Makedah was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, in a humble part of town near the 18th and Vine historic jazz district. This area was famous for its barbeque, jazz and blues music, frequented by such greats as Duke Ellington and home of famous saxophonist Charlie Parker and the legendary Count Basie and Lester Brown.
Makedah’s vocal influences range from the jazzy vocals of Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn, to the sweet gospel harmonies of Wanda Hutchinson & The Emotions and the sultry R&B of Phyllis Hyman, Minnie Ripperton, Cheryl Lynn and Roberta Flack. Following the lead of such vocal trailblazers, the talented young songstress won a host of local talent shows and a recording contract with Intrepid Records by age 16.
As a youth during the turbulent 70’s in America, Queen Makedah’s passion for reggae music was kindled through her mother, a veteran of the Black Panther Party, who introduced her to the truth and rights message and revolutionary sound of the legendary Bob Marley and The Wailers, backed by the soulful harmonies of the I-Three’s reggae queens Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths and Rita Marley.
Makedah brings all of these influences to her vocal style and music today.
Through her former California non-profit, Empress Meditations, Queen Makedah worked to bring recognition to women in reggae and world music, while raising donations for charity. The ‘Women for Peace’ tour visited Sebastapol, Nevada City, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Berkeley, Pacifica, Point Richmond’s Summer Concert Series and Oregon’s Northwest World Reggae Festival, plus aided A Safe Place, Oakland’s oldest shelter for victims of domestic violence.