Dionne Yvette Farris (born December 4, 1968) is an American, singer, songwriter, producer and actress. Born and raised in New Jersey, she began singing in elementary school and competed in pageants as a teenager. She rose to fame in the early 1990s as the vocalist on hip hop group Arrested Development (1992) hit single, “Tennessee”.
Farris released her debut album, Wild Seed - Wild Flower (1994) on Columbia Records. The album featured the Top 40 single, "I Know" (1995). That same year, the video earned Farris the Billboard Music Video Awards Best Pop/Rock New Artist Clip of the Year. She was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (1996)
A demo sent to Sony Music was first reviewed by Bobby Colomby, then by the A&R, former American Idol judge Randy Jackson. He signed Farris to a deal at Columbia Records. Her debut album, Wild Seed – Wild Flower (1994), featured the 1995 hit single "I Know", which reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1996. In the UK Singles Chart, "I Know" peaked (after a re-release) at #41 in May 1995. Wild Seed – Wild Flower reached #57 on the Billboard 200 chart. Radio & Records magazine ranked "I Know" as the number-one most played song on mainstream Top 40/CHR radio stations for 1995 and spent 10 consecutive weeks at #1 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart (April 1-June 3, 1995).
That same year, her version of Billy Taylor's "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free" appeared on the soundtrack to the documentary The Promised Land. It would appear again as the opening song to the (1996) Rob Reiner film Ghosts of Mississippi, about the true story of the 1994 trial of Byron De La Beckwith, the white supremacist accused of the 1963 assassination of civil rights activist of Medgar Evers. Farris' soundtrack work continued for another 1996 film, The Truth About Cats & Dogs, to which she contributed a version of the Stevie Wonder classic "For Once In My Life" as the closing song and the (1996) film First Wives Club with a rendition of Bill Withers' "Heartbreak Road". In 1997, she had another single called "Hopeless" (written by Van Hunt) from the Love Jones soundtrack.
Farris released her official follow-up album, Signs of Life in (2011), named one of the Top 10 soul albums that year by Creative Loafing Atlanta, a mixtape Lady Dy, the Mixtape Pt 1 (2011) produced by rapper/musician Count Bass D and a live jazz album Dionne Get Your Gunn: Featuring the Russell Gunn Quartet with Dionne Farris (2012) via PledgeMusic crowd funding on her own record label, Free & Clear Records. Farris has launched her latest 2014 project, with jazz guitarist, Charlie Hunter, as The Dionne Farris Charlie Hunter Duo, via PledgeMusic.com