Terisa Griffin, known as “The Empress of Soul,” is an exciting entertainer, songwriter, actress, producer and philanthropist. She is the daughter of a Baptist minister and the second of four singing girls. Her passions for family, music and giving back controls her life. Terisa never disappoints or ceases to amaze her audience. Simply unbelievable!!
After tossing a coin on a map, Terisa headed for Chicago and landed national exposure singing backup for Diana Ross on an "Oprah" telecast. Ms. Ross pulled her out of the background to sing her anthem "Love Conquers All," a gesture that moved Terisa to tears ... but only after she wore the audience out with her performance.
Audiences in her adopted home of Chicago, as well as the city's lucrative, behind-the-scenes jingle industry, are already in a passionate love affair with the gifts she has to offer. She sells out local nightspots and various cities around the country. With her one-of-a kind show, Griffin has warmed up (make that heats up) concerts for the biggest names in the music industry (from Will Downing, Chrisette Michelle, The OJAYS, Roberta Flack, Patti LaBelle, Rahsaan Patterson and Musiq Soulchild, just to name a few), and is a first call for powerful players such as Congressman Jesse Jackson. Terisa Griffin is poised – like a gathering hurricane – at the cusp of major breakout stardom.
Terisa attended Northeast Louisiana University on a vocal scholarship. While there she became fascinated with chamber music and jazz, and was a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. Terisa began to write her first songs by writing poems in a journal about love and life. It was also in college that Terisa discovered some other music – R&B and rock ’N’ roll. "I've always loved male artists," Terisa says. "...[T]he rawness in their voices as opposed to the pretty female sound has always fascinated me. Luther Vandross's voice was like an instrument to me, very sensual. I appreciated Aretha Franklin for her strength and soul; Tina Turner for her zest for life and rough vocal classiness; and Prince … well he is all things! You could get over on my stern minister father with a Patti LaBelle album. And, oh my God, got to love the Rolling Stones!"
Through her production company, My Naked Soul Productions Inc., Terisa has successfully written, produced and starred in a series of “One Voice, One Woman” shows: "Fantasy, A Tribute to the Divas of Song and Stage" (Josephine Baker, Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn); "Queens of R&B, A Tribute to the Queens of Rhythm and Blues" (Dinah Washington, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Donna Summers and Tina Turner); and "Songs Divas – A Tribute to Famous Song Divas" (Nina Simone, Phyllis Hyman, Gladys Knight, Anita Baker, Natalie Cole and Patti LaBelle).
Terisa has successfully produced three albums. The first EP was affectionately name “Songbird.” "I can't write anything but what I honestly feel at the moment," Terisa demurs, "...and that is ever-changing. I wrote "I Still Can't Stop Loving You" right after my father passed, so it's kind of sad.” This song was featured in Hill Harper’s 2011 directorial debut “The Truth” and was Griffin’s debut to the big screen. Scriptwriter Randy Crumpton demanded Griffin play the character named Terisa. He pleaded “Who else could play Terisa ... except Terisa?”
The second CD took Griffin all the way to South Africa. It is rightfully named “My Naked Soul,” as Griffin exposed heart and soul lyrically and vocally. The single “Wonderful” rings as a success all around the country. Griffin just released two new CDs titled Soulzophrenic “Personalities of Soul” and Soulzophrenic “Dance” (available on cdbaby.com and iTunes.com and Amazon.com).
Terisa's most recent acting accomplishment was landing a role in Hill Harper's directorial debut movie "The Truth." Griffin not only acted in the movie but also sang and wrote one of the songs for the movie's soundtrack. Thanks goes out to the writer and producer of the movie, who personally chose Griffin to play the role.
Griffin’s philanthropic spirit landed her the National Black MBA Association William J. Qualls Philanthropic Excellence Award. Griffin says, “When I step back and look at the plight of our youth I cannot sit idle and do nothing.” Her life journey and music inspired her to reach deeper into the lives of those she touched, which resulted in the creation of BETTER LOVE YOURSELF, Inc. This nonprofit organization was created in 2007 to develop the road map for young adults to master the art of loving and caring for themselves; she calls it “PEARLS OF KNOWLEDGE.” Better Love Yourself has served at least five cities, including Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland, Monroe and Memphis. Their annual “Trunk Event” has provided more than 800 students with inspirational life skills, workshops, scholarships and dormitory trunks filled with the essentials needed to start the next step in their life journey.
Terisa reflects on her accomplishments, saying "I've been blessed, I don't believe in luck.” The ever-rising star ...Terisa Griffin ... a talent, a voice, an exceptional entertainer ... and more to come!