21 February 2018

Annika Chambers, Blues Award Nominee | Available February 10th, 2018

Disco Queen | Stephanie Mills

R&B singer Stephanie Mills was born on March 22, 1959 in Brooklyn, New York. Her first album was 1974’s “Movin’ in the Right Direction”. Her second album, “For the First Time”, was released in 1976 and included a heavily-criticized disco song “This Empty Place” (released as a 7″ single the year before) which is not representative of her work. In 1979 and 1980 she sang on many exquisite ballads, such as the lovely “Deeper Inside Your Love”, plus several funk and disco songs, most memorably “Never Knew Love Like This Before”. After 1980, she released many songs of varying quality, tending to have a over-emphasis on synthesizers. Her ’80s albums included “Sweet Sensation” (1980), “Stephanie” (1981), “Tantalizingly Hot” (1982), “Merciless” (1983), “I’ve Got the Cure” (1984), “Stephanie Mills” (1985), “If I Were Your Woman” (1987), and “Home” (1989). She scored a top 20 hit with 1983’s “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?” Towards the end of the decade, she released three number one R&B singles: “I Feel Good All Over” (1987), “If I Were Your Woman” (1987), and “Something in the Way (You Make Me Feel)” (1989). She also had reasonable R&B success with her songs “(I Have Learned to Respect) the Power of Love” and “Home”.

During the 1990s, she continued to release albums, including “Christmas” (1991), “Something Real” (1992), and the gospel album “Personal Inspirations” (1994). In 2000, MAW (Masters At Work) Records released Stephanie Mills’s single “Latin Lover”, which is a deep house track produced by Louie Vega. She was also one of the singers on the 2001 “We Are Family” remake, produced by Nile Rodgers.

In 2001, Mills started touring again. She also recorded songs for a new album, “Born for This!”, that was released in August 2004. The first single from that album was the slow soul song “Can’t Let Him Go”, released in September 2003. One of her live renditions of the song “Born for This” appeared on BeBe Winans’ 2002 album “BeBe Live and Up Close”. On her “Born for This!” is a song named “Never Knew Love” with a lyric “never knew love like this before” but it has a totally different sound than her similarly-named 1980 hit and many of the words are different.

What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin’ (1979)

TRACKS:   What ‘Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin’      You Can Get Over      Deeper Inside Your Love      Feel the Fire      Put Your Body in It      Starlight      You and I      Don’t Stop Dancin’

This popular gold album was produced by James Mtume and Reggie Lucas. It reached #12 R&B and #22 Pop in the United States in the summer of 1979. The funky disco songs are “Don’t Stop Dancin'”, “You Can Get Over”, “Put Your Body in It” (released as a single), and the title track “What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'” (released as a single). I find that “What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'”, which reached #8 R&B and #22 Pop in the USA, is astonishingly beautiful and enjoyable while “Put Your Body in It” is rather dull. “You Can Get Over” is a decent dance track that reached #55 R&B and #101 Pop in the USA. “Starlight”, “Deeper Inside Your Love”, “Feel the Fire”, and “You and I” are outstanding romantic slow songs that round out the album.

 

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