A Minneapolis native, Taja Sevelle built her recording career singing in jazz and R&B bands and she assembled her own band, managed and funded it, recorded music, distributed it to local stores in Minneapolis and garnered shows and local airplay. After appearing as an extra in Purple Rain, Taja’s life took a twist when she was accepted into the Berklee College of Music in the same week that she was offered a record deal from Prince. Prince originally asked Taja to be in a new girl band that he planned to put together, but quickly realized that she was a solo artist. He gave Taja more creative freedom than any other artist at that time, and allowed her to write four songs on her debut CD. He asked the President of Warner Brothers Records, Lenny Waronker to work with her, along with Michael Ostin and Benny Medina, who executive produced her debut CD. Prince wrote two songs on the CD: Wouldn’t You Love to Love Me? and If I Could Get Your Attention. Prince also allowed Taja to re-write the lyrics for bridge of If I Could Get Your Attention. The first song she had ever written was Love is Contagious. Prince loved the song, and the team decided to release it as a first single. They also decided to re-launch Frank Sinatra’s dormant label, Reprise, with Taja Sevelle as the first artist. She became the only artist to work with Prince who was on Paisley Park / Warner Brothers and Reprise Records simultaneously.
From Minneapolis to Hollywood, “Love is Contagious,” became a charted Billboard hit in America and Europe. Suddenly she was promoting her debut CD and rapidly becoming a well mentored songwriter. On her second CD for Paisley / Warner / Reprise, Taja co-wrote with Burt Bacharach and Thom Bell, as well as David Paich. She also signed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music Publishing, writing songs with legendary songwriters around the world. Her song catalog has over 240 songs and has songs placed with artists Arrested Development and Johnny Mathis among others.
In 1998, after a bidding war with nine major record labels, Taja signed a $1.2 million deal with Sony 550. She worked directly with Tommy Mottola and Poly Anthony and released her third CD, Toys of Vanity. Taja recorded the CD in Detroit, Michigan with producer, RJ Rice and co-wrote the song, US with Nile Rodgers on the CD.
Prince also supported Taja’s philanthropic endeavors. While Taja recorded Toys of Vanity in Detroit, she began to see the amount of poverty due to job loss in the city as well as the excess amount of unused land. In 2005, she founded Urban Farming™, a 501c3 with the mission to “Create an Abundance of Food for All in Our Generation.” Prince helped to support the charity from the beginning. The organization began by planting 3 gardens of free food in Detroit and there are now over 63,400 gardens in 61 countries around the world that are a part of the Urban Farming Global Food Chain®. Prince donated a portion of his perfume sales to Urban Farming and did a benefit concert for the organization in New York.
Taja Sevelle and the work of Urban Farming has been featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, CNN, the Montel Williams Show, NPR National, the BBC, Fox National, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and over 30,000 other media outlets. In addition to Prince, Urban Farming™ has also garnered celebrity support from the music and film industry: including T.I., Richard Lewis and his wife, Joyce Lapinsky, Zac Brown Band, Keke Palmer, and Ed Begley Jr., among others. Taja and Urban Farming are featured in an episode of Urban Conversion (PBS, Create TV) and with Forest Whitaker and Quincy Jones III in a healthy lifestyle documentary, Feel Rich.
In 2014 Taja’s new song, Little Diva, went to Top 40 on the Pop/Dance charts in the UK. Belber, the iconic luxury handbag and luggage company has joined up with Taja Sevelle to promote Little Diva and the song is slated for a US release in 2016.
Ms. Sevelle also invented a kitchen appliance and partnered on the invention with Larry King and his wife Shawn King. She holds 3 Patents for her invention. Additionally, Taja has authored three books: From the Root: 8 Ways to Balance and Change le Monde and two novels, Rain on a River and 49 Days. She has co-written a script for 49 Days.
Taja Sevelle speaks all over the world and has been a keynote speaker in over 85 press conferences including: the Yale Sustainable Agriculture Panel; The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Songwriters Panel in New York; the National Black Caucus Panel on Food Deserts in Washington, D.C. and The Farm Credit Council Convention in Washington, D.C. She has received several notable awards for her philanthropic work.