Sunday, March 28, 2010

Diana King

Diana King (born on November 8, 1970 in Spanish Town, Jamaica) is a reggae\R&B singer who started her career in the '90s.

In 1993, she was featured on the movie soundtrack to "Cool Runnings" with the song "Stir It Up" which peaked at #53 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 11 weeks.

After she appeared on the Notorious B.I.G's song, "Respect" in 1994, Diana was signed to Sony Music.

In 1995, Diana released her debut album "Tougher Than Love" which peaked at #179 on the Billboard 200, #85 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart, #6 on Billboard's Heatseekers Albums chart and #3 on Billboard's Top Reggae Albums chart.
The first single from the album (and her biggest hit to date) "Shy Guy" peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, #15 on Billboard's Top 40 Mainstream chart, #8 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart, #20 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart and #21 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 20 weeks.

It also peaked at #2 on the UK Singles chart and topped the Eurochart Hot 100, selling nearly 500 million copies worldwide. The song was featured on the movie soundtrack to "Bad Boys" and was certified Gold by the RIAA.
The second single "Love Triangle" failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, but managed to peak at #85 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 5 weeks.
The last single from the album "Ain't Nobody" peaked at #94 on the Billboard Hot 100, #4 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart, #44 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart, #36 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart and #63 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 9 weeks.
In 1997, Diana released her sophomore album "Think Like a Girl" which topped Billboard's Top Reggae Albums chart, but didn't chart on the Billboard 200.
The first single, a cover version of Dionne Warwick's song "I Say a Little Prayer," peaked at #38 on the Billboard Hot 100, #8 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart, #5 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart, #29 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart and #68 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 16 weeks.

The song was featured on the movie soundtrack to "My Best Friend's Wedding."
The second single "L-L-Lies" peaked at #71 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #67 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 18 weeks. The last single, "Find My Way Back" failed to chart at all on the Billboard charts.

In 1997, Diana was featured on the soundtrack to the documentary "When We Were Kings" with the title track featuring Brian McKnight. The song failed to chart at all on the Billboard charts.

In 1998, she joined Brownstone and Celine Dion on stage to perform Diana's song from her debut album, "Treat Her Like a Lady" at the Essence Awards where they received a standing ovation.

During that same year, Diana appeared on Soul Train, the RuPaul Show, and Vibe to promote her sophomore album.

In 1999, she did a 5-city tour in India and in 2000, she signed a record deal with Madonna's Maverick Records label.
In 2002, Diana released her third album, "Respect" which wasn't released in the US until the summer of 2006 where it's available on Amazon.com.

In 2007, she co-wrote & recorded the song "The Light Within" with German reggae artist Gentleman for his "Another Intensity" album. She also had female music duo Brick & Lace join her on one of her concerts as back-up singers.

In 2010, Diana's music recording label ThinkLikeAgirL Music Inc. through a licensing deal with Warner Music Japan. On September 22, 2010, her fourth album "Warrior Gurl" was released in Japan.

An upgraded version of the album was later released digitally in the United States on iTunes and
other major online music stores (under the title "Agirlnameking") on November 8, 2012.

On June 28, 2012, Diana declared that she was a lesbian on her official Facebook page. On December 16, 2012, she was presented with the prestigious Vanguard Award at the Out Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is one of the first Jamaican artists to ever publicly come out.

To see Diana's official website, go to:
http://www.dianakingdom.com

To see Diana's official Facebook page, go to:
https://www.facebook.com/DIANAKINGDOM

To see the music video for "Shy Guy," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyHkutiTYoQ

To see the music video for "I Say a Little Prayer," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm62Aa4ahs8

To see the music video for "Ain't Nobody," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJSVh8fSwe8

To see the music video for "Love Triangle," go to:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRhrSz3eY6k

[updated on 03\08\14]

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Vanity

Vanity (born Denise Katrina Matthews on January 5, 1959 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada) was a singer\model\actress who became a part of Prince's short-lived girl group, Vanity 6.

