Stephanie Mills Biography
The legendary singer is back and launching her new single, “Can’t Let Him Go” from the forthcoming release Born For This! in stores early in 2004. She’s recorded the project with such star songwriters and producers as Gordon Chambers, the New York-based Flavahood Productions, and BeBe Winans. Stephanie is excited about the creative freedom she is experiencing while recording Born For This!
"This collection is an updated version of what I do," she says. "I wrote some songs myself, collaborated with the producers and everything really came together for the album which will be on my own label.
For her many fans the world over, that’s welcome news: for, without a doubt, Stephanie Mills is truly back in stride again, stronger and more soulful than ever!
A Career History
Over the span of a 25 year illustrious career, Stephanie Mills has distinguished herself as an actress and performer who is as at home on the Broadway stage as she is in the recording studio.
Hit records such as "I Have Learned To Respect The Power Of Love," "Home" and "Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin’’ have become enduring classics. Stephanie’s critically acclaimed appearances in shows like the four-time Tony Award-winning "The Wiz" and "Your Arms Too Short To Box With God" have assured her of a consistently loyal following among fans, industry insiders and critics alike. The loyalty that she has inspired in her audience has seen her through a twenty-five year career filled with accomplishments and achievements.
Stephanie’s journey as an enduring performer began like that of so many of her contemporaries; singing gospel in church in her native Brooklyn. Her vocal abilities became evident early on and by the age of nine, she was mesmerizing crowds in her first Broadway musical "Maggie Flynn," sharing the stage with co-stars Shirley Jones and the late Jack Cassidy.
Other early credits included appearances in such pop culture classic, shows like "Captain Kangaroo," "Wonderama," "The Electric Company" and "String" (presented by the Negro Ensemble Company in New York City).
For six consecutive weeks, an eleven-year old Stephanie won the famous Amateur Night at the renowned Apollo Theater and a first recording, "I Knew It Was Love" landed her the much-coveted role of Dorothy in the Broadway musical "The Wiz" at the age of fifteen. For five years, Stephanie wowed packed houses with her amazing vocal gift and after making albums for ABC and Motown, she signed with 20th Century Records in 1979.
Working with producers James Mtume & Reggie Lucas, Stephanie recorded "Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin’’" and by 1984, she had climbed the charts with major hits: "Sweet Sensation," "Never Knew Love Like This Before" (a gold single), "Two Hearts" (a duet with Teddy Pendergrass), "Keep Away Girls," "How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?" and "The Medicine Song." Stephanie scored three best-selling albums in a row with "Whatcha Gonna Do…With My Lovin’?", "Sweet Sensation" and "Stephanie" in the span of just two years.
The ‘80s were a golden period for the petite vocalist: signed to MCA Records, Stephanie was responsible for a string of hit singles and albums. "I Have Learned To Respect The Power of Love" (1986), "I Feel Good All Over" and "(You’re Puttin’) A Rush On Me" (both from 1987), "Something In The Way (You Make Me Feel)" and "Home" (both 1990 recordings) all topped the R&B charts. The 1987 album "If I Were Your Woman" was No. 1 on the R&B Albums chart and was a Top 30 pop best-seller; while the 1989 album "Home" was also a Top 5 R&B and Top 100 charted LP.
Returning to the stage, Stephanie toured the country in the early ‘90s with "The Wiz" and during the past decade, she has appeared in a number of highly-acclaimed roles in such shows as "Your Arms Too Short With Box" (starring with Teddy Pendergrass), "Children Of Eden," "Ragtime," "Play On" (a tribute to Duke Ellington’s music), "His Woman, His Wife" and "Black Nativity." The recipient of NAACP Image Awards, Stephanie’s multi-faceted career has also included recurring roles in popular television soap operas "Search For Tomorrow" and "One Life To Live."
In 1994, Stephanie returned to her gospel roots with "Personal Inspirations," an album that won praise with both gospel and secular audiences, netting her "Stellar Award" and "Dove Award" nominations.
Stephanie marked a return to recording in 1999 with the dance music cut "Latin Lover," produced by Masters At Work and in 2000, she did a duet with BeBe Winans for his Motown album "Love And Freedom." Stephanie’s music has frequently been sampled during the last few years and in 2001, she was a special guest on rapper DMX’s "The Great Depression" album, reprising the vocals from her first 1979 hit "Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin’" for the track "When I’m Nothing."
Following a dazzling performance at comedian Sinbad’s Soul Festival in Aruba, Stephanie began touring again in 2001 and has been wowing audiences on shows with artists like The O’Jays, Teddy Pendergrass, The Isley Brothers, Carl Thomas and at festivals that have included Mary J. Blige, India.Arie, Alicia Keys, Babyface and Smokey Robinson.
She says, "It’s been wonderful being back onstage and singing songs from all parts of my career. So many people have asked me when I would have a new record out and I would just say ‘soon.’ I was surprised because, so many times, people forget about you if you don’t have a new release! But then after the birth of my son Farad last year, I felt revitalized. I felt like singing and performing again”.
“I think I’m more creative musically and when I do a lot of my material now, I can relate to it more than ever. The experiences in life make you sing differently. And," she adds, "One of the results of having my child has been that it’s definitely made my voice stronger. I can sing higher and hold notes longer..."
Look for Stephanie Mills to make another mark in her wonderful career as fans begin to discover the creative energy and soulful singing that is a mainstay of her voice and more so than ever on Born for This!
Stephanie Mills Bio from Discogs
Born on March 22, 1957, in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
She started her career in 1973, when she was signed at Paramount Records by Michael Barbiero, releasing her first single. Her role as Dorothy in "The Wiz" made her a star. She has been produced by James Mtume and Reggie Lucas, Ashford & Simpson, George Duke, Angela Winbush, Gene Griffin, Nick Martinelli, Marc Gordon and Gerald Levert, LeMel Humes, Robert Brookins, Paul Laurence, Wayne Brathwaite, Russell Simmons etc. She has dueted with Teddy Pendergrass ("Two Hearts", 1981).