When shoppers walk into JOANN Fabrics, not only do they have the opportunity to purchase crafting supplies, there is also a good chance they could come away with an autograph from a Grammy-winning vocalist.
Terrence “T-Bone” Frierson is a longtime member of Sounds of Blackness, a Grammy-winning vocal and instrumental ensemble from the Minneapolis and St. Paul area. The group has performed gospel, R&B, soul and jazz since their inception in 1969.
Frierson joined the group in 1985 as a veteran of the U.S. Army. After being stationed in Germany from 1980-1984, he spoke with his oldest brother, Greg Adams, about auditioning for Sounds of Blackness. Following his audition, he earned his spot in the ensemble group on January 4, 1985.
“I said, ‘I’ll come there,’ thinking it’d be, like, The Temptations,” Frierson said. “It was an ensemble and that kind of shocked me. But I said, ‘Well, I’m here now.’”
That ensemble went on to win three Grammy awards, four Stellar awards, one Emmy nomination, the International Time for Peace Award, the International Dance Music award, five NAACP Image Award nominations and one NAACP Image award. The ensemble has also had several hits on the Billboard R&B chart.
A partnership with A&M Records led the ensemble to be signed along with other famous musicians, including Janet Jackson, Cat Stevens, The Police and Sheryl Crow.
Frierson stayed in Minnesota until moving to Owensboro two years ago in November. Family ties and a summer spent in Owensboro when he was a child prompted him to move south. According to Frierson, it was God’s work that ultimately brought him to Owensboro.
“I used to come here when I was a kid. My grandparents were from Beaver Dam and my sister lived here. My mother sent me here for the summer when I was 13-years-old,” he said. “The Holy Spirit brought me here. The Holy Spirit said, ‘Come here and help your sister.’”
Frierson, his wife Kindra and 17-year-old daughter Harmony moved to Owensboro in November of 2017. He now helps his sister, a pastor at Owensboro’s Church of the Living God, by offering his musical talents during services. Not only is Frierson a singer, but a song producer and percussionist.
“When I came back here a few years ago, I was like, “Wow!’ Frierson said. “I remember when there weren’t any sidewalks on the street.”
Frierson’s musical talents go further back than Sounds of Blackness.
Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1962, he started traveling, playing the drums and singing with Rev. James Marks & The Voices of Heaven at the age of 12. During that time, Frierson recorded his first solo, “I Want to See My Savior’s Face,” written by Rudolph Stanfield, Jr.
During Sounds of Blackness’ success, Frierson spent two years living in London to fulfill a solo career, where, in 2007, he made his first solo album titled, “The Time Has Come,” which lead to a tour in London and Japan.
Frierson’s second solo album, “Taste-N-See That the Lord Is Good,” was made in 2012, and he is currently working on a new single, “I Never Knew”, with producer and songwriter Ed (Wood) Harrison of Diamond Ring Records. His latest solo single, “Grandma’s Hands”, and Sounds of Blackness’ latest single, “Til I Found You” are making waves on YouTube.
Frierson said he loves everything he does — from working at Joann Fabrics, to singing at his sister’s church, to performing with his ensemble group. After 15 years, he was ordained as a minister through the Christian Global Outreach Ministry on Friday.
Those at his work make it easier for him to travel for shows and promotions, which he often does. With new singles out, Frierson said he never quite knows when his team will be flown out to perform somewhere.
“I just left Minneapolis and we did a show in Charlotte about a week ago,” he said. “I’ll be leaving again soon to perform in Hampton, Virginia.”
One of Frierson’s favorite professional memories includes being able to travel with his favorite artist — Stevie Wonder — to Africa in 1993. He has also done projects with Elton John and Bob Dylan.
With a career that has spanned over thirty years, one of Frierson’s hopes is that he’ll get a chance to perform at the RiverPark Center.
“I would love to do a show at the RiverPark Center. I quietly fit in where I can fit in — I don’t want people to think I’m trying to take over Owensboro,” he said. “I’m just trying to help. I’d love to give people a good show here.”
As busy as Frierson stays on a weekly basis, he said nothing in life is difficult, as long as you love it.
“It’s not hard if you love something. I love JOANN Fabrics, so it’s not a job to me,” he said. “In Detroit, you’re around natural talent everywhere. You can sit with it, or you can run with it. I just ran with it.”