As of 2010, jazz singer Deejha Marie Pope has been lead vocalist in Sue Palmer’s Motel Swing Orchestra for a decade. Her professional career was launched years ago, after she and her all-vocal group Pieces sang their way to victory on a now-defunct network television game show.
“We won The Gong Show,” she says. “I still have the trophy at my house.”
in December 2009, she was inducted into the African American Musicians Heritage Foundation Hall of Fame, in a ceremony at the Elementary Institute of Science in San Diego. She joins other local honorees that include Hollis Gentry, Jimmie and Jeannie Cheatham, Cynthia Hammond, Barbara Jamerson, Charles McPherson, James Moody, Jesse Davis, and dozens more.
“I used to go sit in their audiences,” Pope says, “and just, like, dream of being up onstage with them.… I feel like I’ve accomplished something in my life.”
Pope later relocated to L.A.