Diva Ladee Chico discovered her passion for singing as a toddler by performing in local talent shows, along with her baby sisters. They sang at radio talent shows such as the locally publicized KTCH radio station, VFW halls, and schools; where ever there were competitions, they were “in it to win it” and did!
At the tender age of 15, Chico was chosen to record a song written by noted producer and Motown recording artist, Willie Hutch. Named after a famous Alka Seltzer commercial, the song was titled, “Try It You’ll Like It”. This was the first 45 she recorded and the definitive start to her blossoming commercial success.
Chico was the musical progeny of her mother, a multitalented singer, poet, and songwriter who prior to 1940, formed the label of Majestic Records. Soon Chico was singing all over Texas at various venues and political rallies with local bands. She billed her act as, “El Chico’s”. She also performed at the State Fair, Astro World, Bush Gardens, and juke joints. She recorded the song “McGovern for President”. Chico’s formal vocal training was concentrated during her high school and early college years as she sang a cappella with a choir of her peers while gigging weekends with guitarist, Johnny Reason; known for his collaborations with Archie Bell & the Drells, Joe Tex, Edwin Starr, and Stevie Wonder, to name a few. Chico and Johnny gained an avid following as they performed together covering songs by Betty Wright, Aretha Franklin, and Gladys Knight. They were soon known as “POPPA STOPPA”, performing all over Bakersfield, Fresno, and surrounding San Joaquin County venues. Chico also recorded jingles for commercials and advertisements at the Buck Owen’s Studio.
In the early ‘70s Chico signed with Fantasy Records of Berkeley. She performed throughout San Francisco and Oakland’s Bay Area with her band featuring Johnny Reason who wrote most of the songs on their first album. Chico sang all the background vocals collaborating with Wayne Henderson of At Homes Productions. She worked with some of the best in the industry, including the Jazz Crusaders, Ramsey Lewis, Ronnie Laws, Narada Michael Walden, Miki Howard, and Patrice Rushen.
Chico redefined her act and debuted as “Diva Ladee Chico” in the late ‘80s. She emerged as a musical tour de force with Deacon Jones and the Buckett of Blues Band working with John Lee Hooker. Her leadership as an artist brought vibrant and soulful styling to her fans at the Monterey Bay Blues Festival, when she performed with Clifford Coulter, Danny Hall, and so many other wonderful musicians. Well-traveled, Chico has gigged on Cruise ships and ports worldwide, including San Francisco, Las Vegas, Alaska, Paris, Brazil, the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, and Jamaica.
Chico, a breast cancer survivor with a first-hand understanding that every day is a gift, has dedicated her time and talent to fundraising in support of a breast cancer cure. Along with her team billed as the, “Legendary Impersonators Extraordinaire”, she lives life to its fullest and continues to perform, live and on television. You’ve seen her on ”The Kenny Neal Show“, “In The Arts” with Will Nichols, and in a CreaTV, local cable 15 special showcasing her as a Bay Area entertainment icon. Look for Diva Ladee Chico‘s new CD coming soon!