Daughters of actress Florez Sledge and Broadway tap dancer Edwin Sledge, four sisters from Philly;Debbie, Joni, Kim and Kathy,were never short of creative inspiration growing up.
Fed on a rich dietof music and culture, the girls were taughtto sing by their dear grandmother Viola Beatrix Williams, an acclaimed opera soprano.
They soon formed amulti-lead vocal groupcharminglyknownas “Mrs. Williams Granddaughters”,and began performing at church events and local clubs.
Inspiration struck one evening when thequartet wereaccidentally announced as “The SistersSledge”and Sister Sledge,wasdulyborn!
Experiencing early chart success with the 1974 single Love Don’tYou Go Through No Changes on Me,juggling school life with tour life soon became the normfor the sisters and their manager mom.
International acclaim soon beckoned and the Philly fourfound themselves adventuringto countriesas far afield as Japan for the Tokyo Music Festival,and Zaire, Africa to perform atthe legendary Rumble in the Jungleboxing event.
Little did theyknow this was but a taste of the worldwide fame they were soon to experience…1979’s We are Familypropelled the groupin to the musical stratosphere.
Produced by Nile Rodgersand Bernard Edwardsof the Chic Organization, the iconic album is widely acknowledged to have birthed some of the greatest dancefloor anthems of all time!
He’s the Greatest Dancer, Lost in Musicand Thinking of Youare universally loved songs springing from the golden age of dance music.
The albums seminal title track We are Familybecamea worldwide smash.The songwas consequently shared across the planet as a joyfulcelebration of connectionand togetherness, including by The World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates who adopted it as their anthemduring the World Series.
Now icons of music and fashion, the group embarkedon a worldwide tour of wildly energetic shows that lasted for 3 years,refining theircraft as first-rate performers.
Showcasing their own brand of energetic 80’s groove, the All-American Girlsenjoyedfurther chart success with producer Narada Michael Waldenand their self-produced album The Sisters.
In 1985, the singleFrankieremainedat number 1 in the UK for 4 weeksand was a certified Gold hit.In 1989 with her sisters blessing, Kathy left the group and the trio thereafter enjoyed further success in Europe with the single World Rise and Shine.
Theiracclaimed 9thstudio album African Eyeswaswritten and produced by Joni Sledge and nominated for a GRAMMYas Best Produced CD.
In December 2000, the Sledges were invited to perform for the Clintonsat The White House. The sisters continued to tour the world and in 2004 braved stormy weather to sing to 150,000 on the pyramid stage at the UK’s famed Glastonbury festival.
In 2015, Sister Sledgewere honored to be invited to perform for Pope Francisin their home townPhiladelphiaat the World Meetingof Families, alongside Andrea Bocelli and the late Aretha Franklin.
The following year, the ladies marched with Annie Lennoxat the annual Walk in her Shoescharity event and performed new music at the WOW (Women of the World) festival in London. Tragically, Joni Sledgepassed away in 2017.
Today founding members Debbie and Kim Sledge continue to perform as Sister Sledgeand honorJoni’s strength, talent and spiriton stagewith their amazing band, thankful for the lasting impact Joniundoubtedly made in the world.
Realizing the power of their platform, philanthropic ambitions have also shaped the present for the duo.
In 2018, the Nothing is Greater than Lovecharity foundation was set up in Joni’s memory, as a resource to empower women and fund under-privileged young people in Arts-based education.
Over the years, Sister Sledgehas amassed a string of Gold and Platinum records, accumulating total sales of over 15,000,000worldwide.
They have earned over 100 awards and commendations, garnering GRAMMYNominations for Record of the Year and Best R&B Duo or group, along the way