The daughter of Reverend James and Mrs. Eula Towns, Rhonda is no stranger to Country Music. Rhonda made her debut as a country music singer on Ed McMahon's Star Search as a champion female country music artist. "I was loving and singing to country music when country music was really not that popular. I loved country music because it sound so much like what I grew up on singing in church".
Rhonda's love for music goes back to when she was a little girl singing in the church choir where her father was the Pastor at the tender age of four years old. Old southern hymns and upbeat contemporary country gospel songs were always heard from the choir stand on Sunday mornings.
Rhonda, who is affectionately nicknamed Sissy, would entertain her classmates with songs from church at school in the gym when it was too cold or rainy to go outside and on the school bus on the ride home after school. Classmates would always beg Rhonda to sing another song. Rhonda won her first talent shows at her elementary school for two consecutive years in the school's talent competition. Rhonda drew attention from a local country music television show that invited Rhonda to become a regular talent. After serious family discussions and careful consideration, the decision was made to decline the offer as her mother and father decided Rhonda was too young to begin a music career. Her education was paramount and Rhonda concentrated on school.
Rhonda was very active and involved in church and school activities. She participated in public speaking, volleyball, track and field, student body government, cheerleading, and of course the school choir. Rhonda attended college and pursued vocal training. Rhonda became a valued member of the university gospel choir.
Rhonda's musical influences are Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Reba, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, and Vince Gill. "Reba has such strength and power in her voice. Patsy was soulful, bluesy, and had a unique country sound. She was way before her time. Loretta Lynn has an authentic sweet country voice I truly believe is an extension of her personality. Dolly Parton is the most amazing female country music singer songwriter of all times. Of all these remarkable entertainers, Rhonda will tell you that her mother has made the biggest impression on her life and her career. "My mother is my earthly spiritual partner. She has guided me through almost every challenge in my life and in the pursuit of my dreams. Her motto is 'There is no such thing as can't...and...if they can do it, you can do it too!'."
To compliment her simply natural talents as a country music singer, Rhonda's motivation is moved by her genuine love of traditional country music and spiritual guidance... and for her there is a definite relationship between the two.
Rhonda immediately started establishing herself within the country music community in Nashville as a country music artist after appearing on Ed McMahon's Star Search. She soon after attracted the attention of producer Norro Wilson (Kenny Chesney/Reba/Sara Evans/Shania Twain) after sending in a demo of cover tunes to the A&R Department of Mercury Records. "Shannon Finnigan set up a meeting for me with Norro Wilson. My husband and I took my karaoke box with us to the meeting and Norro told me to go back home and send him a demo. My husband immediately said, "Wait a minute! We flew all the way from Phoenix, Arizona, she's going to sing for you right now!" So he took the karaoke box out of the suitcase, set it up and I performed for Norro "A Picture of Me Without You".
"He decided that he would produce the first four songs on me including "Slow Rain". I did not have to go back home and do that demo for him after all!" Norro Wilson died June 8, 2017.
Soon after, Rhonda appeared on "Today's Country" with Crook 'n' Chase, Good Morning Atlanta, Good Morning Arizona, Sonoran Living/Channel 15, Fox 10 News/Phoenix, Arizona, "First Annual Black Country Music Show" in Atlanta, Georgia, The Famous Bluebird Cafe, Douglas Comer, and Cafe Milano while appearing on shows for the Black Country Music Association in Nashville. Soon numerous featured mainstream media articles were written about Rhonda's undeniable talent. In 2000 Rhonda made her debut appearance in Zurich as a headliner at the "I6th Annual International Concert of Switzerland" followed by her national appearance and performance on the BET Network. This officially made her the first black female Country Music Artist to debut in Switzerland and the “Live From L.A. Show” on the BET Network.
Rhonda attracted the attention of Jim Cotton who passed away July 2, 2003 (Billy Ray Cyrus, Alabama, Montgomery Gentry) and Harold Shedd (Alabama, Toby Keith, Billy Ray Cyrus, Shania Twain). Jim Cotton and Harold Shedd produced five songs together for Rhonda before he died. Rhonda was inspired by Martina McBride at Christmas time to finish the album when she heard her singing "O Holy Night" a cappella on the radio. "I had nine songs by three amazing producers. I thought to myself, "I learned to sing without music! That's how I'm going to finish this album! So I called producer Billy Williams (Lyle Lovett’s producer who lived in Phoenix) and asked him to help me lay one track for "The Lord's Prayer" just me singing a cappella. The album was finished!" Rhonda decided to officially launch her own independent country music label called Dawn Records right from her house in Arizona.
