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Stephanie Mills

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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Born For This!

1. Can't Let Him Go

2. Never Knew Love

3. Healing Time

4. Love Of My Life

5. Free

6. For U

7. You Still Mean So Much

8. Something In The Way

9. Baby Love

10. Born For This

x

Track List: The Ultimate Collection

1. The Passion & The Pain

2. Movin' In The Right Direction

3. Hime (Finale)

4. I Took My Strength From You

5. What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'

6. Sweet Sensation

7. Never Knew Love Like This Before

8. Keep Away Girls

9. How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?

10. The Medicine Song

11. I Have Learned To Respect The Power Of Love

12. I Feel Good All Over

13. (You're Puttin') A Rush On Me

14. Something In The Way (You Make Me Feel)

15. Comfort Of A Man

x

Track List: The Best Of Stephanie Mills

1. Never Knew Love Like This Before

2. Two Hearts

3. What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'

4. Everlasting Love

5. Put Your Body In It

6. Winner

7. Sweet Sensation

8. Wish That You Were Mine

9. I Believe In Love Songs

10. Top Of My List

x

Track List: Home

1. Something In The Way

2. Real Love

3. Home

4. So Good, Good Right

5. Comfort Of A Man

6. I Come To You

7. Good Girl Gone Bad

8. Ain't No Cookin'

9. Fast Talk

10. Love Hasn't Been Easy On Me

11. I'm More Than A Woman

12. Something In The Way (You Make Me Feel)

x

Track List: If I Were Your Women

1. I Feel Good All Over

2. If I Were Your Woman

3. A Rush On Me

4. Jesse

5. Secret Lady

6. Touch Me Now

7. Running For Your Love

8. Can't Change My Ways

x

Track List: Afraid To Love (Single)

1. Afraid To Love (Feat. K-Ci)

Comments

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...
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What a beautiful voice. Heard miss Mills in person. I almost screamed like a teenage girl.
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sjceraldi
Yes! Never Knew Love Like This Before! 1980!
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Wish I could back into time
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love her and her music icon
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oneperfectro s e 2 6
Her music speaks to my heart,love her
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prmoore777
My parents and I first saw her on Wonderama in the 70's, with Bob McCallister! She was a teen, in braces and braids! Big voice then, too!
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Go go go Stephanie.. singing the truth listen young crowd
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One of the greatest Diva Ever.luv all of her Jams.
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Stephanie have the most Beautiful Voice
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O my! Where is Ms.Mills at? Awesome song.
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I saw her in concert August 2015 OMG I couldn't stay in my seat she still got it...
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corr08
One of the greatest. My favorite album - HOME. Love her voice!!!!
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mikekingston 1 1 1 1
None better
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Yes GAWD!!! This woman sang the MESS out of this song!! When I think of Home!!! Sang Stephanie!!!
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prmoore777
I can remember watching Stephanie Mills on Wonderama with Bob McAllister! Ma and Joe watched also. What a big voice!
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Love her very beautiful Lady
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love her then and love her still!!
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She is still touring in 2016 was just here in Chicago in December
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Stephie mills makes my day each day.
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Best Voice
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Where is she now 2016
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i want her gospel album
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DONT READ THIS. YOU WILL BE KISSED ON THE NEAREST POSSIBLE FRIDAY BY THE LOVE IF YOUR LIFE. TOMORROW WILL BE THE BEST DAY OF YOR LIFE. NOW YOU'VE STARTED READING THIS. DON'T STOP THIS IS SO FREAKY. But if you read this and ignore it, then you will have very bad luck PUT THIS ON 15 SONGS IN 143 MINUTES. WHEN YOURE DONE PRESS THE SPACE BAR AND YOUR CRUSH'S NAME WILL APPEAR IN BIG LETTERS ON THE SCREEN THIS IS SO CREAPY CAUSE IT ACTUALLY WORKS
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Love her style and the cool mode her song put me in...Legend
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swalker5666
Strong voice stephanie. . .works like to hear something new from hat
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Stephanie Mills own's Home - no one sings that song better. I love this woman's voice. High and powerful!
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One of the original great singers!!! Not many can touch her range... I love you Stephanie!
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Stephanie mills has the best voice .
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Sandi redd I was at the opening night of The Wiz back in the 70's that was my first Broadway musical . I was mesmerized by Stephanie Mills performance and her voice. Her songs got me through my teenage years. Diana Ross pathetic remake only made you shine brighter. My 1st child was conceived when you did Feel The Fire . Much love and God's blessing to you and yours Ms. Mills
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Stephanie you are beautiful keep it real peace.
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LOVE LOVE LOVE Stephanie Mills !! Two Hearts is my favorite joint of hers...with my Beloved Teddy P !! xoxo
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Stephanie keep during what you do peace love you ok always ok.
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nanabooismyl i f e 1
Luv me sum Stephanie!:- ) : - )
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I just love Stephanie she truly a songbird what a gift plus a great name
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parisclarke
What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin is her greatest song.
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I like Stephanie since I was younger she has always been a very attractive and beautiful young woman
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YASSSSSSSS I LOVE THIS SONG
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dfrazier600
Off
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god given gifts like yours should be shared worldwide, eternally no wider than even that... timeless and priceless.. thank you!
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cannonlr1
Home!!! In her prime...she was visually stunning, emotionally captivating and vocally perfect. She MADE you feel the notes!!
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Stephanie got me through some tough military days and night in the freezing woods of Germany, thanks, Babe (if you are ever in NC look me up, Bro Bobby @ MPWOC in Raleigh), and again thanks Little Big Sister.
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This little lady can sing her a** OFF so much talent. She has what it takes to bring it home.
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One of a kind voice!!
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Love her!!'
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Once I was lost and now I'm found! Xo
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Love is so sweet
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Love is so sweet
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Automatic passion is my favorite song, but itunes doesn't have it. Bummer...
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Love listening to Stephine Mills music
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