Mortonette Jenkins

Soul - rhythm 'n' blues singer

Born in Los Angeles, California.

Mortonette lived in the community of Watts, in Los Angeles, California. Because of her interest in music, she began piano and violin lessons while attending Grape Street Elementary. At Markham Middle School, Mr. Zerl Persley was her music teacher. Mr. Persley prepared Mortonette and a selected group to compete for youth philharmonic orchestra training scholarships. Mortonette continued to sing and play the piano, and began to write her own songs. Some of Mortonette’s closest friends at Jordan High secretly entered her into the 1967 KGFJ radio station’s Soul Search Contest. While she resisted going at first, she won the contest and received a scholarship to the University of Redlands besides a recording contract with RCA Records. Mortonette's break came from a received call to go on tour as backup singer with Billy Paul.

In order to help provide family income, Mortonette worked for a short time as an inspector in an aircraft precision instrument manufacturing clean room. During these years Mortonette and her friend John Barnes worked late at night in his garage studio, writing, singing and recording their songs.

Via a relative of Mortonette's aunt, Barbara Covington, auditions were arranged with Capitol Records. The Record Label signed Mortonette for recordings under the name Jodi Mathis. Mortonette sang background for Barbara Streisand on two of her live concerts. Quincy Jones signed Mortonette to his record label as a vocalist in his group, the Watts Line, and to a United States music tour. In addition, Mortonette headed the Quincy Jones Vocal Workshop where she taught students weekly. She was hired to be vocal trainer, coordinator, and bit player for Alex Haley’s TV series “Roots”. Then Paul Anka signed Mortonette on concert tours for eleven years. During these years, Mortonette’s position in Paul Anka’s concerts was upgraded from background singer to backup singer. Mortonette did also several world tours with Elton John, toured the United States with Linda Ronstadt, and continues to support Linda in concert events. In ongoing tours in Europe, Mortonette performs as one in three of the lead singers in Wild Women Blues.

In 1998, Linda Hopkins selected Mortonette to join her and Maxine Weldon on the "Wild Women Blues" concert tour in Europe. Mortonette sings regularly for Dr. Michael Beckwith and his wife Rickie BB, at their Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City California, and in Agape regional and national conventions.
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