With her powerful voice and brand of heartfelt soul, Broadway star and singer Frenchie Davis hopes to connect with audience members at Tucson's annual LGBT Pride festival.
Known for her stints on reality singing competitions "American Idol" and "The Voice," Davis headlines the Pride in the Desert festival, along with former Snap! lead singer Thea Austin, on October 12.
Davis, 34, returns to Arizona after performing at Flagstaff's Pride in the Pines celebration in 2008.
Davis describes herself as a natural-born soul singer and "Broadway girl" whose musical influences include Ella Fitzgerald, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Freddie Mercury, Grace Jones, Tina Turner and Sylvester.
"I am just a girl who loves to laugh and sing. I love the art form of singing," Davis said in an email interview. "I love challenging myself to sing all genres."
Davis released her single and video for "Love's Got a Hold on Me" in 2012 and has performed in nightclubs, theaters, cruise ships and Pride festivals across the United States throughout her career.
"All my life experiences give me the emotional depth to make every song I sing meaningful. I sing from my heart. Always," Davis said.
Born in Washington D.C. and raised in Los Angeles, Davis started performing on stage early in life, taking on the role of Asaka in a high school production of "Once on This Island."
Along with the roles of Joanne and the "Seasons of Love" soloist in the Broadway production of "Rent," Davis has played the role made famous by Nell Carter in a revival of "Ain't Misbehavin'" and Effie White in a West Coast tour of "Dreamgirls."
Davis said that playing the character of Effie poses a challenge because of what Jennifer Holliday, the original Effie, brought to the role.
"I think any Effie worth her salt has to approach the role very delicately. The first step is acknowledging to yourself, 'I am not Jennifer Holliday,'" Davis said. "All you can do is approach the role in a way that pays homage to her."
Davis brings her own style and flair to her versions of popular songs such as David Guetta's and Kelly Rowland's "When Love Takes Over" and Madonna's "Like a Prayer."
"Every vocalist makes a song their own because all of us are different," Davis said. "But I do try to bring an element of soul to every song I sing. Even if it's a song that may not have been considered to be particularly soulful."
Davis said she has loved singing since she was a young child.
"One of my fondest childhood memories is of my kid brother, Michael, begging my mom to tell me to shut up because I was always singing around the house," Davis said.
Davis said throughout her career, she has worked on growing as a vocalist. Recently she has begun warming up with Johann Sebastian Bach preludes to improve her riffs and pitch.
Davis, who identifies as bisexual, came out about her relationship with a woman in 2012. She said her family has known about her sexual orientation since age 16, but last year felt like the right time to come out publicly.
"If we treat our sexuality like it is something to be ashamed of, we are essentially giving society permission to do the same," Davis said.