Patrice Rushen

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Patrice Rushen
Rushen performing on March 2, 2010
Rushen performing on March 2, 2010
Background information
Birth namePatrice Louise Rushen
Born (1954-09-30) September 30, 1954 (age 68)[1]
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Musician
  • composer
  • record producer
  • music director
  • educator
  • Vocals
  • piano
  • keyboards
  • flute
  • clarinet
  • percussion
Years active1973–present
WebsiteOfficial website

Patrice Louise Rushen (born September 30, 1954) is an American jazz pianist and R&B singer.[2] She is also a composer, record producer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and music director.

Her 1982 single "Forget Me Nots" received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. The instrumental "Number One" from her album Straight from the Heart earned an additional Grammy nomination for best instrumental. Her 12th album Signature also received a Grammy nomination for best instrumental in 1998.[3]

Rushen also serves as an ambassador for artistry in education at the Berklee College of Music and the chair of the popular music program at the USC Thornton School of Music.[4][5]


Rushen is the elder of two daughters born to Allen and Ruth Rushen.[1] Patrice was three years old when she began playing the piano, and by the time she was six, she was giving classical recitals.[6] In her teens, she attended Locke High School and later earned a degree in music from the University of Southern California.[7]

After winning a competition at the age of 17 that enabled her to perform with her band at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Rushen signed with the Prestige label, releasing three albums with them – Prelusion (1974), Before the Dawn (1975), and Shout It Out (1977).[6][8] In 1978, when she was 23, she began recording with Elektra.[6]

Rushen married Marc St. Louis, a concert tour manager and live show production specialist,[9] in 1986.[10] They have one son, Cameron and one daughter named Jadyn.[10][11] The name of her publishing company, Baby fingers Inc., is pulled from her nickname Babyfingers for her tiny hands. In 2005, Rushen received an honorary doctorate of Music degree from Berklee College of Music. She is the chair of popular music at USC and the ambassador of artistry in Education at the Berklee College of Music.[12] She has served as the film composer for numerous movies, television shows and documentaries. She has been a member of jazz fusion band CAB, The Meeting (GRP Records) with Ndugu Chancler, Alphonso Johnson and Ernie Watts.[13] Rushen is also a music director, having worked on various television events as well as Janet Jackson's world tour 'Janet'.

Her song "Hang It Up" was featured on the 2005 video game Fahrenheit.[14]

Cultural impact[edit]

Rushen's songs are sampled often in other artists music. The chorus from "Forget Me Nots" was used as the music for the 1997 song "Men in Black". Rushen was credited as writer and composer, along with Will Smith and Terri McFadden. The same chorus can be heard in George Michael's song "Fastlove". "Forget Me Nots" previously found its way into the trampolining scene in the film Big. Her song "Haven't You Heard" was sampled in Kirk Franklin's Looking For You from the Norbit soundtrack. In 2021 her song "Forget Me Nots" was used in a dance challenge on TikTok.[15]

Rushen was the first woman to serve as music director for the 46th, 47th, and 48th Grammy Awards. She was the only woman music director/conductor/arranger for a late-night show titled The Midnight Hour, which aired on CBS in 1990.


Grammy awards[edit]

Rushen has received three Grammy nominations.[3]

Year Category Nominated work Result
1983 Best R&B Instrumental Performance "Number One" Nominated
Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female "Forget Me Nots" Nominated
1998 Best Contemporary Jazz Performance "Signature" Nominated

Other awards[edit]

  • Number One Record "Feels So Real", Radio & Records (R&R) National Chart - Writers: Patrice Rushen & Fred Washington, 1984
  • ASCAP Songwriter's Award, 1988
  • USC Black Student Assembly, Legacy of Excellence Award, 1992
  • Crystal Award, American Women in Film, 1994
  • ASCAP Award, Most Performed Song in Motion Pictures for 1997 for "Men in Black," 1998
  • NAACP Image Award Nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Recording for “Signature”, 1998
  • Honorary Doctorate Berklee College of Music, 2005
  • The California Jazz Foundation NICA award for lifetime achievement, 2019
  • The Ramo Music Faculty Award, 2020
  • Trailblazer Award, Salute Them Awards, 2021


Solo albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions
US Pop
US Jazz
US Tra. Jazz
1974 Prelusion
1975 Before the Dawn 48 14
1977 Shout It Out 164 16
1978 Patrice 98 27 5
1979 Pizzazz 39 11 2
1980 Let There Be Funk: The Best of Patrice Rushen 42
Posh 71 23
1982 Straight from the Heart 14 4 74 24
1984 Now 40 7 7 73
1987 Watch Out! 77 19
1994 Anything but Ordinary
1996 Forget Me Nots and Remind Me
1997 Signature 11
2000 Jazz Straight Up
2002 The Essentials: Patrice Rushen
2003 Piano, Bass and Drums
"—" denotes the album failed to chart


