Yummy Bingham Biography
19-year old Yummy is music royalty. The godchild of both R&B legend Chaka Khan and "New Jack Swing King" Aaron Hall, Yummy has been surrounded by music since birth. Her father, noted music producer Osborne "Dinky" Bingham, Jr., has worked with New Edition, Kylie Minogue, Changing Faces, Bobby Brown and the ground-breaking trio Guy (he also served as the music director for the group).
Despite her pedigree, she was not born with the musical equivalent of a silver spoon in her mouth. Everything she has achieved thus far is a product of her tenacity and drive. "I can't quit," says Yummy. "I don't even know how. When I want something, nothing is going to stop me."
Her story begins, like many before her, in the church. But unlike some singers, it took her some years to understand her gift. "I never sang when I was young," explains Yummy, who actually started out as the drummer in her church. "Maybe in the shower or with a group of people. But never alone." In third grade, a music teacher noticed Yummy's unique vocals and enlisted her for a solo in a school concert. "I grew up around music but I was still nervous about being out there on my own. I had been constantly told that my voice was different. I didn't understand what that meant until I saw the impact I had on people when I sang."
Although music continued to be a part of her life, the majority of her childhood was dedicated to survival, not performing arts. In her early childhood, she lived in the housing projects of Queens with her parents and later moved around often with her mother. At ten, she was taken away from her mother due to allegations of abuse.
"From the age of 10 until 14, I was a wreck," explains Yummy. "I was doing any and everything." Refusing to shy away from her story, Yummy readily admits that at a very young age she was involved in activities shocking enough to fill a hardcore rap record. "It's not pretty where I'm from," she says. "Robberies, drug-dealing, shootouts, fights. I've been in it, around it and through it all." At fourteen, when most young people are just beginning to get into trouble, Yummy opted out of the street life. "It wasn't for me," she says definitively. "I was just sick of doing wrong." Recognizing her fate opened up doors quickly.
By junior high school, a demo she produced with her father caught the ear of Kay Gee, a veteran of rap group Naughty By Nature and producer for multi-platinum acts like Jaheim, Next, and Zhane. Kay Gee slipped Yummy into a group with two other young ladies and dubbed them Tha Rayne. Before the group separated, they gained accolades for their vocal contributions to Jaheim's hit record "Fabulous." The confines of the group stifled her creativity and eventually Yummy decided to strike out on her own. "Being a part of a group was a great introduction to learning the music business. We completed a record; went on promotional tours. Although ultimately, it didn't work out for us, I don't regret one minute of it. I'm applying those lessons to everything I do right now."
As a young girl at her father's knee in the studio, she met many people who called on her father for help with music. One of those people would become Rockwilder, the hip-hop super-producer noted for his work with Redman, Janet Jackson and Missy Elliott. "I was so honored that we were able to re-connect after all these years and he wanted to work with me. I'd been following his career all my life and I knew I wanted to work with him." Rockwilder freely admits that as an accomplished producer he doesn't have to experiment with new artists, declaring, "If I'm going to experiment, it's got to be someone who is new, has the potential for longevity and has a tremendous voice. And of course the family connection made it a beautiful match."
Rockwilder's magnetic, ear-shattering beats coupled with Yummy's melodic sound results in a frenetic, freewheeling approach to music. "She's bringing something extra," Rockwilder explains. "She's young, so her sound has that slight youthful quality. But she's also bringing powerful vocals that an older crowd will appreciate. And then, she's from the streets and she's been through the struggle and she's not toning that down, which brings her a whole new audience." Rockwilder is not just Yummy's producer. Together, they are a creative team who feed off each other to bring out the best in each other and her album, First Seed, reflects her story-telling infused with their energies: "playful, edgy, melodic and soulful."
Indeed, Yummy's debut, First Seed, is a kaleidoscope into the mind of a young woman who has seen more than she should have but has lived to write about it. All of her influences, from classic R&B to rock-and-roll, are represented on First Seed. "I can't commit to one genre of music. I've been influenced by it all and it comes out when I write and record."
That sentiment is evident on the head-snapping first single, "Come Get It" featuring Jadakiss. Yummy's eclectic vocals combine with a pulsating rhythm, a heavy bass-line and infectious harmonies to make for a surefire dance floor number. The added touch of Jadakiss' signature growl is a perfect combination. "Is It Good To You" is another raucous romp on the wild side. "I love that style," admits Yummy. "It's free and funky. Sometimes I can give attitude in my music and be provocative, but still tasteful."
Other standouts on include "I Don't Really," a dramatic track with a Latin feel and "Queens," a powerful ode to her favorite New York City borough. Yummy also takes on her past with "Just Leave," where she reflects on the days when life was difficult. "I wrote that song for every time in my life when I just wanted to bounce and get out of a situation I was in." In addition to addressing past difficulties, she writes about things she still struggles with today. "Time" is a sobering soliloquy on the grief and separation that still haunt her. "Everyone has their time to go and you have to deal with it," confesses Yummy. "I have a hard time grieving and I've had to do it more times than I can count."
Yummy is not your average 19-year old singer with a record deal. As a trained dancer, she takes her choreography as serious as her songwriting. She's forward thinking and business-minded, with a strong admiration for those who came before her. "I love the way Jay-Z parlayed his success as a musician into the business world. He's the model I want to emulate in the R&B world." As a partner in Muzic Parc Entertainment, she is also one of the music industry's youngest female executives. "I've seen the business from every side," says Yummy. It was inevitable that I would be involved at this level." Holding true to these aspirations, the rising star Yummy has collaborated with a range of top artists including Mary J. Blige, P. Diddy, and J.C. Chasez.
From the time she belted out Donny Hathaway's "For All We Know" as a bespectacled eighth-grader at an audition, Yummy's been on a collision course with destiny. She's seen the mountaintop and she's been racing for it since birth. There is a crowd of divas and wannabe-divas at the top. They've seen it all. Now they need to look-and move-back. Yummy is here. And the First Seed has been planted, nurtured and is ready to grow.
"I'm in this game because I love music, it's my passion and I'm doing it with people I love," Yummy makes clear. "As long as I have my Muzic Parc Family, I'm gonna keep grindin'."