Growing up, Vanity's childhood was what she called "a broken home" when her parents divorced, her mother struggled with alcoholism, and her father became abusive. She spent most of her childhood moving back and forth with her parents & relatives.

Vanity started her career doing beauty pageants and at age 18, she moved to New York to pursue her career. Her modeling career mostly consisted of commercials & photoshoots and she starred in a few B-movies.

In 1982, Vanity met Prince at a backstage party for the 1982 American Music Awards where she was working as a model that night. Prince named her Vanity and later that year, she became the lead singer for Prince's girl group, Vanity 6.

Vanity 6 received moderate success, but in 1983, Vanity left the group. There are a couple reasons why she left the group such as wanting more money for the "Purple Rain" movie she was originally in, Vanity's relationship with Prince fell apart and they argued about her crack cocaine addiction.
In 1984, Vanity signed to Motown Records and released her debut solo album, "Wild Animal" which peaked at #72 on the Billboard 200 and #14 on Billboard's R&B albums chart.
Her first single "Pretty Mess" peaked at #75 on the Billboard Hot 100, #13 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play Singles chart and #15 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 14 weeks.
The second single from the album "Mechanical Emotion" peaked at #107 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart and #23 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 13 weeks. R&B singer Morris Day provided backing vocals on the song.

In 1985, Vanity was featured on the soundtrack to the movie "The Last Dragon" with the song "7th Heaven."
In 1986, Vanity released her second album "Skin on Skin" which peaked at #66 on the Billboard 200 and #18 on Billboard's R&B albums chart.
Her highest chart appearance to date "Under the Influence" peaked at #56 on the Billboard Hot 100, #18 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart and #9 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 14 weeks.
The follow-up single from the album "Animals" flopped. Vanity was dropped from Motown, so she signed to A&M Records and later moved on to Geffen Records.

In 1988, she recorded a few songs for the "Action Jackson" movie soundtrack with "The Time" member Jesse Johnson along with working on a third album with producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, but the album was never released which ended Vanity's music career.

Vanity went on to star in a few television shows and movies, but she soon gave up her "Vanity" persona to become a born-again Christian in 1994.

The reason for that was she nearly died from the effects of crack cocaine and according to Vanity, she was on life support and had three days to live in the hospital. She says that Jesus spoke to her and saved her if she gave up her "Vanity" persona. She had a kidney transplant in 1997 and due to her long-term drug use, she was placed on dialysis.

Vanity became an evangelist, traveling at churches overseas & in the United States. In 2010, she released her autobiography called "Blame it on Vanity: Hollywood, Hell and Heaven."

Sadly on February 15, 2016, Vanity passed away in a hospital in Fremont, California due to renal failure. She was 57 years old. Rest in peace, Vanity. You will always be remembered.

To see the music video for "Pretty Mess," go to:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xie0sn_vanity-pretty-mess_music

To see the music video for "Under the Influence," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn6hF_dCgGU

To see the music video for "7th Heaven," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9r9Qc_ZoOY

To see a fan-made video for "Mechanical Emotion," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSCI8pk_kcU

 [Updated on 02\18\2016]

Vanity 6\Apollonia 6

Vanity 6 was a female pop trio that was created by Prince who suggested that his girlfriend Susan Moonsie, Boston native Brenda Bennett and his personal assistant, Jamie Shoop should form a girl group originally called the Hookers.

The original members of Vanity 6 recorded a few demos before Prince met actress\model
Denise Matthews, thought she'd be perfect for the girl group and the two started dating.

Once Denise was in the trio, Jamie was dropped and Denise was now "Vanity." With the new trio all ready, Prince changed the group's name to "Vanity 6."
In 1982, Vanity 6 released their self-titled debut album which didn't appear to chart at all on the Billboard charts.
Their first single, "He's So Dull" didn't make any impact on the charts, but appeared in the movie, "National Lampoon's Vacation."
Their second single "Nasty Girl" became a hit, peaking at #101 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, topped Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart and #7 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 18 weeks.

