Charlotte loses internationally-recognized singer to COVID-19

Leslie Richardson dead at 52

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte has lost one of its finest musical talents

Leslie Richardson died from COVID-19, according to her husband Paul.  She was 52 years old.

Leslie was the incredible voice behind Leslie and Friends, the internationally recognized jazz and R&B group. She performed in such storied places such as Cleveland’s Severance Hall, the Apollo Theater and the John F. Kennedy Center for the performing arts, as well as appearing in many overseas venues including Japan and Spain.

According to her obituary, Leslie went on to Howard University where she was recognized for her amazing talent. She was a big part of campus culture, participating in plays and fashion shows; she was an integral part of the Howard University Choir. During her time at Howard, Leslie became a member of D.I.V.A. Inc. (Divine Intelligent Versatile Artists), a society for Women in the Arts.

Over the course of her career, Leslie shared the stage with such greats as Luther Vandross, Diana Ross, Bebe & Cece Winans, Kathleen Battle, and many others. She also performed at the United States Naval Observatory for former Vice President Al Gore and his wife at several intimate celebrations and holiday affairs during his term.

Leslie lent her amazing vocals as a background singer for Al Jarreau and most recently for Meli’sa Morgan, Alyson Williams and Christopher Williams.

WBTV was fortunate to have her appear on air several times.

Leslie is survived by her husband Paul Richardson; two step-daughters, Nancy Young and Elizabeth Lee; two grandsons, Graham and Price Lee; three granddaughters, Kaylee Lee, Indiana and Francis Young; her mother, Robbie Thompson, and sister, Karmen Farina; three nephews, Danny, Fiore, and Anthony Farina, and their wives and children.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Grier Funeral Services. Visitation will be Friday (August 7) with a virtual funeral to be held Saturday (August 8) at noon.

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