Monday, July 28, 2014

Nellie "Tiger" Travis - Interview

I had the honor of interviewing Nellie “Tiger” where she was the headliner at the Lamont’s Entertainment Complex in Pomonkey, Maryland, and put on a fantastic show.   The crowd loved her and she is a performer that you've got to see when she comes to your city!  I found her to be a very down-to-earth sister who always remembers where she comes from.  Born and raised in Mound Bayou, Mississippi (which is also the home of one of my classmates and also O.B. Buchana), she was brought up in a religious background and believes in doing the right thing.  

In talking to successful people, I’m often interested in how they grew up and wonder what they were like as kids.  When I asked her how it was growing up in the small town of Mound Bayou, she said it was wonderful and that she wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I asked how she was as a little girl and she laughed and said that she sang all of the time – both in church and in school.  I wondered if she participated in talent shows and she smiled and remembered that she was always on the stage, always on a talent show.  Her main competition was a girl named Gail Glover - isn't it interesting what you remember from your youth!

I asked Nellie if anyone else in her family was musically inclined.  She said that a lot of them were.  She had plenty of relatives, including uncles and cousins, who also sang.  Her grandmother, who was a minister, raised her and sang, too.

I think everyone has an “ah ha moment” when you sort of have an epiphany about what you are meant to do in life and, in Nellie’s case, I asked her when she realized that she was meant to sing professionally.   She said that she has been singing all the time.  She lived in LA for a while but realized that it wasn’t the place for her.  Her experiences there just made her want to perform even more.  When she moved to Chicago in 1992, she felt so right there and felt that it was the place for her.  If you look on her site (, you’ll see that Chicago is her home base and she performs regularly there.

“Mr. Sexy Man” is one of the hottest records on the air and stayed number one on the southern soul charts for months.  It is still performed on radio stations all over.  I asked her how it felt and she said that it was awesome!!  She said that it felt great and she enjoys making people happy with her music.

She talked about Tyler Perry who gave her a fabulous shoutout as Madea on the Steve Harvey radio show.  Tyler said that he’s been working with Nellie “Tiger” Travis and that she had a song called “Mr. Sexy Man.”  He then started singing some of the lyrics…hey, Mr. Sexy Man, what ‘cho name is??  He said that he loves that song.  Listen to Tyler Perry, especially around the 14:00 mark:

We talked about the thing that inspires her and she said that it is performing.  Nellie has a great respect for people and that they make her happy when she gets up on the stage.

Towards the end of our talk, I asked Nellie what she wants her fans to know about her.  She said that she wants us to know that she loves them and that they are the ones who keep her going.  She wants us to know that she was raised the right way and that she loves everyone, even her enemies.  We talked about how adversity sometimes makes you stronger and she said that her love for making people outweighs everything.

Here is the lineup of songs that Nellie “Tiger” Travis performed in the park.  I have to tell you, she paused for a moment and sang Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”  a cappella and her voice is amazing!  In my opinion, the true test of finding out whether or not an artist can sing is how he sounds without the music, synthesizers, and everything else.  If you don’t believe me, go to a show and listen to your favorite artist sing without the music…. This girl can SING!  This is what she sang that afternoon:

Who’s Fooling Me
Slap Yo’ Weave Off
I Ain’t No Super Woman
If I Back It Up
I Will Always Love You
You Gonna Make Me Cheat
Mr. Sexy Man

I want to thank Stacy Brooks, a very classy lady and performer, and a very special thank you to the wonderful Dr. Nick (of WPFW and Spice Internet Radio) who made this possible!!

Thank you Nellie for a wonderful interview!!!  She was so comfortable to talk to and I felt as if I was sitting down talking to someone I’ve known for years. 
Southern Soul Paradise