The song was featured on the soundtrack to the movie "Beverly Hills Cop" even though it wasn't featured on the soundtrack.
Vanity 6's third single, "Drive Me Wild" was a minor hit and their album was certified Gold. They opened up on the "Triple Threat" with Prince and the Time between 1982 and 1983.

Soon after, Prince asked Vanity to pose in a picture with him on the cover of "Rolling Stone" magazine which also featured the other members of the trio.

In 1983, Vanity recorded a demo for the song, "Sex Shooter" and preparing for her role in Prince's movie, "Purple Rain" when she adruptly decided to leave the Prince camp and her role in the movie to pursue a solo deal with Motown and continue acting.
Vanity was replaced by Patricia "Apollonia" Kotero who took Vanity's lead role in "Purple Rain." Soon after, Apollonia became the new lead singer in Vanity 6 which was later changed to Apollonia 6 that featured Susan and Brenda.
In 1984, they released their only self-titled album which featured the song "Sex Shooter" which peaked at #85 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was moderately successful on the dance music charts. The song was performed in the "Purple Rain" movie.
Another single, "Blue Limousine" was a minor hit. A four-track video was filmed based on Apollonia 6's album, but was never released.

Prince had a few tracks for the Apollonia 6 album, but lost interest in it because he thought Apollonia's voice wasn't up to par.

Apollonia 6 was supposed to open up on Prince's "Purple Rain" tour with Prince and Sheila E, but the plan was scrapped after the group returned from a Europe promotional tour even though the group appeared in a few selected dates during the tour.

Apollonia was featured on Prince's song, "Take Me With U" which became a top 40 hit, but in 1985, she departed from Prince's camp to appear on the hit television series, "Falcon Crest" and soon after, the group dissolved.
In 1988, Apollonia released a solo album of her own which was moderately successful. Apollonia went on to star in films and television, and in 2005, she started a multi-media entertainment company called Kotero Entertainment.

Vanity had a moderate solo career (which you'll find out in the next blog entry about her) and soon renounced her Vanity title and became a Christian in 1994. In 2016, Vanity passed away at the age of 56 due to renal failure.

As for the other members of Vanity 6, it's unknown what they're up to these days.

(Vanity 6)
To see the music video for "Drive Me Wild," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=319Kl8Llna8

To see the music video for "Nasty Girl," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eq4Y8U-r8OI

(Apollonia 6)
To see the music video for "Sex Shooter," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cXoVSALNRc

To see the rare, unreleased music video for "Blue Limousine," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeJVszVyTc8

[Updated on 02\18\2016]

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rockwell

Rockwell (born Kennedy William Gordy on March 15, 1964 in Detroit, Michigan) was a R&B singer and the son of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy.

After being kicked out of the house by his father, Rockwell moved in with Berry Gordy's ex-wife Ray Singleton where he began working on music. After seeing his potential, Ray successfully lobbied to get Rockwell a staff writing job at Jobete.
In 1984, Rockwell released his debut album "Somebody's Watching Me" which peaked at #15 on the Billboard 200 and #5 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.

One night, Ray overheard Rockwell working on the track "Somebody's Watching Me" and believed that it was a song worthy of recording.

When Motown staff producer Curtis Anthony Nolen took an interest in the song, he was hired as the producer on the project.

While working on the song in the studio, Rockwell got the idea to get his good childhood friend, the late Michael Jackson to sing on the song.

He picked up Michael and drove him to the studio without indicating his plans. Once Michael was at the studio, Rockwell asked him to record the chorus with him which he agreed to.

Once "Somebody's Watching Me" was mixed, Ray couldn't wait to play it for Berry Gordy, who though that one of the voices sounded familiar, but he couldn't identify it. When he later found out it was Michael Jackson, he was pleased.
The title song became Rockwell's only biggest hit, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, #3 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play Singles chart and topped Billboard's Black Singles chart for 5 weeks, staying on the chart for 17 weeks.

