I AM

BOLD

FEARLESS

INSPIRED

I am a Southern girl. A tall glass of sweet tea with lemon, a wrap around front porch, whiffs of fried chicken cooking in the kitchen, sprinkled with stories of days gone by is my happy place.

I was born in Montgomery, Alabama and was adopted by a couple who lived in Bessemer, a small city just outside of Birmingham, Alabama.

I matriculated through the Jefferson County school system and attended Birmingham-Southern College for post studies. It was at this point in life that my world began to open in ways that I had only dreamed of. Winter, 1983–I was chosen by our music department to travel on a European opera tour. My first international travel experience and it afforded me the opportunity to see the world and myself through a very (different) set of eyes than I had ever imagined. This was definitely different for me. A poor black girl who spent almost everyday at church. A Missionary Baptist church girl, to be exact, who was infused in the Gospel music scene in my city and I just could not imagine sitting through night after night at the opera. Little did I know, the trajectory of my life would be changed, forever.

We visited the best opera houses in England, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland and The Netherlands. Not only did I fall in love with the architecture, the music, the people. But, seeing how others navigate the world was very impactful and played a huge part in who I am today.

Being deeply involved in the performing arts positioned me to meet some pretty incredible people and to do some amazing things. During my lifetime, to this point, ventures have included touring the US and Caribbean with R&B turned Gospel Artist Candi Staton, performing and touring the country with Town & Gown Theatre; working under the direction of Mercedes Ellington (Duke Ellington’s granddaughter). I’ve performed with Earth, Wind & Fire, BeBe & CeCe Winans and many more artists. I have served as performing arts director, vocalist and pianist for several churches in Birmingham and Atlanta. You can read more about the details of my journey in my upcoming bookUnknown Roots To Destiny Unleased.

So far, my life journey has taken many turns. No matter how rough or great it seemed, the experience of it all has made me the incredible being that I am today. My desire is to leave a lasting impact on each and every one that I meet along the way. To be a blessing in some way.

My story is one that is multifaceted and it is far from over. Each day brings a new creative adventure. I am open to the energy of the Master Creator, always!

I AM
FALISHA RIAYE