Peter Kind/Peter Arthur Photos
Ellis Hall is known as ‘The Ambassador of Soul” for many reasons. Hall is a prolific singer, songwriter, and musician that plays every instrument, has a strong 5 octave vocal range and was the lead vocalist/keyboardist for soul-funk band Tower of Power. He performs with most elite symphony orchestras worldwide including: His first being the Hollywood Bowl under the direction of his mentor Ray Charles. Since then he has performed with prestigious 81-piece orchestras including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with Marvin Hamlisch conducting to playing with the Boston Pops Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Symphony Orchestra, and most recently the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.
Ellis’ first orchestra concept show was “Ray, Motown and Beyond” featuring such hits as Motown’s Heard It Through the Grapevine and Tower of Power’s Some Days Were Meant for Rain. With the second half of the show paying tribute to Ray Charles featuring hit songs like, I Can’t Stop Loving You, Unchain My Heart, Hit the Road Jack, and Georgia on My Mind. In September 2016, he will debut his second show, “Soul Unlimited” (conducted by Jeff Tyzik) where he “Ellis-izes” songs from David Bowie’s Let’s Dance to Something by George Harrison (which Ellis recorded on his CD Straight Ahead featuring Billy Preston on organ).
Born in Savannah, Georgia and raised partly in Claxton, GA. Ellis has been blind since he was 18 years old, but that doesn’t stop him from is mission in life. In fact, it has been the driving force behind the creation of a 3,800 songs catalog full of Soul, Gospel, Blues and Pop compositions. Among these works is the official song for his hometown of Claxton Georgia. He has worked along side other greats such as Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle, Toby Keith, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Bobby Womack, George Duke, Sheila E., Kenny G and many more. In addition, he was one of the lead vocalists of the California Raisins.
Ellis has also successfully had his hand at Hollywood, recording and performing songs for live action and animated films such as “The Lion King 2,” “Shrek 2,” “Chicken Run,” “Invincible” and “Bruce Almighty". The Ambassador has even taken acting roles in “Big Momma’s House”(Martin Lawrence) and the crime drama “Catch Me If You Can” (Leonardo DiCaprio). Along with all of these amazing films that he was a part of, Mr. Hall was nominated for an Ovation Theater Award for his first stage role in “The Gospel At Colonus" where he not only sang and acted but also walked the stage and stair props with nearly no assistance.
Hall has a sense of humor which is uncanny, “When people ask me about my blindness, I tell them, ‘I didn’t pay the electric bill on time...so they cut the lights out on me!’” Says Hall as he make fun of himself.
For more detailed information on the legendary Ellis Hall explore his website @ www.ellishall.com