Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cleopatra

Cleopatra is a female R&B\pop trio from Manchester, England consisting of the Higgins sisters: Zainam (born Zainam Mandisa Talibah Venetta Higgins on December 5, 1980), Cleo (born Cleopatra Madonna Higgins on April 30, 1982) and Yonah (born Yonah Mawusi Higgins on April 27, 1984). They are the daughters of session singer Christine Higgins.

After winning a local talent contest, the girls were signed to a management contract and spent 6 years touring around the U.K. before signing to the British division of Warner Bros. Records in early 1997.
In June of 1998, Cleopatra released their debut album, "Comin' Atcha!" which peaked at #20 on the U.K. Albums chart.
Their debut single "Cleopatra's Theme" managed to peak at #3 on the U.K. Singles chart, giving the girls their first top 5 hit single.Cleopatra released their second single, a cover version of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" which peaked at #4 on the U.K. Singles chart.
The third single "A Touch of Love" was also moderately successful, peaking at #24 on the U.K. Singles chart.

In the U.S., Cleopatra was signed to Madonna's Maverick Records label and the album peaked at #109 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on Billboard's Heatseekers albums chart.

Madonna introduced Cleopatra at Nickelodeon's 11th Annual Kids' Choice Awards where they performed "Cleopatra's Theme," their debut U.S. single.

The single peaked at #26 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #51 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 18 weeks. The music video was popular on TRL, making it #4 on the show's countdown.

The girls filmed a live 60-minute Disney Channel special called "Cleopatra in Concert" where they performed songs aboard the Disney cruise ship, "The Disney Magic" and it also contained a behind-the-scenes look into the lives' of the girls over a 4-day Bahamas cruise.

On Christmas Eve of 1998, the CITV network premiered Cleopatra's 1-hour Christmas special for their new TV sitcom. The first season was called "Comin' Atcha!" and the second season was called "In the House." Both seasons were number-one in their timeslots.

The show was about the girls' lives on tour and at home with their family. Their mother and younger sister were featured on both seasons of the show as themselves.
Another single from their album, "Life Ain't Easy" peaked at #4 on the UK Singles chart and in the U.S., it managed to peak at #81 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Cleopatra were invited to support the Spice Girls on the U.K. leg of their "Spiceworld" tour, playing to 150,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. They were also invited to perform at the Vatican Christmas Carol concert by the request of Pope John Paul II.In 1999, Cleopatra was featured on the song, "Thank ABBA for the Music" which featured musicians such as Steps, B*Witched, Billie, and Tina Cousins. They performed with them at the 1999 BRIT Awards and received a nomination for "Best British Newcomer."

The song peaked at #4 on the UK Singles chart. In 2000, Cleopatra also covered Maxine Nightingale's 1975 hit song "Right Back Where We Started From" which was featured in the movie "An Extremely Goofy Movie."In August 2000, Cleopatra released their sophomore and last album to date, "Steppin' Out." It's unknown how or if the album ever charted.

The album included producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Dallas Austin, Stargate, Darryl Simmons and Cutfather & Joe.

They shot their album cover with world famous photographer, Markus Klinko (who worked on Mariah Carey & Beyonce's album covers). The album included more R&B music than pop music like on their debut album.Cleopatra toured the U.S. promoting their lead single, "U Got It." They promoted the single on "The Queen Latifah Show" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Cleopatra became the new spokeswomen for Covergirl cosmetics, making them the first black British group to have been featured in their own Covergirl advertisement. They sang and were featured in the Covergirl campaign promoting their "Triple Lipstick" line.

Cleopatra also toured the U.S. with musicians Brian McKnight, Next, Nelly, and Jessica Simpson. They later toured in Japan and promoted their Japanese-released single, "Yes, The Party's Going Right" produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. They were even invited to perform a mini-concert for the Sultan of Brunei and his royal family.

The follow-up single "Come and Get Me" peaked at #29 on the U.K. Singles chart due to lack of promotion. The record label wanted Cleo as a solo artist which led to the trio's departure from Warner Bros. Records.

In 2007, Cleo released her debut single "Feelin' Like This." She also recorded 2 duets with tenor singer Russell Watson. She performed on tour with Russell and on the National Lottery while she was 5 months pregnant with her first child.

In September of 2001, Cleo gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Chika Lil Che with her long-term partner Marlon McKenzie.

