TV One concluded its latest season of Unsung a few months ago, and since then, I’ve compiled my own list of artists I think deserve to be profiled in future episodes.
What follows are just a few of my picks and a brief reason why I feel the artist is Unsung. While writing, I realized my deep love affair with the 80s and early 90s music, as most of the artists I would like to see are from that era.
I also discovered the list was too long for one blog, so I’m breaking it up into two.
This blog will highlight individuals; later, I will post my idea of groups that would make for great television.
Patrice Rushen: According to her bio, she’s a classically-trained pianist, has been nominated for multiple Grammys, is a talented composer and producer, and was the musical director for three Grammy Award ceremonies (and other award shows and tours as well). Need I say more? Oh, and who can forget her song Forget Me Nots, which was sampled by Will Smith’s Men In Black.
Will Downing: He has a voice smooth as velvet and is great to throw on if you have a romantic evening planned. A Million Ways provides a fabulous road map for any man who wants to win the heart of the female persuasion. Will has suffered from a few health issues, but continues to tour and make great baby-making music.
Da Brat: Only three female rappers are in my iTunes library – Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Da Brat. Her album Unrestricted stayed in rotation back in the early 2000s. Brat has been to prison (hopefully that is behind her now), and the fans want to know: is she ever going to make music again?
Tevin Campbell: Known for his ballads Tell Me What You Want Me To Do, Can We Talk and my personal favorite, Shhh, Tevin was a platinum-selling R&B singer who seemed poised to be one of the greats. Arrested in 1999 for solicitation, Tevin has been off the radar for years. It would be fascinating to know what he’s been doing with his life.
Kenny Lattimore: There was a time when male R&B artists sung about love, love and more love (Luther Vandross, Maxwell and the aforementioned Will Downing instantly pop in my head). Kenny has created some of the best love songs ever. For You became the must-play-at-a-wedding song (I actually heard For You for the first time at a wedding, and bought the album the next day). He’s released four solo efforts (plus two with his now ex-wife Chanté Moore), but I’ve always believed Kenny’s voice and sound have never really reached the masses.
Stephanie Mills: Her name conjures up memories of me standing in front of the mirror singing I Feel Good, Never Knew Love Like This Before and Something In the Way (You Make Me Feel). I remember always thinking that petite woman had such a powerful voice! I loved me some Stephanie when I was in middle school.
Joe: When I first heard the song All the Things (Your Man Won’t Do), I knew this was a man after my own heart (and panties). I also saw Joe at the Essence Music Festival (great show), but I couldn’t tell you about his last release.
Donell Jones: I love me some Donell! Problem is, there aren’t enough of me out there that share the same sentiment. I admit, the last Donell album I purchased was Journey of a Gemini, but I still bump all his previous releases.
Keith Sweat: Good old begging Keith Sweat. He still performs (I saw him at the Essence Music Festival a few years ago), but why did he never attain the status of say, Usher?
Al B. Sure!: Al B., came up in the “New Jack Swing” era, and I will never forget watching his video for Off On Your Own (Girl), mad because he wasn’t kissing me! My research turned up information that Al B., currently hosts a radio show (slowjams.com), but last released an album in 2009 (Honey, I’m Home).
A few maybes, but not quite Unsung . . .
Chico DeBarge: Okay, I just might be stretching it with Chico, but his life story fits right into the Unsung formula – had a difficult childhood (check out DeBarge’s Unsung episode), but could sing. Was popular one minute and then some drama ensued (in Chico’s case, a stint in prison). I still enjoy his Long Time No See album. What is one of my favorite light-skinned crushes up to these days?
Carl Thomas: Let me say that Puffy or Diddy or whatever the hell his name is today, once had a roster of artists that could possibly be featured on Unsung (112, Total and Faith Evans perhaps?). This former Bad Boy artist released a great first album (Emotional) and has had subsequent releases, but weren’t as popular as his initial record. Summer Rain is still the jam.
Who do you think deserves to be on the next Unsung?