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Stephanie Mills

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Stephanie Mills first came to fame as "the little girl with the big voice" as the star of the hit Broadway play, The Wiz, an adaptation of L. Frank Baum' s classic book, The Wizard of Oz. She had many R&B hits such as "I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love," "I Feel Good All Over," "(You're Puttin') A Rush on Me," "Something in the Way (You Make Me Feel)," and "Home," along with one certified, million-selling single, "Never Knew Love Like This Before." In addition, she also had five gold albums: Whatcha Gonna Do with My Lovin', Sweet Sensation, Stephanie, If I Were Your Woman, and Home. Born on March 22, 1957 in Brooklyn, NY, Mills honed her rich vocals singing gospel music at Brooklyn's Cornerstone Baptist Church as a small child. At age nine, she began appearing in the Broadway play Maggie Flynn. She was presented with first prize after winning "The Amateur Hour" talent contest six weeks straight at New York's famed Apollo Theater when she was nine. That success led to her being chosen as the opening act for the Isley Brothers, eventually becoming good friends with lead singer Ronald Isley. Many years later, Isley would manage and later marry singer/songwriter Angela Winbush, who co-wrote one of her number one R&B hits. Mills' debut album, Movin' in the Right Direction was recorded for ABC Records in 1974. A year later, she won the role of Dorothy in The Wiz. Her rendition of the beautiful ballad "Home" was a showstopper, mesmerizing audiences nightly for a number of years. The original cast recording of The Wiz was produced by Jerry Wexler and issued by Atlantic Records in spring 1975. Curiously, when The Wiz was made into a full-length feature film by Motown Records' film division and Universal Pictures, Diana Ross played the role of Dorothy instead of Mills. The film ended up being a major flop. Singer Jermaine Jackson referred Mills to Motown head Berry Gordy, who signed her to the label. Her Motown debut was For the First Time, written and produced by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, issued in October 1976. For the First Time is a sweet affair with Mills convincingly covering Bacharach/David standards, most of which were originally recorded by Dionne Warwick. In 1978, she signed to 20th Century Records and was teamed with the hit production duo of James Mtume -- later leader of Mtume, who had a gold single with "Juicy Fruit" -- and Reggie Lucas. Her first LP for the label, Whatcha Gonna Do with My Lovin', went gold, going to number 12 R&B and number 22 pop on Billboard's charts in summer 1979 and spawned the singles "Whatcha Gonna Do with My Lovin'" and "You Can Get Over." Her next LP, Sweet Sensation (number three3 R&B, number 16 Pop, spring 1980) yielded "Sweet Sensation," "Never Knew Love Like This Before," and the radio-aired LP track, "Try My Love." Around this time, she briefly married former Soul Train dancer Jeffrey Daniels of the group Shalamar. Next came the LP titled Stephanie in spring 1981, which also was a huge hit, peaking at number three R&B and number 30 Pop. The album included notable songs such as "Two Hearts" -- a midtempo duet with Teddy Pendergrass -- "Night Games," and the radio-aired LP cut, "Don't Stop Doin' What Cha Do." In 1981, Mills switched to Neil Bogart's Casablanca Records. Her LPs for the label included Tantalizingly Hot, Merciless, and I've Got the Cure. During 1983, she had her own NBC-TV daytime talk show, and reprised her role in a Broadway revival of The Wiz. She also signed with MCA Records, where she released her Stephanie Mills album. The first single from the Stephanie Mills album was "Stand Back," in late 1985, which also included the passionate ballad "I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love." "I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love" was initially written by Rene Moore and Angela Winbush -- best known as the hit singing duo Rene & Angela -- as a gospel song and originally was recorded by Alton McClain and Destiny on their self-titled 1978 Polydor LP. The original version is available on Polygram's Power of Love: Best of Soul Essentials Ballads. Because of its massive radio play as an album track, Mills' version of "I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love, -- produced by Philly soul keyboardist Ron Kersey -- was reissued as an A-side holding the number one R&B spot for two weeks in spring 1986. Its follow-up, "Rising Desire," reached number 11 R&B in summer 1986. Her next LP's title cut was the Clay McMurray/Gloria Jones/Pam Sawyer song, "If I Were Your Woman," originally a 1971 number one R&B, number nine Pop smash for Gladys Knight & the Pips. Philly-based producer Nick Martinelli gave Mills her second number one R&B hit with "I Feel Good All Over," written by husband-and-wife songwriting duo, Gabriel Hardeman and Annette Hardeman. The song held the number one R&B spot for three weeks in spring 1987. Originally submitted to Mills' fellow MCA labelmate Patti Labelle by the Hardemans, the track was included on Mills' LP If I Were Your Woman in issued June 1987, which peaked at number 30 Pop in summer 1987. Paul Laurence and Timmy Allen produced and co-wrote the chugging "(You're Putting) a Rush on Me" giving the singer her third number one R&B hit in fall 1987. The single made it to number 85 Pop and was followed by "Secret Lady," which landed at number seven R&B in late 1987. Her covers of "If I Were Your Woman" and "Where Is the Love" followed. All were included on her If I Were Your Woman album, which peaked at number one R&B, number 30 Pop in summer 1987. Following these hits, Mills contacted Ronald Isley about working with singer/songwriter/producer Angela Winbush, who'd had hits as half of Rene & Angela and was forging a hit-filled career as a recording artist and producer for the group Body among others. The collaboration between Mills and Winbush resulted in another number one R&B single, "Something in the Way You Make Me Feel," in summer 1989. Having starred for five years in the smash Broadway show The Wiz and recorded the song "Home for the play's 1975 original cast soundtrack album, she wanted to record the song again as a posthumous tribute to the play's producer, Ken Harper, and the song's composer, Charlie Smalls. On her new version of "Home," Take 6 sung the background vocals. The song went to number one R&B in late 1989 and was followed by "Comfort of a Man" and "Real Love." The Home LP ended up peaking at number five R&B, number 82 Pop in summer 1989. She then recorded a charting single with J.T. Taylor titled "Heart to Heart" in late 1991. Her final MCA album, Something Real, included the hit "All Day All Night" and "Never Do Wrong." Following this album, she recorded a gospel album, Personal Inspirations, for Interscope Records and in the late '90s, recorded several tracks at Philadelphia International Records with Bunny Sigler, among others. ~ Ed Hogan
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Stations Featuring
Stephanie Mills

