CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Miss Freddye has been called “Lady of the Blues” in Pittsburgh since her 2017 release of an album with the same name. Now, that title has some backing, as she has been voted Best Blues Band or Performer in Pittsburgh City Paper
’s 2020 Best of Pittsburgh readers’ poll.
“I am humbled and honored,” says Miss Freddye, whose real name is Fredericka Stover, of the first-place win. “I feel so grateful for everyone out there who loves music, who voted for me/us!”
Stover has been involved with music since she was a child. “I used to sing with neighborhood friends as a kid. We would sing songs we knew and make up songs,” she says. But her first official step into the music world came at 15 when she joined her church choir. In 1996, under the direction of “Big AL” Leavitt, she joined her first blues band, BMW (Blues Music Works). Stover marks that year as the start of her professional singing and performing career.
A few years later, in 2002, Stover created the band Blue Faze. Miss Freddye's Blues Band (electric blues) and Miss Freddye's Homecookin' Band came several years after that.
“I love when the band and the audiences enjoy each other,” says Stover. “From the beginning of the show to the end, there is excitement. This gives me the energy to give back to the audiences.”
After 25 years of singing the blues, however, Stover is returning to her church roots. The artist recently released a single, “Wade in the Water,” which is a cover of a song that dates back to 1901 and has ties with the Underground Railroad. The track is set to be the lead single on a gospel album with a projected release in 2021.
“Wade in the Water” was produced by Mike Morgan, arranged by Nashville's Jay Vernali, and released on MMM Records. In her cover of the song, Stover captures the heaviness of the track's history while providing moments of stirring exhilaration. Even though the track leans towards the gospel genre, Stover’s flair for blues elements — emotive vocals and repetitious lyric structure — soak the tune. “Wade in the Water” also features backing vocals from Kim Parent, which works to bolster Stover’s powerful, robust voice.
Stover hasn't hung up her blues hat yet though. She’s working on a roots and blues album too, also projected to release in 2021.