She later gave birth to a son named Taylor James "T.J." Cleo and Marlon have since separated, but they remain good friends & spend time with their children.

Cleo also joined ITV1's "Songs of Bond" which was a tribute to the songs of James Bond. She toured with artists such as Joe Budden, Blue, Jagged Edge and Girls Aloud. She even embarked on a university tour.

In 2005, Cleopatra reunited for a one-off performance on the ITV1 series "Hit Me, Baby, One More Time."

In 2009, they appeared on Living TV's "Pop Goes the Band." In November of that same year, they performed a comeback show live at Embassy in London.

In 2013, Cleo was featured on the U.K. version of "The Voice," but was eliminated in the live semi-finals.

These days, Yonah teaches street dance and cheerleading to children from deprived areas. Zainam continues to perform & travel, but is mostly a writer and she also has a daughter named Sydney-Robyn.

To see Cleo's official website, go to:
http://cleohiggins.com/

To follow Cleo on Twitter, go to:
https://twitter.com/OfficiallyCleo

To follow Yonah on Twitter, go to:
https://twitter.com/YonahHiggins

To follow Zainam on Twitter, go to:
https://twitter.com/AngelZainam

To see the music video for "Cleopatra's Theme," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blQmgusV40M

To see the music video for "I Want You Back," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6pMatgeO5Y

To see the music video for "A Touch of Love," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejgPWmS6hTY

To see the music video for "Life Ain't Easy," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OZp_YixQSI

To see the music video for "Come and Get Me," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71tq9W9uvTU

To see the music video for "U Got It," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW7wlgFFv3g

To see the music video for "Right Back Where We Started From," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfU8hWykc8I

Here are a couple of bonuses:

To see Cleopatra's U.S. Covergirl Triple Lipstick Commercial, go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KXZLnqprKM

To see the music video for Cleo's song "Feelin' Like This," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRohfAGU7bs

To see Cleo's blind audition from "The Voice," go to;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seqYdHmdLUo


[updated on 08/02/13]

Sparkle

Sparkle (born Stephanie Edwards on August 12, 1975 in Chicago, Illinois) is a female R&B singer and protégé of R&B singer, R. Kelly.
In 1998, Sparkle released her self-titled debut album which peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200, #2 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart and #39 on Billboard's Heatseekers albums chart.

The album was certified Gold by the RIAA on December 7, 2000. The album not only featured R. Kelly, but rappers Cam'ron and Nature as well.
Sparkle scored a hit with the song, "Be Careful" featuring R. Kelly which peaked at #37 on Billboard's Hot 100 Airplay chart, #3 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart and topped Billboard's Hot R&B Airplay chart, staying on the chart for 21 weeks.

The second single "Time to Move On" peaked at #41 on Billboard's Hot R&B Airplay chart, staying on the chart for 9 weeks.
The last single from the album "Lovin' You" failed to chart at all. Despite the success of Sparkle's debut album, she and R. Kelly were having creative differences which lead to her being released from her record label, Interscope Records. She later signed to Motown Records.
In 2000, Sparkle released her sophomore album "Told You So" which peaked at #121 on the Billboard 200 and #31 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
The album was considered a commercial disappointment and the only single to chart was "It's a Fact" which peaked only at #62 on Billboard's Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, staying on the chart for 12 weeks.
The follow-up singles "Good Life" (featuring rapper Memphis Bleek) and "When A Woman's Heart is Broken" failed to make the charts at all.

In 2002, Sparkle's 14-year-old niece was shown on a videotape allegedly engaging in sexual acts. Sparkle testified against R. Kelly in 2008 during his criminal trial for charges of child pornography. R. Kelly was later found not guilty on all charges.

Sparkle has performed along side her good friend, singer Toni Braxton in her Las Vegas stage show, "Toni Braxton Revealed."

In August of 2012, she released her first music video in 12 years entitled "So Bad," but the song has not been released digitally. As of 2013, she is working on a new album.

