Statuesque and blessed with a rich, expressive, alto voice, Phyllis Hyman was an unsung heroine among R&B divas. Born in Philadelphia PA on July 6, 1949 and raised in Pittsburgh, she began her professional career in New York City, where during an engagement she was discovered by producer Norman Connors and contemporaries Jean Carne and Roberta Flack, among others. She was immediately offered a special guest spot on Connor’s album “You Are My Starship”, which featured her rendition of the Stylistics hit “Betcha By Golly Wow”. Her self-titled debut album was released on Buddah Records in 1977, which featured the singles “Loving You, Losing You” and “I Don’t Wanna Lose You”. She was signed to Arista Records a year later where the album “Somewhere In My Lifetime” was released. The title song was produced by singer/songwriter Barry Manilow, a long time admirer of hers. It became her first radio hit. A year later the Mtume and Reggie Lucas produced album “You Know How To Love Me” was released. It became one of her biggest dance anthems. It remained in her repertoire until her death. In 1981, she starred opposite Gregory Hines and Judith Jamison in the Duke Ellington tribute play “Sophisticated Ladies”, for which she won a Tony Award nomination along with a Theater World Award for Best Newcomer. In mid-1985, she was freed from Arista Records after a legal dispute, releasing the album “Living All Alone”. Unfortunately, Hyman suffered from mental illness that hindered her personal and professional life. On June 30, 1995, hours before a scheduled performance at the Apollo Theater, Phyllis Hyman’s lifeless body was found in her apartment; she had taken an overdose of sleeping pills. The fact that she committed suicide was shocking but not surprising. Her musical legacy will live on.
Flashback Friday: You Know How To Love Me-Phyllis Hyman
16 Friday Oct 2015
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