In June of 2005 with not much knowledge of how to secure radio airplay, Rhonda used herself as the "guinea pig" to see if country music radio stations would play her song on the radio. She asked her friend and mentor, producer, icon and former label head Harold Shedd to refer her to a radio music promoter who would help market her music to country music radio stations to get her song heard on country music radio. Her gut feelings proved to be right and Rhonda received very warm and welcoming response from her first release "I Wanna Be Loved By You". The doubt and skepticism had finally been broken.
In April 2006 she followed up with a second release from her album song titled "Somethin' Better" written by Bo Allen which officially charted on the Music Row Panel. Rhonda Towns "Somethin' Better" video also received strong video airplay in markets across the United States. Rhonda had truly initiated and helped to bridge the gap between age and color lines in country music since Charley Pride for women of color in the 21st Century.
All the hard work of finally launching Dawn Records and releasing two singles from her debut album Rhonda Towns "I Wanna Be Loved By You" proved to be challenging and a ground breaking milestone for Rhonda in the genre of country music. Since the early l980's there had been no other woman of color since Ruby Falls to get radio airplay on country music radio stations. There are many groundbreaking accomplishments that Rhonda has achieved as a true pioneer in the country music industry which cannot go unnoticed. Her determination, faith and drive has inspired and attracted many others of color to pursue music careers in the country music industry as she continues her pursuit and career in country music.
Challenges and personal life experiences caused Rhonda to remove herself from the music industry scene. After almost an eighteen month break Rhonda was inspired by music director Michael Sexton WCOK Sparta, North Carolina to release her next single "Slow Rain".
Rhonda had not intended to release another single from this album. "The single is timeless traditional country music and was released "by request". I had really been concentrating on my next project and I had no set plans to officially release another single from this album. I received a call from Michael who told me that a listener requested "Slow Rain" one night.
"So I asked him to test "Slow Rain" for me." The response was positive and very encouraging. "You see, "Slow Rain" is one of the first songs I recorded with producer Norro Wilson when I started going to Nashville after debuting on Star Search". Rhonda immediately got other music directors and program directors to help her test "Slow Rain" and she decided to officially release "Slow Rain" written by Dobie Gray (Drift Away), Bud Reneau, and Ricky Ray Rector on May 22, 2008.
Rhonda called up her dear friend Norro Wilson to give her a quote for the song. “When we recorded ‘Slow Rain,’ it was a little out of the box from what we were trying to accomplish, but we did it anyway,” said producer Norro Wilson. “...and like a lot of records, sometimes a little magic hits the ears ---- that’s what happened here and we loved it. Even after this bit of time, it still sounds good. Good release, good idea and good job, Rhonda. Rhonda Towns has the looks, great communication qualities and more love for the business than anyone I know. She’s not going to give up!”
Since the release of "Slow Rain" it was featured in "Country Weekly Magazine", charted #3 highest position on country New Music Weekly Charts, tied #1 for six weeks on AllAboutCountry.com with Kid Rock's "All Summer Long", #2 as an Independent artist, # l on Real Country Radio in Japan, and officially charting #5 l on the Nashville “Music Row” Charts.
Rhonda's professional history includes working as a model, appearing in television commercials for Maxwell House, Toyota, Blue Diamond Almonds, Mazda, Arizona Lotto/Arizona Lottery, and Arizona Health Department. Runway and advertising print work for Dillard's, K-mart (Jaclyn Smith Line), Reba Wear, and fashion designer Lori Weidner all under the direction of Ruth Leighton of the Leighton Agency, Inc., Scottsdale, Arizona. Rhonda also appeared in the national Blue Diamond Almond and Petsmart commercials, and most recently, the regional commercials for Grand Canyon University (GCU) Christian College, Phoenix.
Rhonda also gives back to her community by supporting the non-profit organizations Make-A-Wish Arizona, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Save the Family Foundation of Arizona, and MAM (Military Assistance Mission).
Music has been a part of Rhonda's life as far as she can remember. Even though her journey has been challenging in country music, she still believes that hard work, honesty and values will always shine through and the rewards for that will be fulfilling.
In 2009 Rhonda went on an almost twelve year hiatus because so much in her personal life started falling apart again, but she quietly and secretly came back to Nashville in 2010 and back in 2012, getting engineer producer Billy Sherrill to help her record new songs that she did not know when she would be able to release them. She also had no idea what was ahead of her. In 2015 her 22 year marriage ended in divorce. “It was a very hurtful, emotional, sad and isolating time in my life. It took me a long time to heal. I didn’t even want to sing again. It is a new day in my life!”
“I’m very excited about my new beginning. I’m excited because I have come a long way! Today is a different day! My new single “Walking In Your Wonderful Light” is my resurrection song. It is the promise of my Heavenly Father …. that HE would bring me back to my true love, and that is to perform and sing for HIM. I learned to trust in HIM, completely and totally, during the process of my healing—while walking in HIS wonderful light…And I’m ready to share the new music and my heart once again.”