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Alumni Profile: Signe Anderson
Alumni Profile: Signe Anderson

Before Signe Anderson was the lead female vocalist for Jefferson Airplane, she was a PSU Viking. In 1959 Signe Anderson, then Signe Toly, was crowned Rose Festival Princess of Lincoln High School and awarded a $1500 scholarship. Upon graduation Anderson attended Portland State University from 1960 - 1963, where she majored in speech, taking classes in French, theater and performing in campus musicals. Her mother wanted her to attend Oregon State, but Anderson said, "On $1500 I can afford PSU. I can go to college right here! And we lived right up the hill; I can hitch a ride down to Salmon Street or take the 51 bus."

A respected jazz and folk singer, Anderson left Portland for San Francisco in 1964, singing anywhere she could get on stage. There she met Jerry Anderson and Jefferson Airplane was formed. Anderson was with Jefferson Airplane until 1966, after the birth of her first daughter Anderson says, "To provide the kind of life I wanted for my child, I knew I wanted to be in Portland."

In October, Anderson was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. A longtime resident of NE 45th and Fremont, Anderson describes the support her neighborhood showed at the ceremony: "they came out of the woodwork! Even schoolchildern attended!"

Anderson has had a successful music career here in Portland; singing with the Carl Smith band and other local acts. When asked about her success Anderson gives simple advice, "I never missed a rehearsal, I never disrespected the other members of the band, and I never burnt a bridge. That's the way you stay connected."

Anderson has two daughters, and recently moved to Aloha, OR to be near her family. 50 years after Jefferson Airplane's first album, Chauffeur Blues, Anderson is still proud to call Portland home. "This has been my town for 70 years."