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The innovative, jazzy singer known as Pru (born Pru Renfro) was raised as the youngest of four children by her mother, Patsy, in Houston's South Park section. Her mother was a free spirit who encouraged Pru's creativity and occasionally brought her to work with her at the nightclub where she tended bar, allowing Pru to perform in between acts. Attending a performing arts high school helped nurture her creative talents and by the time she headed off to college at Texas Southern University, she was well on her way to developing her singing style. She traveled to L.A. hoping to emulate some of the great singers whom she had been recently exposed to, like Cassandra Wilson and Dianne Reeves. She worked in bars and nightclubs frequented by industry mavens in the hope of networking with the powers that be in the music industry. Her songwriting earned her the first bits of attention and provided a crucial break for her when she was signed by Warner/Chappell Music Publishing and was brought to the attention of Roy Lott at Capitol Records. He was impressed not only with her songwriting skills, but also with her versatile voice, which had developed a unique style that traveled in some of the same directions as the more creative interpreters of R&B, like Lauryn Hill, Macy Gray, and Erykah Badu. Pru polished her singing style while working on tour with the Family Stand and members of Sade's band, and Capitol released her self-titled solo debut in November, 2000. Pru showed off her songwriting skills by penning 12 of the 13 tracks on the album, including the debut single, "Candle," which borrowed lyrical and musical inspiration from Smokey Robinson's "Tracks of My Tears."