After years of studying Musical Theatre, Opera, ballet, tap, jazz, violin, and classical piano, Makeda traveled to New York City where she received a BFA in Acting from Marymount Manhattan College. While in New York, Makeda landed leading roles in the Off-Broadway productions of Road and The Colored Museum. One of the highlights of her career was touring throughout Northern Italy with famed Opera/Jazz singer, Cheryl Porter. As a result of her operatic studies, she is comfortable singing in many languages, including Italian, French, German, and Spanish.
A few months after arriving in Los Angeles, Makeda became a member of the world renowned Los Angeles Jubilee Singers, under the direction of Dr. Albert McNeil. While traveling with the Jubilee Singers, the coloratura soprano performed in operas such as Porgy and Bess and Carmen Jones. Makeda has also studied piano under Wycliff Gordon, trombonist for the Winton Marsalis Jazz Quintet.
Shortly after graduating from Pepperdine University (MA Psychology) Summa Cum Laud, Ms. Tene’ was cast in the musical, If You Don’t Believe: A Love Story, which was nominated for a 2005 NAACP Award for Best Play. The soul stirring musical, which featured the classic music of Deniece Williams, starred actress/singer Tatyana Ali, and was directed and produced by Michael Ajakwe, Jr. and Deniece Williams. In June 2007, Makeda world premiered her original One-Woman Show, “Love-In Concert”, at Lucy Florence Cultural Center in Los Angeles to sold-out audiences. She also toured the production in Georgia, and was featured on the renowned television program, “The Parade of Quartets” on ABC.
Other notable performances include: 2009 Verizon Wireless “How Sweet The Sound” Gospel Competition: Marvin Sapp noted that Makeda’s voice “reminds me of a young Kathleen Battle singing in the style of Porgy and Bess”; 2008 Holy Ghost Congress in Lagos, Nigeria (the Congress was also broadcast on LIVE TV throughout Nigeria and neighboring countries). “A remarkable performance by an American artiste, not only got all enraptured in a frenzy of worship, but calling for more when the time came for her to exit the stage”—Nigeriafilms.com; Guest International Artist at historic Wesley Church in Belize City, Belize; Featured Soloist for Claremont Institute’s Winston Churchill Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel; Vocalist for the 21st Annual New York Alumni Night of Nostalgia honoring Neil Sedaka and Mitzi Gaynor—Joan Mangum of the Beverly Hills Courier wrote, “ Robbie Britt and Makeda Tene’ opened the show with God Bless America (the most stirring rendition I’ve ever heard)…”; and Guest Soloist at City of Angels Church in Los Angeles—“An electrifying version of ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ was magnificently performed by Makeda Tene’”–Virgie Murray ,The Los Angeles Sentinel.