater 12 NW 6th Ave., Portland

August 30 with Saeeda Wright, Ronnie Wright and Kimberly Monique: 8 pm at Jimmy Maks 221 NW 10th Ave., Portland .

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