To see Sparkle's official website, go to:
http://www.isparklei.com/

To follow Sparkle on Twitter, go to:
https://twitter.com/@iSparklei

To see Sparkle's Facebook page, go to:
https://www.facebook.com/iSparklei

To see the music video for "Be Careful," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2x86tostIKE

To see the music video for "Time To Move On," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZtmJ3Id140

To see a fan-made video for the remix of "Loving You," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tjJMmD3rA4

To see the music video for "It's a Fact," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oIGQ7Yg44E

To see the music video for "So Bad," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIgIzTxSnSA

[updated on 08/02/13]

Lidell Townsell & M.T.F.

Lidell Townsell is a house\dance music artist from Chicago, Illinois. He released various singles on the Trax and DJ International record labels. M.T.F. (or More Than Friends) was a duo that consisted of singer Martell and emcee Silk-E (no relation to rapper Sylk-E. Fine).
In 1992, Lidell and M.T.F. released their debut album "Harmony" on Mercury\PolyGram Records. It's unknown how or if the album ever charted.
The first single "Get With U" peaked at #78 on the Billboard Hot 100, #4 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart, and #7 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart.
The second single "Nu Nu" became their biggest and only hit to date, peaking at #26 on the Billboard Hot 100, #44 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 13 weeks, #2 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart and topped Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles sales chart.
The last single "The Dugout" was released, but didn't appear to make the charts at all. After that it seemed as if Lidell Townsell and M.T.F. had faded into obscurity.

In 2005, New York-based hip-hop\electronica music group Fannypack covered "Nu Nu" under the title, "Nu Nu (Yeah Yeah)" which has been well known and mostly memorably heard in the movies "Stick It" and "Fired Up."

These days, Lidell Townsell continues to be active in house music, traveling all over the world. As for M.T.F, not much has been heard from them.

To see Lidell Townsell's Facebook page, go to:
https://www.facebook.com/Lidellt

To see the music video for "Nu Nu," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xp561lLvpBY

To see a fan-made video for "Get With U," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNzz8iBKQYI


[updated on 08/02/13]

Harriet

Harriet (born Harriet Roberts in 1966 in Sheffield, England) is a female dance\pop singer. Before going solo, she was in a few early bands in Sheffield.
In 1990, Harriet released her debut album "Woman to Man" on EastWest Records. It's unknown how or if the album ever charted.
Harriet's highest chart appearance to date was her first single "Temple of Love" which peaked at #39 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #14 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 11 weeks.
The title song was released a single, but failed to chart at all on the Billboard charts. In 1991, Harriet took part in the Italian Song Festival in San Remo with the English version of the song, "In Queosta Città" (or "All That We Are").

In 1999, Harriet co-wrote the song "Whatever You Need" for Tina Turner's 1999 album "Twenty Four Seven" which was moderately successful. Not much has been heard from Harriet since and it seems as if she's faded into obscurity.

To see the music video for "Temple of Love," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6sDZ5Gqr-E

To see the music video for "Woman to Man," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3yBuMMDJ0I


[updated on 08/02/13]

Monday, September 27, 2010

Merril Bainbridge

Merril Bainbridge (born on June 2, 1968 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) is a female pop singer from the '90s.

Merril began performing when she was 9 years old. Her first performance was at a carnival her sisters persuaded her into entering to win concert tickets. She managed to come in 3rd place.

After playing in various bands in Australia and doing backup vocal work in exchange for studio time, Merril started a solo career under the tutelege of music producer Siew. She used to work a day job before quitting to focus on music.

In 1994, Merril was signed to the newly-formed Gotham Records started by Ross Fraser and John Farnham. Ross had first heard Merril when he got a tape in the mail and was interested by the combination of guitar and voice. She was signed to the Universal Music record label in the U.S. in 1996.
Merril's first single "Mouth" was first released in November of 1994. Due to the annual shuffle of songs that were released around Christmas time, it disappeared quickly due to lack of airplay and interest.

It wasn't until the song was reissued in February of 1995 that the song became a hit, topping Australia's ARIA Singles Chart for 6 weeks, making Merril have the longest running #1 song by an Australian female singer in the 90's.

When the song was released in the U.S, in August of 1996, it managed to peak at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, #8 on Billboard's Adult Top 40 chart, #23 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart, and #2 on Billboard's Top 40 Mainstream chart.

