I Wanna Be Loved By You
Born to the parents of Rev. and Mrs. James Towns, Rhonda, at the precious age of five months, already showed signs of her destiny in music. What could it be other than a God-given talent when she started snapping her fingers to music at a time when most other adorable babies can barely sit up? She delighted her parents' friends who often stopped by and marveled at her aptitude for tunes. By the age of four, 'Sissy,' as Rhonda was affectionately nicknamed, sang side-by-side with the adults in the choir of her father's church. Her curls barely reaching her father's knee, Rhonda's voice easily filled the entire church. Rhonda entered her first talent show in the fourth grade at her elementary school, winning first place for two consecutive years in the school competition. The attention brought scouts from a local weekly Country music television show asking Rhonda's parents if they would consider allowing her to become a regular talent on the show. After some deep family discussions, her mother and father decided that she was too young to start a career. Education was of paramount importance to them and Rhonda concentrated on school. A talent like Rhonda's was not to be ignored, however, as she entertained her classmates after school by standing up in front of the school bus every afternoon taking requests. Rhonda enjoyed many school activities such as public speaking, volleyball, track and field, student body government, cheerleading, and of course, the school choir. By the time she graduated from high school, Rhonda had developed a strong reputation as a very talented singer, always performing for her classmates, bursting into song at the slightest encouragement. Following high school, Rhonda trained as a vocalist and attended college. An active student, she entered and won the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity's Miss Black Culture Pageant, displaying her obvious beauty and incredible singing talent. During her two years at the university, she was a valued member of the university gospel choir. Rhonda now lives in Phoenix, Arizona while pursuing her dream to become a major singing presence in the Country music industry. She would use her flight benefits as an employee of America West Airlines to travel back and forth to Nashville. Rhonda has also modeled professionally, appearing in television commercials, runway modeling and advertising print work under the direction of Ruth Leighton of Leighton Agency, Inc. Rhonda made her debut as a Country music singer on Ed McMahon's Star Search as a champion female Country music artist. That same year, she attracted the attention of producer Norro Wilson, who ended up producing four songs for her. One of the songs on the album, 'Slow Rain,' was written by Dobie Gray whose remake of 'Drift Away' reemerged as a big hit. Rhonda still continues to travel back and forth from Phoenix to Nashville establishing herself in the Country music community. She has made a number of appearances, performing at several live and televised shows. Rhonda has appeared on shows for the Black Country Music Association in Nashville, as well as making appearances at the BCMA's booth at Fan Fair. Rhonda was a highlighted Country music artist for the BCMA on 'Today's Country' with Crook 'n' Chase. In July of that same year, she had the honor of performing at the 'First Annual Black Country Music Show' in Atlanta, Georgia. In August, she produced her own show, 'Plenty More Love' at the Chandler Center for the Arts in her hometown of Chandler, Arizona. Soon after, she attracted the attention of promoter Albi Matter of the Show and Music Ag (The International Artist-Agency of Switzerland). In June of 1999, Rhonda was invited to sing as a headliner in Zurich, Switzerland. She was thrilled to accept, and in February of 2000, made her debut at the '16th Annual International Country Music Festival' officially becoming the first black female Country music artist to debut in Europe. She performed two nights and was well received by the excited Country music fans. After returning to the United States, Rhonda was submitted for consideration to appear on BET's (Black Entertainment Television) popular show Live From L.A. This was an important opportunity to represent African-Americans in Country music. Rhonda received a call telling her that BET had chosen her to perform. She sang 'Storm Before the Calm' providing some audience members with their first real exposure to Country music. On the interview couch, she gave her new fans a quick lesson on the significant contributions African-Americans have made to the Country music industry. It was a huge success. The show aired in June 2000. Soon after, Rhonda went back into the studio with producer and engineer Jim Cotton (who was the first producer for Billy Ray Cyrus). Jim donated his time and experience to produce three songs for her. The project was finished in July of 2000. After not being signed this go-round in Nashville, Rhonda came home and returned to her other love, the restaurant industry. Over the years, Rhonda's family has owned and operated barbeque restaurants in both Indiana and Alabama. In July of 2001, she helped them open BBQ King's in Flagstaff, Arizona. Rhonda would drive two and a half-hours each way every other week to oversee the business. It became a favorite of many of the NFL Phoenix Cardinals, whose training camp was located in the cool high-country of Flagstaff. The restaurant had a 'celebrity wall' which the players autographed when they would stop in for great barbeque and her mom's famous peach cobbler and sweet potato pie. But, whatever is truly in your heart will always come back to the surface. Rhonda attracted the attention of Country music icon Harold Shedd through a recommendation in 2002. Soon after, Harold Shedd and Jim Cotton came together and produced two more songs with Rhonda. It turned out to be a priceless collaboration. In April of 2003, Rhonda performed at the Country music festival Country Thunder USA in Florence, Arizona. She happily brought her band in from Nashville to accompany her. In July of that same year, Rhonda got a call that sadly left her torn apart. Jim Cotton had passed away with no warning. She was devastated. She had lost a dear friend and someone who gave so much experience as a producer and engineer to her career. She was left with an unfinished project and a feeling of wanting to give up. Rhonda was inspired by another Country music artist at Christmas time in 2004. After hearing the artist sing a Christmas song with no music on the radio, Rhonda thought she could do it as well. So she enlisted the help of Phoenix producer Billy Williams. Williams helped her record 'The Lord's Prayer' a cappella. After finishing touches were done, Rhonda knew she had her tenth song for her debut release, I Wanna Be Loved By You. The album is dedicated to Jim Cotton. The songs on the album were produced by Harold Shedd, Norro Wilson and Jim Cotton. Many influences have inspired Rhonda along her musical path, but much of her inspiration is credited to her mom who continues to influence her today. Mrs. Towns instilled in her talented daughter that there is no such thing as 'can't!' Throughout her life, Rhonda has felt that the stability of family has been her deepest inspiration. Musically and creatively, Rhonda's role models include entertainment icons such as Patsy Cline, Reba McEntire, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, and Vince Gill. 'The most important thing in life is to follow your dreams,' Rhonda has said. 'The first step to doing this is to set your goals, no matter how big or small.' Join Rhonda this spring as she makes plans to release her first album, I Wanna Be Loved By You. Accomplishments/Performances Ed McMahon's Star Search Waiting to Exhale, Whitney Houston's stand-in Debuted on BET's 'Live From L.A.' Debuted in Zurich, Switzerland at the '16th Annual International Country Music Festival' 2000 Fox News 10, Phoenix, Arizona Good Morning Arizona, News Channel 3, Phoenix, Arizona Sonoran Living, Channel 15, Phoenix, Arizona Atlanta, Georgia, Local News - 1998 Country Thunder USA - 2003 Commercials For: Montgomery Ward Arizona Lotto/Arizona Lottery Toyota Phoenix, Arizona Channel 10 Maxwell House Bell Road Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi Arizona Health Department Bounce Advertising print work for Dillard's, K-mart, and Designer 'Lori Weidner' Montreal, Canada.