Born in Houston and living there still, Diunna Greenleaf was raised by her gospel singing parents, and further influenced by blues and soul singers, some of whom were guests in her home growing up. With a master’s degree in educational counseling, Greenleaf came to a music career late. Today Diunna and her band Blue Mercy perform at festivals nationwide and in Europe, and this will be a return visit for her to the stages of the Chicago Blues Festival. For many years she was a frequent guest vocalist with the Muddy Waters Tribute Band.
She first recorded in 2004 when she issued Crazy But Live in Houston, the first of three CDs thus far. Greenleaf was the winner of the 2008 Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut for her Cotton Field to Coffee House. In 2014 she was the 2014 and 2017 winner of the Koko Taylor Award for Traditional Blues Female, and was Living Blues magazine’s Critics’ Choice 2015 Female Artist of the Year. Her latest release, Trying to Hold On, reached #1 on XM/Sirius Radio Bluesville, #1 on French Blues charts, #1 on the December 2012 radio charts as reported in Living Blues magazine, and reached the top of blues charts in UK, Australia and the USA.
Greenleaf served for three years as the first female president of the Houston Blues Society, during which time she helped produce the Willie Mae Thornton Blues Festival. Diunna has been actively involved in Blues In Schools programs throughout Texas, and was one of the founders of the Friends of Blues of Montgomery County.