The song became the most requested song on American radio for 3 weeks. The song was nominated for five awards at the 1995 ARIA Music Awards, but failed to win. "Mouth" was certified Platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association and in the U.S., the song was certified Gold, selling over 600,000 copies around the U.S.
Merril's debut album "The Garden" was released in July of 1995 in Australia and released in September 1996 in the U.S.  In Australia, the album peaked at #5 on the ARIA Albums chart and in the U.S, it peaked at #101 on the Billboard 200 and topped Billboard's Heatseekers Albums chart.

By the end of 1996, Merril toured 30 cities in the U.S. for 40 days. She presented an award at the Billboard Awards and performed at Madison Square Garden, supporting Sheryl Crow.
Merril's second single, "Under the Water" received moderate success in Australia and managed to peak at #4 on the ARIA Singles chart, spending 16 weeks in the Top 50 and was certified Platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association.

It also became the 24th highest-selling single in Australia in 1995, selling an estimate of 80,000 copies around Australia. It was nominated for an ARIA Award as the "Highest Selling Single" for 1996, but lost. But the song won a APRA Award for "Most Performed Australian Work" in 1996.

In the U.S., the song was released in February of 1997, but didn't match the success of her debut single. It managed to peak at a disappointing #91 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it was Merril's last chart appearance in the U.S.
The third single from the album, "Power of One" peaked at #21 on the ARIA Singles chart, spending 7 weeks in the Top 50.

Merril's last single from the album, "Sleeping Dogs" received minor success, peaking at #55 on the ARIA Singles Chart. The song featured the Bee Gee's song, "I Started a Joke" which was used in the bridge of the track.
While Merril was finishing up her international tour, she started writing songs for her second album. The first single "Lonely" managed to peak at #40 on the ARIA Singles chart. In the U.S., the song flopped, only managing to peak at #18 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart. It also peaked at #25 on the Japan Singles chart.
The second single, a cover version of Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe" featuring Jamaican rapper Shaggy. The song was featured in the Australian comedy film, "Welcome to Woop Woop." The song peaked at #62 on the ARIA Singles chart, making it Merril's last song to chart.
In October 1998, Merril released her sophomore album, "Between the Days" which peaked at #58 on the ARIA Albums chart. The third single, the title song failed to chart at all on the ARIA Singles chart. The last single, "Walk on Fire" also failed to chart too.

In 1999, Merril participated in John Farham's "I Can't Believe He's 50" tour with musicians Kate Ceberano, Ross Wilson, James Reyne, Human Nature, and Nana-Zhami.

During that same year, Merril recorded a song called "Sydney from a 747" which appeared on the soundtrack to the IMAX film, "Sydney: A Story of a City" and was also released as part of a music compliation album for the Sydney 2000 Olympic games called "Olympic Record" which is out of print.

In 2000, Merril recorded a song called "Friends" for the Australian film, "The Magic Pudding" which is featured on the movie soundtrack.

In 2003, Merril attempted a comeback with the song "Girl Next Door" and an untitled album, but the song failed to chart and the album ended up being shelved. These days, Merril has been working backstage as a composer for other Australian artists.

To see the music video for "Mouth," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YIIM1EVDqg

To see the music video for "Under the Water," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Frb1pCIWdEA

To see a video of Merril performing "Power of One" live, go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAzoqoU7wp4

To see a fan-made video for "Lonely," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kznne77n7e8

To see the music video for "Girl Next Door," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61BDHMdrZlU

To see the music video for "I Got You Babe," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9B45e_wUJs

To see a fan-made video for "Between the Days," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gJfY825Cwk

To see a fan-made video for "Walk on Fire," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hTXJZBxxYg


[updated on 08/15/13]

Ricca

Ricca was a '90s girl group that consisted of Natalie & Elisa Soltren and Teresa Rodriguez. Teresa attended Berklee College in Boston, Massachusetts.
In 1992, the trio released their first single "Such a Rush" which failed to make any impact on the Billboard charts.
In 1993, their follow-up single "Any Love" was failed to make any impact on the Billboard charts at all.
In 1994, Ricca released their only self-titled album which didn't appear to chart at all on the Billboard charts.

After Ricca disbanded, Teresa toured with a New York-based Latin band called DLG. She also did background vocals for New Kids on the Block member Joe McIntyre which lead her to tour with him on his first U.S. solo tour as a lead background singer. She later became the voice of BabyBaby, a website that creates custom lullabies.

These days, Teresa (now Teresa Rodriguez) continues to perform with the band Pandemonium. After touring with DLG for two years, Elisa sang with a local band called Humano.