    R&B Smooth Jams

    R&B Smooth Jams
    3 songs

    Grown Folks Music

    Grown Folks Music
    4 songs

    Latin Oldies

    Latin Oldies
    1 song

    Love Songs

    Love Songs
    1 song

    R&B and Soul Mix

    1 song

Albums by
Stephanie Mills

Top Songs by
Stephanie Mills

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Never Knew Love Like This Before
  3.   I Feel Good All Over
  4.   What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'
  5.   If I Were Your Woman
  6.   I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love
  7.   (You're Puttin') A Rush on Me
  8.   Something in the Way (You Make Me Feel)
  9.   Put Your Body in It
  10.   Two Hearts by Teddy Pendergrass
  11.   The Medicine Song
  12.   Home
  13.   Sweet Sensation
  14.   Feel the Fire
  15.   Rising Desire
  16.   Comfort of a Man
  17.   Night Games
  18.   His Name Is Michael
  19.   Can't Change My Ways
  20.   So Good, So Right
  21.   I Just Want to Say
  22.   Secret Lady
  23.   Fast Talk
  24.   Pilot Error
  25.   You Can Get Over
  26.   Afraid to Love
  27.   Wailin'
  28.   Born for This
  29.   Baby Love
  30.   You Still Mean So Much
  31.   For U
  32.   Love of My Life
  33.   Never Knew Love
  34.   Can't Let Him Go
  35.   Everlasting Love
  36.   You Can't Run From My Love
  37.   Of All These Things
  38.   I Knew It Was Love
  39.   Last Night
  40.   Act 1. The Death of Abel
  41.   The Passion & The Pain
  42.   Keep Away Girls
  43.   Power of God
  44.   Act 2. Ain't It Good?
  45.   Act 1. Children of Eden
  46.   Act 1. The Spark of Creation
  47.   Bit by Bit
  48.   Stand Back
  49.   Never Gonna Give You Up
  50.   All Day, All Night
  51.   Running for Your Love
  52.   Touch Me Now
  53.   Jesse
  54.   Love Hasn't Been Easy on Me
  55.   Real Love
  56.   Mixture of Love
  57.   Wish That You Were Mine
  58.   Top of My List
  59.   Don't Stop Doin' What 'Cha Do
  60.   I Took My Strenth From You
  61.   Better Than Ever
  62.   Children of Eden
  63.   The Spark of Creation
  64.   You and I
  65.   Ain't It Good?
  66.   Fly, Robin, Fly
  67.   Movin' in the Right Direction
  68.   How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?
  69.   Never Do You Wrong
  70.   I'm More Than a Woman
  71.   Ain't No Cookin'
  72.   Good Girl Gone Bad
  73.   I Come to You
  74.   I Just Wanna Say
  75.   Don't Stop Dancin'
  76.   Ease On Down the Road
  77.   Healing Time
  78.   White Christmas
  79.   Deeper Inside Your Love
  80.   Try My Love
  81.   My Love's Been Good to You
  82.   I Believe in Love Songs
  83.   Winner
  84.   Where Is the Love by Robert Brookins
  85.   Magic
  86.   Still Mine
  87.   Starlight
  88.   D-A-N-C-I-N'