Born in Ft. Riley, Kansas to a career Army man and his wife, Pattie spent her childhood in many American cities and in Europe, including living in Hiedelberg, Germany for four years as a young child. Always interested in music and singing, Pattie admits that Opera was her first love: she related to Opera sopranos because her own singing voice was “high,” and was coached in Opera for three years before switching to Jazz. Listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Nancy Wilson records, Pattie learned to “scat” then switched to R&B and Pop music. Now Pattie was listening to Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Chi Coltrane, Chaka Khan… all the while realizing that, although experimenting with vastly different music genres, somehow her own style was evolving.
Knowing that being a PBX operator was not what she saw herself doing for the rest of her life, Pattie’s first professional break came in 1968 when she read an audition notice in the newspaper and then dared to audition for the chorus on “The Smothers’ Brothers Comedy Hour” television series. Pattie was hired on the spot, backing guests like Harry Belafonte, Nancy Wilson and Bobby Darin. Pattie then joined Henry Mancini’s “Young Generation” as a singer/dancer and began her first experiences touring the country.
Pattie’s career has led to her to appearances singing and dancing on such shows as: “The Pearl Bailey Show,” “The Bobby Darin Show,” “Soul Train,” “Dance Fever,” “American Bandstand,” “Dinah Shore,” “Merv Griffin” and “Sanford and Son.” Then Pattie set her sights on the big screen and secured a gig in “Cleopatra Jones,” doing all the vocal over-dubs for Brenda Sykes, and was briefly featured in the movie.
In the midst of her television and movie work, Pattie was also singing on demos for A&M Records, and recording background vocals, for other singers. She can be heard on albums by Jaye P. Morgan, Randy Crawford, King Harvest (“Dancing In The Moonlight”), Bill Medley, Diana Ross, G.C. Cameron, Syreeta, Jermaine Jackson and Dorothy Moore. Pattie and Petsye Powell toured as Helen Reddy’s backup group, and Pattie and Randy Crawford provided backup for Jaye P. Morgan who allowed Pattie and Randy to perform solos on her shows.
Pattie has also performed on the TV shows: “Tonight with Johnny Carson,” and “Don Kirshner’s Midnight Special” and with mega-stars Ann Margaret and Donna Summer. Realizing her talent and professionalism, Ann Margaret, Donna Summer and various TV shows also hired Pattie to “contract” other singers. Pattie auditioned, hired and supervised other professional vocalists and produced tight vocal groups for TV shows and tours. From Ann Margaret, Pattie learned professional stamina, timing and what it takes to be a star: “Ann Margaret taught me that you can be a great singer and a great dancer, but if you haven’t got charisma, it’s not going to happen,” Pattie said, “and people know when you’re copping out. But if they see you up there and you’re giving your all, they’ll be right there with you.”
Pattie sang on Donna Summer’s “I Remember Yesterday” album and contracted the other singers. Even before she was signed to a label, Pattie was writing material to give to Donna and recalls that Donna said, “Just wait: they’re going to record you.” Pattie continues that, “One of my songs (“Is This A Set Up?”) I gave to Donna to sing, but when she heard it, she smiled at me and said, ‘What about you?…’”. “Is This A Set Up?” ended up on Pattie’s final Casablanca album.
Another person also noticed Pattie’s potential, producer Simon Soussan. He signed her to a contract, and the result was the #-1 club hit, “Love Shook” (backed by The Simon Orchestra) and released on the album of the same name on Casablanca (1977). Pattie was signed to Casablanca from 1977-1981, and also released “Our Ms. Brooks,” “Party Girl” and “Pattie Brooks” before joining Mirage Records and releasing “In My World.”
Her platinum records include Pattie’s own mega dance hit single, “After Dark,” which was featured in the movie, “Thank God It’s Friday” starring Donna Summer; background vocals on “Opposites Attract” for Paula Abdul (Virgin Records) and Rick James and Teena Marie’s “Fire and Desire.” She also sang the theme song, “Close Enough For Love,” for the movie, “Agatha,” starring Dustin Hoffman and Vanessa Redgrave.
Pattie has also recorded with Glen Campbell, Dusty Springfield, Olivia Newton-John, Thelma Houston, Paul Jabara and countless others. Her training has included Los Angeles Valley College (Drama) and Tepper & Gallegos (TV Commercial Workshops). She presented a highly acclaimed “One Woman Show” at Studio One’s Backlot. Pattie’s work as a writer and composer has been featured on film and television soundtracks including “Dr. Detroit,” “Boone,” and “16 Candles.”
With legs that never quit (Pattie’s even done leg commercials for TV!), Pattie Brooks is a dedicated artist with a very distinctive style. With over forty years in the business she did a brief stint with the group “Friends Of Distinction” in the new millennium before the Nu Improved label remixed her greatest hit “After Dark” in 2006. The CD single with up to the minute remixes, was well received and spent several weeks on the U.S. club play chart.
Pattie is busy doing backgrounds these days, performing in her own right and touring frequently. We’ll forever be in love with “Our Miss Brooks.”