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Fields, Venetta (1941-Present)

She is a singer, actress and teacher born in Buffalo, New York, who began singing gospel at her local church and after taking inspiration from Aretha Franklin she ventured out into her musical career by became a co-founder of The Templaires.

She went on to join The Corinthian Gospel Singers and after seeing Ike & Tina Turner in 1961 she auditioned and became one of the Ikettes.  She left them in 1966 after Ike decided to move to Los Angeles, and with Robbie Montgomery and Jessie Smith who were other members of The Ikettes that left with her, they formed The Mirettes which would remain active until 1970.

Her name was quickly becoming known as a backing singer and suddenly she was being called upon to record and/or tour with artists that include Diana Ross, Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Humble Pie, The Supremes, The Rolling Stones, Bob Seger, Quincy Jones, Joe Cocker, Burt Bacharach, Bette Midler, Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Buffett and Neil Diamond among many others.

In 1971 she had formed another band, The Blackberries, who were just as active and they toured with the band Humble Pie.  Moving on again she became a member of The Oreos who appeared as the backing group for Barbra Streisand in her 1976 movie A Star is Born.  The late 1970s soon came and she was still as busy as ever, but while touring in Australia with Boz Scaggs she decided to remain there and work.  This would find her still in demand by Australian artists such as Richard Clapton, Jimmy Barnes and John Farnham and also with international artists that were touring there such as Randy Crawford, Thelma Houston, George Benson and Dionne Warwick.

Deciding to form her own group she was the founder of Venetta’s Taxi who she recorded a self-titled album with.  Other albums she has appeared on ar her own At Last and Exile on Main Street by The Rolling Stones, Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, Full Circle by The Doors, The Smoke You Drink, The Player You Get by Joe Walsh , In My Life by Neil Diamond , Aja, Can’t Buy a Thrill and Royal Scam by Steely Dan, History: America’s Greatest Hits by America, CSN by Crosby, Stills & Nash, Lace & Whiskey by Alice Cooper, Long Train Runnin’ by The Doobie Brothers, A Star is Born and Stoney End by Barbra Streisand, Stranger in Town by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, Anytime, Anywhere by Rita Coolidge , Brand New Day by Blood, Sweat & Tears, Eat It and Street Rats by Humble Pie, My Sportin’ Life by John Kay , King of the Blues by B.B. King, Volcano by Jimmy Buffett , Triumph by The Jacksons, Gold by Joe Cocker, The Best of Candi Staton, Allan Toussaint, Cass Elliott, the original soundtrack of Grease and many others.

Being recognised for her work in music she was honoured with the Australian Gospel Singer of the Year Award in 2002 and was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

As a teacher she coaches many students in voice and as a stage actress she has been seen in Buddy The Musical, The Racing Demon, The Crucible, Blues in the Night, Chess and her own Gospel Jubilee.

Here she is singing “Dancin’ in the Street”…