Tramaine Hawkins was born October 11, 1951 in San Francisco, California. She grew up in the Ephesian Church of God in Christ located in Berkeley, California, pastored by her Grandfather the late, Bishop E.E. Cleveland. While still in high school, Tramaine and her friends Mary McCreary, Elva Mouton and Vet Stone had a gospel group called The Heavenly Tones and performed at various venues around the Oakland and San Francisco areas. In 1966 they recorded the album “I love The Lord” for the Gospel label, part of Savoy Records, and a 45 for the Music City label called “He’s Alright”. When Vet Stone’s older brother Sylvester, better known as Sly Stone, formed Sly & the Family Stone with their brother Freddie, and friends Larry Graham, Cynthia Robinson, Jerry Martini, and Greg Errico, The Heavenly Tones were recruited directly out of high school to become Little Sister (band), Sly & the Family Stone’s background vocalists for their recording. Tramaine left the group and started a very successful solo career. She first started singing on The Edwin Hawkins Singers Choir’s single “Oh Happy Day.” With her distinctive soprano and extensive vocal range, she became better known as a featured soloist with then-husband Walter Hawkins’ Love Center Choir.
Hawkins was somewhat ostracized by her core gospel music audience who were soured by the lyrically neutral content and heavy mainstream attention her music received. Though “Fall Down” became one of the earliest gospel songs crossover to mainstream charts, traditional fans balked. Nonetheless, Freedom followed in 1987. Freedom produced “The Rock” and its title track as singles. The latter was co-written and produced by The Jacksons. While married to Walter Hawkins, the couple had two children a son, Walter “Jamie” Hawkins, Jr. and a daughter, Tr]ystan Hawkins with one granddaughter, Jahve Hawkins and one grandson, Jamie Daniel Hawkins. She lives outside of Sacramento, California with her husband of sixteen years, Tommy Richardson, Jr., and has one stepson, Demar Richardson with two step grandchildren.
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