Miche Braden (Bessie Smith/Musical Director/Musical Arrangements) is a singer, actor, musician, songwriter, arranger, and musical director. She is a product of the rich musical heritage of her hometown, Detroit, where she was an in residence with the Detroit Council of the Arts, the founder and former lead singer of Straight Ahead (women’s jazz band), and was a protégé of Motown musicians Thomas “Beans” Bowles, Earl Van Dyke (leader of The Funk Brothers), and jazz master composer Harold McKinney.
Miche’s performance as Bessie Smith in The Devil’s Music in New York earned the show four coveted award nominations: The Drama Desk “Best Actress in a Musical”; Off Broadway Alliance “Special Event”; and The Lucille Lortel and Audelco “Best Solo Show.” Miche was also nominated for the coveted Carbonell Award in Florida and the Connecticut Critics Award.
Recently Miche portrayed Mammy in the 2013 world premiere of Gone with the Wind, a musical adapted by Niki Landau at the Royal Manitoba Theater Center in Winnipeg, Canada. Miche has appeared in and served as musical director/arranger in The People’s Temple, Gee’s Bend, The Bluest Eye, Mahalia: A Gospel Musical, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Hot Snow: The Story of Valaida Snow, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. She originated the character of Duchess DeLovely in the original cast of Hats: The Red Hat Society Musical.
As a singer, Miche has performed with Regina Carter, Alexis P. Suter, Milt Hinton, Lionel Hampton, and Frenchie Davis. She is featured on the James Carter release Gardenia’s for Lady Day (Sony/Columbia), and appeared with him at Carnegie Hall. Miche performed “New York State of Mind” in Movin’ Out on Broadway, and was dubbed “Billy Joel’s Piano Woman” by Fox 5 News. Miche’s talented and versatile work can be heard on Diva Out of Bounds, Ms. Miche (available on iTunes and CD Baby).
Miche was the featured singer in Damien Foundation’s 2007 Gospel’s for Life tour in Belgium and France, and is a recurring featured artist in the Absolute Gospel Festival in Lyon, France. She toured Japan for several years in a series of jazz concerts and teaching choral jazz and gospel workshops. She is currently Minister of Music and head of the Creative Arts Ministry at Unity Fellowship Church of New Brunswick, N.J.