These days, it appears as if Elisa works as a leasing consultant at First Realty Management in the greater Boston Area. Natalie (now Natalie Soltren-Lunati) works at the Project Youth Counseling Team in Massachusetts.

To see the BabyBaby website that Teresa works for, go to:
http://www.babybaby.com/

To see the Facebook page for Teresa's band Pandemonium, go to:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pandemonium/135152443194863

To see a fan-made video for "Any Love," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5nMokxJdwc

To see a fan-made video for "Such a Rush," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDf507_zZkM


[updated on 08/15/13]

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Prime Time

Prime Time were an R&B group from Los Angeles, California that consisted of singer/guitarist Dale Hightower, keyboardist Jimmy Hamilton, bass player Maurice Hayes and drummer Frankie Moore. The group formed in 1972.
In 1984, Prime Time released their debut album "Flying High" on Total Experience Records. It's unknown how or if the album ever charted.
Their first single "Love Talk" peaked at #88 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 3 weeks.
The follow-up single "I Owe It to Myself" peaked at #21 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 16 weeks, making it their highest appearance on the R&B charts.
In 1985, Prime Time released their sophomore album and last album to date "Confess It Baby." It's unknown how or if the album made the charts.

The singles released from the album "Give it To the Beat" and "Baby Don't Break My Back" didn't make the charts at all.

After that, it seemed as if Prime Time faded into obscurity. These days, Jimmy, Frankie and Dale are members of the Sai Whatt Band.

Maurice Hayes appeared on albums by Penny Ford, the Gap Band, Yarbrough & Peoples, Will King and Goodie. It is unknown what he is up to today.

To see the official website for the Sai Whatt Band, go to:
http://www.saiwhattband.com/

To see the Sai Whatt Band's Facebook page, go to:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Sai-Whatt-Band/65005190753      

To see a fan-made video for "I Owe It To Myself," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeNJZdncIiE


[updated on 08/15/13]

Voyceboxing

Voyceboxing was a female R&B trio from the early '90s that consisted of members Tina Harris (from England), Candy Bell (from New York) and Jean McClain (born on March 8, 1953 from Indiana).

Tina moved from England to Los Angeles with her parents. When she was 19 years old, Tina stole phone numbers of people from the music industry from her hairdresser's phone book. She cold-called them and managed to gain interest from legendary drummer & producer Lenny White.
Lenny helped Tina with her demo and in 1985, she signed an EP deal with Shenachie Records. Tina released the EP "I Must Not Be Kinky." Even though it was hugely successful, it was somewhat of an underground hit.

Lenny liked Tina's speaking voice so much, he asked to record the lead vocal for Tech & The EFFX's song "Perfect Match" which was featured on the "School Daze" movie soundtrack in 1988. Lenny and Tina continued writing music together.

Since they had a good relationship, Tina and Lenny decided to form Voyceboxing with Lenny producing and they chose two session singers Candy and Jean to join Tina in the group.
In 1991, Voyceboxing released their self-titled debut album which didn't appear to chart at all on the Billboard 200 chart.
They released their only single "Pain" which peaked at #54 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 8 weeks. After that, it seemed as if Voyceboxing faded into obscurity.

Jean (now Pepper MaShay) went on to have a moderately successful solo career in dance music. These days, Pepper is currently touring with House's Hugh Laurie as a member of his band "Hugh Laurie & the Copper Bottom Band" and recording songs for a working title called "Requiem for A Heavy Weight."

Tina continued to work as a songwriter. She moved to New York and later Europe where she became an in-demand international pop music songwriter, writing songs for artists such as Jamelia, Koda Kumi, Lemar, Sertab, Tarkan, Terri Nunn and French Pop Idol Christophe Willem. These days, it appears as if Tina is still active in the music business and also works as a copywriter.

Candy provided vocals on albums for artists such as Lisa Lisa and Lenny White in the mid-'90s, but it is unknown what she is up to today.

To see Pepper MaShay's official website, go to:
http://pridenation.com/pepper/

To see Tina's official website, go to:
http://www.tina-harris.com/

To see Tina Harris' SoundCloud page, go to:
https://soundcloud.com/tinaharrisment

To see the music video for "Pain," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1lZoZkAdQs


[updated on 08/15/13]