Internationally, the song was a success, peaking at #6 on the U.K. Singles chart and topped the charts in Belgium, France & Spain.

The song also featured Michael's brother Jermaine Jackson on additional backing vocals. It was also one of the biggest singles of 1984 & both the single & album were certified Gold by the RIAA.
The follow-up single from Rockwell's debut album "Obscene Phone Caller" peaked at #35 on the Billboard Hot 100, #9 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 14 weeks and #79 on the U.K. Singles chart.

The last single from the album "Taxman" (which was a cover version of the Beatles' 1966 song) peaked at #88 on the U.K. Singles chart.
In 1985, Rockwell released his sophomore album "Captured" which peaked at #120 on the Billboard 200 chart and #52 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
The first single from the album "He's a Cobra" peaked at #108 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart and #65 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 6 weeks.
The follow-up single from the album "Peeping Tom" peaked at #21 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart (along with the song "Tokyo"). The song was featured on the movie soundtrack to "The Last Dragon."
In 1986, Rockwell released his last album to date "Genie" which failed to make the Billboard album charts at all.
The only single to chart was "Carmé" which managed to peak at #46 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 9 weeks.

After that, it seemed as if Rockwell faded into obscurity, but in 2010, he married Nicole Moore, but in 2013, he filed for divorce due to "irreconcilable differences" and asked not to pay spousal support.

To see the music video for "Somebody's Watching Me," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YvAYIJSSZY

To see the music video for "Obscene Phone Caller," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HdOqhjuph8

To see a fan-made video for "Taxman," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aMb-l1i-u0

To see a fan-made video for "He's a Cobra," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXGiUPQEwws

To see a fan-made video for "Carme," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvMMky45eaY

[updated on 03\08\14]

Groove Theory

Groove Theory is an R&B\hip-hop duo consisting of singer Amel Larrieux and rapper\former Mantronix group member Bryce Wilson.

The duo started in 1993 when Bryce met Amel (who was working as a receptionist for Rondo Music in New York) through a friend.
The two signed a record deal with Epic Records and in 1995, Groove Theory released their self-titled debut album which peaked at #69 on the Billboard 200 and #14 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
The duo's first single and biggest hit to date "Tell Me" which peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, #2 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart, #21 on Billboard's Top 40 Mainstream chart, #2 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart and #3 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 38 weeks.

The follow-up single released from the album "Keep Tryin'" peaked at #64 on the Billboard Hot 100, #29 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart, #36 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart and #24 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 18 weeks.

The last single from the album "Baby Luv" peaked at #65 on the Billboard Hot 100, #14 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart, #18 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles chart and #23 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 17 weeks.

In 1999, Amel left Groove Theory to start her solo career and was replaced by Makeda Davis. The
group left Epic Records and signed with Columbia Records.

The duo recorded a new album entitled "The Answer" which was supposed to be released in 2001, but Bryce asked to be released from the label due to Columbia Records' track record with urban music projects at the time & the album was never released.

The only single released from the album was "4Shure" which managed to peak at #97 on Billboard's Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, staying on the chart for only a week.

Amel started her solo career by releasing her debut album "Infinite Possibilities" in 2000 and had a minor hit with the single "Get Up" which peaked at #97 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #37 on Billboard's Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, staying on the chart for 20 weeks.
In 2003, Amel started her own independent record label, Blisslife Records where she released her next three albums "Bravebird" (2004), "Morning" (2006), and "Lovely Standards" (2007).

In February of 2010, Amel and Bryce reunited and were working on their second official album, but it's unknown what the album's release date will be.

In October of 2013, Amel released her fifth solo album "Ice Cream Everyday" on her own independent record label Blisslife.

