By Patte Purcell

The level of talent in the desert continues to amaze me. I heard about Keisha D through Karl Erikson and I asked her to perform in the Celebrity Jazz Jam and I have to admit I was blown away.

Her rendition of “Summertime,” started acapella and as she told me: “When the drummer asked when they should begin, I said, ‘I’ll let you know.’” She proceeded to set the show on fire with her version reminiscent of her idols, Ella Fitzgerald or Etta James.

Keisha started singing as a small child and by her early teens, she was singing in the church and touring the country with the gospel group Hilltop Faith. At 16 she started sneaking into the clubs in Los Angeles to listen to jazz. Of course she was under age and so she had to have a little help which she got from some of her older friends who also happened to be in the gospel group bands. They said she could come in to sing as long as there was no drinking or smoking. Keisha’s love of jazz compelled her to break the rules. Eventually, her parents discovered what was going on when one of their friends saw her performing and the gig was up.

With her parents’ blessing, she continued to sing in clubs and in church. Whether it was with a live band or accompaniment tracks, she was happy just to be singing.

She was awarded a full scholarship to Azusa Pacific University where she studied classical music. She finished school and then life took over. When she had children, Keisha continued to tour with them to jazz festivals and fairs. She received another partial scholarship in musical theatre from the California Baptist University.

She moved to Palm Springs and in 2008, performed in “Open Call” at the McCallum Theatre. Keisha was immediately flooded with offers when she won ‘Best Vocals’.

The Bella da Ball variety show highlights Keisha’s talent in a weekly cabaret show that gives her the opportunity to glam it up and dance. Invitations to perform at civic events such as the Palm Springs 75th Anniversary, Tour de Palm Springs, Palm Springs Pride Weekend, and private events keep her busy throughout the year.

She performed at the Palm Canyon Theatre including “Tommy,” where she played the Acid Queen, and in “Cinderella” as the Fairy Godmother, and in “Xanadu” as Melpomene.

Keisha loves the desert and has truly found her home. Whether it’s working with her core band or tracks she enjoys her craft. She also has created her own shows and just completed “At Home with Keisha D,” where she entertained 160 guests. Her next appearance is a fundraiser for the Yucca Valley High School Music Department on Sept. 10. She’s been a mentor in the school system and was given the Shiny Apple Award from the Palm Springs Unified School District for 6 years. She works with high school jazz students and also assists with choreography for the dance team. She even played the part of Motor Mouth Maybell in the school’s production of “Hairspray.”

Keisha has one CD of standards called “Classic Keisha D.” She reminisced about her time on tour with gospel music and how incredible it was to sing for thousands of people.

Keisha loves the desert and the desert loves Keisha D. She currently performs at least three times a year with the Desert Winds Freedom Band. She stays very busy doing private events and performs at Wang’s ‘The Venue.’ You can reach Keisha D at keishadsings@yahoo.com or you can find her on Facebook at Keisha D Sings.

For now you can catch her show at Wangs or every third Thursday of the month at Bella da Balls Lipstick Show at the Copa– Show time at 8:00 pm.

She will also be one of our special guests at Celebrity Jam Fest at Woodhaven Country Club on Wednesday Oct. 5 from 6-9. A VIP Artist Appreciation Party will be held from 5-6 with wine, liquor, and food tastings which will give guests a chance to schmooze with their favorite artists. Keisha will be performing “Skyfall.”

I can’t wait to hear her perform again.

For tickets contact www.purplepass.com/celebrityjamfest or call 1-800-316-8559.

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