Renee Najour-Payne

I am proud to say that I am one of the rare Atlanta, Georgia natives: A southern belle, a Georgia Peach… well, you get it. I began to work full-time after my father had a medical emergency that kept him from working his customary long hours. I decided to leave college and focus on running the business with my brother. While working at the restaurant, I began to pursue my passion, and began studying voice more frequently with some amazing teachers: Jeanne Brown McDonald, Sally Priester, Courtenay Collins, and Michael Monroe. Performing in community theaters and some semi-professional theaters in Atlanta, I ventured out and tried a little bit of everything. I sang with a Women’s Barbershop Choir and spent four seasons singing at the Georgia Renaissance Festival with a wonderful group of musician friends. We called ourselves “The Atlanta Notables,” a four-part a cappella ensemble. This kind of music touched my soul, and I was in harmony heaven! The Notables also appeared at private events during the Holiday season, at weddings, and other special events. I knew this was something special, and that I needed more. And so it goes! A lot of my customers at our restaurant knew I was a singer and they were always interested in whatever I was doing musically or theatrically at the time. Occasionally, I would burst out into some kind of a song or vocal warm-up while I was working: The always favorite and unexpected, Operatic Tomahawk Chop, while the Braves played in the world series on the overhead television screens, caused a lot for fun and funny reactions from our customers. I was cast and began to sing regularly with The Southeastern Savoyards, Atlanta’s Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Company, today known as The Atlanta Lyric Theatre. I enjoyed performing with the company for almost ten years. As I continued to perform in semi-professional theater throughout the Atlanta area, I continued my vocal studies and participated in a variety of theatrical workshops at The Alliance Theater, Actors Express and Horizon Theater, including a Master Audition Class with Tony Award Winning Actor/Singer, Schuler Hensley. Raised in the Lebanese Maronite Catholic Church, I cantored and sang in choirs both In English and Arabic/Aramaic. I continued to sing there throughout my college years, but soon many musician friends encouraged me to join in singing with a Contemporary Ensemble in the Roman Catholic Church. I have cantored at numerous Catholic churches in Atlanta and sung at a multitude of weddings, funerals, and ceremonial church events. I am and always will be comfortable singing in a variety of multi-denominational Christian ceremonial events. It is a blessing to be involved in and consumed by something that is so important to me in my life. I am not someone that just “loves” to sing — I “live” to sing! Let me sing for you!

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