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Cynthia Allen up and close with
“NELLIE TIGER TRAVIS”

C. Allen: Let me start this interview by saying I’m a huge fan and it’s truly an honor and privilege to be speaking with an international legendary female artist and songwriter that I admire and respect. You have many hit songs like “Slap Yo Weave Off”; “Mr. Sexy Man” and “Can I Back It Up” you’ve had such a remarkable career thank you for allowing Jamsource Runway Magazine this wonderful opportunity. Tell your fans a little bit about yourself and how you got started singing.

Nellie: The pleasure is all mine I’m thankful for this opportunity, I was born and raised by my grandmother who as an evangelist in Mound Bayou, Mississippi like most artists I started singing in the church gospel at an early age. In my teens I participated in beauty pageants, and was homecoming queen when I graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 1979. During mid 1980's I sung lead for the Mississippi based group "SSIPP", opening for acts from Dionne Warwick to Ray Charles. I’m also an accomplished actress and has performed in the plays "The Lust Of A Man" and "I was There When The Blues Was Red Hot".

C. Allen: You have a very powerful voice and irresistible stage charisma when and what prompted you to want to be a singer? Also, how did you get the nickname “Tiger”?

 



Nellie: I think I was destined because my grandmother was a minister and other family members consisted of singers and musicians. I began singing in church services when I was five years old, I considered a career in acting but my love of music won out. The nickname “Tiger” was given to me by a cousin because she said it described my intense, feline vocal style as well as my feisty and independent personality.

C. Allen: How do you balance your family life and professional career having to be constantly on the road traveling to perform shows?

Nellie: Well for starters I’m not married so I don’t have to answer to anyone and I have three grown sons ages 39, 38 and 24 so they can take care of themselves.

C. Allen: Where are some of the places and who are some of your favorite artists that have inspired you, and that you’ve had the pleasure of touring and performing with?

Nellie: Some of my influences are powerful performers like Tina Turner, Glady Knight, Etta James and KoKo Taylor who was my mentor also I’ve shared the stage with such legendary artists as B.B. King; Buddy Guy, and Bobby Rush. I’ve traveled international performing festivals and clubs around the world places in such as Switzerland, Japan, Greece, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Texas, Mississippi, New York, California, Indiana, Tennessee, Chicago, Michigan and Wisconsin.

C. Allen: What do you consider your greatest musical accomplishment?

Nellie: I’ve been very fortunate and blessed throughout my career I was honored at the 2019 Zydeco Blues Trail Riders Awards and have won numerous awards and received many nominations. In November 2009 I was crowned the “New Queen of The Blues” for Chicago but the ultimate and highlight of my career was in 2017 when I was invited to perform my song “Slap Yo’ Weave Off,” backed by the Roots on the Tonight show hosted Jimmy Fallon on the NBC TV Network.

C. Allen: What do you think are some of the pros and cons of the Southern Soul music industry and do you think it’s changed for the better or worse for artists?

Nellie: I feel some of the pros and cons are that the music business is a male dominated industry therefore I feel female artists does not receive equal pay as some of the male artists. Another problem is that Southern Soul music don’t get enough air play or put into rotation on main stream radio stations, because the industry does not feel that there is a big demand. I feel that’s not true because if our music was given equal amount of air time as the R&B, Pop, Country and Contemporary artists a lot more people would get to know who the artists are and there would be a greater demand. Also, I feel social media has helped because it provides a huge platform for artists to gain massive exposure that they would not ordinarily receive and for the better because more artists are choosing to be independent which allows them to be in more control of their music.

C. Allen: How has the COVID 19 Virus pandemic affected your life and career?

Nellie: It has a financial affect because shows had to be postponed or canceled and rescheduled indefinitely therefore no income coming in and there is still no cure and certainty as to when things will resume back to normal. It’s very frightening because as a performer I come in close contact with a lot of people so from now on extreme precautions will have to be made to ensure my safety as well as others.

C. Allen: What’s the most important things you want people to know about you as an artist?

Nellie: I take my career serious; I give and demand respect; I will always give my fans my very best performance and quality music!! I’d like to thank all the fans, promotors, DJ’s, radio stations and everyone that have supported and believed in Nellie Tiger Travis!!!

C. Allen: I’ve enjoyed this time talking with you, thanks again for allowing Jamsource Runway Magazine and your fans this opportunity to get to know you a little better!!

Nellie: My pleasure and thank you!!


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