Nicknamed the "Female Preacher," Lyn Collins was discovered in the early '70s along with her relatives Bootsy and Catfish Collins by James Brown, who was making the transition to the hardest funk phase of his career.
Lyn Collins was born June 12, 1948, in Abilene, TX, where she grew up; she began singing in her teens, waxing a tune called "Unlucky in Love" at age 14, and married a man who served both as her manager and as the local promoter for the James Brown Revue. Collins sent Brown a demo tape and he responded by essentially putting her on standby in 1970, when Marva Whitney left the Revue. Former vocalist Vicki Anderson elected to rejoin, however, so Brown instead invited Collins to come to Georgia for a recording session in early 1971, which produced the single "Wheel of Life." By the end of that year, Anderson was ready to leave again, and Collins officially joined the James Brown Revue. In 1972, Brown's People Records label released Collins' self-penned single "Think (About It)"; produced by Brown, it became her first and biggest hit, made her the most commercially successful female singer in Brown's camp, and was later sampled for the main vocal hook in the party rap classic "It Takes Two" by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock. Collins' first full-length album, also titled Think (About It), was released later in the year. Collins continued to record singles for Brown through 1973, also fulfilling her heavy touring commitments as a member of the Revue. Collins' second album, Check It Out if You Don't Know Me by Now, was released in 1975. She eventually became a backup session vocalist, also appearing on the soundtracks of the film Dr. Detroit and the TV series Fame. Around the late '80s/early '90s, Collins attempted a comeback as a dance-club diva, recording the house single "Shout" for Belgium's ARS label, and a self-penned track called "Break Your Heart" for an Italian label. In 1993, Collins' profile was given a boost by female dancehall reggae singer Patra, who invited Collins to perform on her hit remake of "Think (About It)"; partly due to the resulting interest, her two official albums were reissued in England and Holland. In addition, Collins' work has appeared on Polydor compilations like James Brown's Funky People and James Brown's Original Funky Divas, as well as the bootleg singles comp Female Preacher; she continued to tour and perform, most notably at the European Jazz/Funk Festival (in both 1998 and 1999) and the Montreux Jazz Festival. Shortly after returning from a European tour in February of 2005, Lyn Collins passed away on March 13 at the age of 56. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi