Vicki Vann (born July 14, 1980) is an American country music artist, model and actress. Her father was born in Mississippi and was one of the original founding members of the Grammy Award Winning Gospel Group, Mighty Clouds of Joy. Her mother, whose family origin is from Oklahoma and Texas was born in California and earned money as a print model for print ads as well as television. Vicki Vann is often referred to as the Cinderella of country music and was chosen to appear as a featured artist in a Country Music Television documentary called "Waiting in the Wings." The documentary focuses on the ongoing struggles of the African American music artist in the country music industry.
Born Vicki Denise Turnbough in Los Angeles, California; she grew up among the foothills and beaches of Southern California. As a young girl, she was exposed to various types of music, such as gospel, jazz, and country, however, her love for country music grew very strong. Vicki veered toward country music after being exposed to many other genres of music at an early age. Among her musical influences are Crystal Gayle, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, The Judds, Karen Carpenter, Linda Ronstadt, Marie Osmond, Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, Patsy Cline, and Loretta Lynn. But perhaps her greatest musical influence of all was her very own dad, despite the fact that her father, a Baptist minister, was a member of the world famous gospel group, Mighty Clouds of Joy . Recognizing his daughter's talent, Vicki's dad wanted her to become the next Aretha Franklin, but the talented beauty had other plans. While attending high school in Pasadena, California she was named Homecoming Princess and voted most shy among her high school classmates. Vann later attended Occidental College where she earned a degree in psychology, and graduate school soon followed where she earned a Master's degree in Education from Azusa Pacific University. Following graduation Vicki decided to become a kindergarten teacher. "I love kids! They're so honest and beautiful to me, and always willing to listen to me sing! I had a chance to help shape the future of these kids. I made a difference by being their first official teacher!" While teaching school by day, Vicki was gigging with her band at night and on weekends all around Southern California at street fairs, festivals, and speedways. She performed in Nashville on her first trip to Tennessee and set up a booth at Fan Fair, currently CMA Music Festival. She gathered up some players and traveled to Zürich, Switzerland to play the 39 Days of Country Music Festival there alongside Pam Tillis and Neal McCoy. After such a hectic performing schedule for about four years, Vicki said 'Goodbye' to her kindergarten students and decided to pursue her singing career full time. Vicki Vann had decided to pursue a professional career in country music. "I fell in love with country music because most country songs have a story. They have a beginning, a middle, and an end. I'm a story-teller and so it fits. I really get into the lyrics.....they make me laugh, and they make me cry."
Vicki Vann songs are beautifully crafted to reflect an effortless, dynamic, and soothing voice that displays an artist who is deeply rooted in traditional sounds as well as current country music trends. It's a pleasure to just sit back and listen. She sings with an unmistakable clear diction which is rare these days in music. Vicki Vann is one of country music's hottest new artists. Her CD titled Dream Catcher was released to popular acclaim and her single This Is Where I Get Off moved up the charts in 30 countries. Vicki Vann is one of the most requested female artists on the international country music scene. Vicki's CD Dream Catcher was one of 2005's hottest country music releases. During an interview she was asked what it was like to have CMT's (Country Music Television) cameras following her around when she appeared in the documentary Waiting In The Wings. "I was tickled pink! I wanted them to follow me everywhere! I thought, how cool is this to have cameras shooting me as I go about my day, having coffee, talking to my doggie, puttin' my make up on, getting ready for a gig, etc. It was all very surreal. I told myself to remember that feeling because that doesn't come along too often in one's lifetime. I savored it for every moment." In a collection of African American contributions to country music listening to these compilations becomes a game of rethinking what country music is. Can you hear the country in Ruth Brown's rhythm and blues version of the country standard "Tennessee Waltz"? Can you hear a Merle Haggard type twang in the voice of Stoney Edwards on "Honky Tonk Heaven"? Or conversely, can you hear the "soul," (which is to say "blackness") in the honky-tonk piano and pedal steel of Vicki Vann's "You Must Think My Heart Has Swinging Doors"?Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum member Charley Pride speaks candidly about launching his career during the civil rights movement of the 1960s during an interview for the new CMT documentary, Waiting in the Wings: African-Americans in Country Music. While the 90-minute program highlights more than a century of contributions to country music by African-Americans, it also questions why few have become successful country artists. Looking to the future, Waiting in the Wings showcases five young African-American artists, of which include vocalist Vicki Vann.