To see Amel's website for her record label, go to:
www.blisslife.com/

To see the Facebook page for Amel's record label, go to:
https://www.facebook.com/amellarrieux

To follow Amel on Twitter, go to:
https://twitter.com/amellarrieux

To see the music video for "Tell Me," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THtqUDitQ4I

To see the music video for "Keep Tryin," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhL1lUzmjcs

To see a fan-made video for "Baby Luv," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSzhyyAXOgA

To see a fan-made video for "4Shure," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9mKFCHMP8w

[updated on 03\08\14]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Silk

Silk is an Atlanta-based R&B group whose members consisted of Tim Cameron, Jimmy Gates, Gary "Big G" Glenn, Jonathan "John-John" Rasboro, and Gary "Lil G" Jenkins.

Gary Jenkins started his singing career in church at a young age and during college, he was a member of the Tennessee State University Jazz Collegians. In 1992, Jenkins answered an audition call and became the lead singer for R&B singer Keith Sweat's new R&B group, Silk.
During that same year, Silk released their self-titled debut album which peaked at #7 on the Billboard 200, #4 on Billboard's Heatseekers albums chart, and #1 on Billboard's Top R&B\Hip-Hop Albums chart.
The group's first single, "Happy Days" peaked at #86 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #13 on Billboard's Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
It wasn't until 1993 that Silk hit it big with their second single, "Freak Me" (which was co-written and produced by Keith Sweat himself) topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart and R&B charts, making it their biggest hit song to date.

The song also topped Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart and managed to peak at #7 on Billboard's Top 40 Mainstream chart.
Silk's third single, "Girl U For Me" peaked at #26 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #25 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart. Their last singles from the album, "It Had to Be You" and "Lose Control" managed to become moderately successful on the R&B charts as well.
In 1995, Silk released their self-titled sophomore album which peaked at #46 on the Billboard 200 chart.
The first single from the album, "Hooked on You" peaked at #54 on the Billboard Hot 100, #25 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart, #12 on Billboard's Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, and #44 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart.

The second single, "I Can Go Deep" failed to appear on the Hot 100, but managed to peak at #9 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart.

The third single, "Don't Rush" peaked at #91 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #39 on Billboard's Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
In 1999, 4 years after their last album, Silk released their third album, "Tonight" which peaked at #21 on the Billboard 200 and #8 on Billboard's Top R&B\Hip-Hop Albums chart.

The first single from the album, "If You" became another hit for the group, peaking at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on Billboard's Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.

The second single, "Meeting in My Bedroom" peaked at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #15 on Billboard's Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.

The last single, "Let's Make Love" peaked at #58 on Billboard's Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. Silk performed one of the songs from their album, "Please Don't Go" on the UPN sitcom "Moesha."
In 2001, Silk released their fourth album, "Love Session" which peaked at #20 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on Billboard's Top R&B\Hip-Hop Albums chart.

The album wasn't quite as successful as their previous ones and the only single to chart was "We're Callin' You" which peaked at #56 on Billboard's Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.

In 2002, Elektra Records dropped Silk and Keith Sweat from their label and during that same year, Gary Jenkins departed from the group to pursue other interests.
In 2003, Silk released their fifth album, "Silktime" which peaked at #30 on Billboard's Top R&B\Hip-Hop Albums chart and #11 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart.

The only single to chart was "Side Show" which peaked at #66 on Billboard's Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
After the flop of "Silktime," nothing had been heard from Silk in quite sometime, but in 2006, Silk released their sixth album, "Always and Forever" which included cover versions from Shalamar, Prince, and the System.
Gary Jenkins became a member of the R&B group, Blayse, but the group has yet to release an album. In 2007, Gary released his solo album, "The Other Side."

In 2007, Gary returned to his old group, Silk after appearing with them on Keith Sweat's 2006"Sweat Hotel" tour. Silk is currently working on a new album.

To see Gary Jenkins' MySpace page, go to:
http://www.myspace.com/garygjenkins

To see Silk's MySpace page, go to:
http://www.myspace.com/silk

To see the music video for "Freak Me," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyFX1gt0GYE

To see the music video for "Girl U For Me," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=-x7yG2bUiWU

To see the music video for "I Can Go Deep," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=xnVN0d74luU

To see the music video for "Don't Rush," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=xnVN0d74luU