Year Title Chart positions Certifications
US Hot 100
US Dance
1975 "Kickin' Back"
1977 "Let Your Heart Be Free"
"The Hump"
1978 "Changes in Your Life"
1979 "Hang It Up" 16
"When I Found You" 87
1980 "Givin' It Up Is Givin' Up"
"Haven't You Heard" 42 7 5 62
"Let the Music Take Me" 50
"Look Up" 102 13 2
"Don't Blame Me"
1981 "Never Gonna Give You Up (Won't Let You Be)" 2 66
1982 "Forget Me Nots" 23 4 2 8
"Breakout!" 46
"I Was Tired of Being Alone" 79 39
"Number One"
1984 "Get Off (You Fascinate Me)" 26 40
"Feels So Real (Won't Let Go)" 78 3 10 51
1987 "Watch Out" 9 22 78
"Anything Can Happen" 51
"Come Back to Me" 65 37
1994 "I Do"
2004 "Forget Me Nots / Number One" 90
"—" denotes the single failed to chart


With Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter

With The Meeting

With Kenny Burrell

With Herbie Hancock

With Eddie Henderson

With Jean-Luc Ponty

With Letizia Gambi

With Wallace Roney

With Cindy Blackman


Musical directing[edit]

  • The 48th Annual Grammy Awards (2006, musical director)
  • The 47th Annual Grammy Awards (2005, musical director)
  • The 46th Annual Grammy Awards (2004, musical director)
  • The 10th Annual Walk of Fame Honoring Smokey Robinson (2004, musical director)
  • The 9th Annual Walk of Fame Honoring Aretha Franklin (2003, musical director)
  • The 8th Annual Walk of Fame Honoring Stevie Wonder (2002, musical director)
  • People's Choice Awards (1993, musical director)
  • The Best of Robert Townsend & His Partners in Crime (1991, musical director)
  • "No Strings" by "Sheena Easton", Rushen as record producer (1993)
  • The Women of Brewster Place (1989, special musical consultant)
  • "The Midnight Hour" (unknown episodes, 1990)
  • Partners in Crime (1988, musical director)


  1. ^ a b "California Birth Index, 1905–1995 (database on-line)". United States: The Generations Network. 2005. Retrieved October 6, 2009.
  2. ^ "Film Academy Invites 819 New Members, With 36 Percent People of Color". The Hollywood Reporter. June 30, 2020. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Patrice Rushen". The Recording Academy.
  4. ^ "Patrice Rushen: Ambassador for Artistry in Education". Berklee College of Music.
  5. ^ "Patrice Rushen: Chair, Popular Music Program". University of Southern California. November 13, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Russonello, Giovanni (July 17, 2019). "Patrice Rushen Found Success in Jazz and Dance Music. She Hasn't Been Forgotten". The New York Times. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  7. ^ "Patrice Rushen MM '76". University of Southern California. Archived from the original on November 28, 2008. Retrieved October 6, 2008.
  8. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Patrice Rushen | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  9. ^ "Celebrity Author". Toi Moore. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Rhythm & Blues Legend=Patrice Rushen". Mingle City. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  11. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths ST. LOUIS, MARIE". The New York Times. June 15, 1999. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  12. ^ "Honorary Degree Recipients".
  13. ^ ""C.A.B." with Bunny Brunel and Tony MacAlpine Live at the Baked Potato". All About Jazz. May 29, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
  14. ^ Rack, Donald (November 22, 2005). "Indigo Prophecy – Soundtrack Lyrics FAQ". IGN. Archived from the original on March 7, 2013. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
  15. ^ Vaidya, Amit (May 27, 2022). "#RSFlashback – 40 Years Ago, Patrice Rushen Gave Us the Unforgettable 'Forget Me Nots'". Rolling Stone India. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  16. ^ "Patrice Rushen (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  17. ^ "Patrice Rushen (Top R&B Albums)". Billboard.
  18. ^ "Patrice Rushen (Top Jazz Albums)". Billboard.
  19. ^ "Patrice Rushen (Traditional Jazz Albums)". Billboard.
  20. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 262. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  21. ^ a b "Patrice Rushen". Official Charts Company.
  22. ^ a b c "Patrice Rushen Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". Music VF. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  23. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 476. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  24. ^ "Patrice Rushen - Forget Me Nots". Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  25. ^ "Introducing Letizia Gambi". Spotify. September 18, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  26. ^ "Introducing Letizia Gambi". Miles Davis. October 22, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  27. ^ "Letizia Gambi - Introducing Letizia Gambi". Retrieved May 11, 2022.


External links[edit]