Why Don’t Black Brit R&B Artist Blow-up in the US Anymore?
From a tiny wave, to barely a trickle, the finicky US market abides no one
Two of his friends landed a gig with recording artist Jesse Ware and brought the drummer along. Given the combined name of his parents (Dorothy & Nick), Dornik played his demo to Ware, and she was so impressed that she took it straightaway to her record label PMR.
PMR was blown away, released “Something About You” in 2013 (that’s when I heard of Dornik, via FACT mag), and asked that he suss out the other songs for an album release. Two years later, Dornik was plastered all over British press as his album dropped in the fall of 2015.
There was barely a peep in the US.
Around that same time, Samm Henshaw, a recent college graduate, was plucked by James Bay to open up for him. Bay had saw a video of one of Henshaw’s live performances and was so moved that he believed that he had found his warm-up act.
Henshaw and his band of close friends, The Sound Experiment, released a six song EP (also in the fall of 2015) that had British critics salivating for more. (Which is how I heard of him).
Over in the US of A, nobody gave a damn.
Izzy Bizu put out an EP, Coolbeanz in 2013 and has continued to gain traction leading up to her highly anticipated album, A Moment of Madness, expected in September of this year (2016). Click on her YouTube. Millions upon millions of views.
How many Americans have even heard of her?
This wasn’t always the case.
Growing up, British acts were so intertwined in Black American radio that we never even thought of them as foreign. But it’s been a long time since that was the case, eight years actually.
What happened? And could a Brit win the hearts of the finicky ears of the modern Black man and woman in the way that they did in the 80s and 90s? We’ll look at that as well taking you on a musical trip down memory lane while we attempt to answer: Why Don’t Black R&B Artist Blow Up in the US Anymore?
Estelle had won the MOBO Award for Best Newcomer in 2004, where she proclaimed, “I’m not a newcomer,” so you can imagine how she felt four years later when the US press heaped that title on her excessively.
But to American ears, she was new.
Thing about Estelle is she was ambitious. Unhappy with what her label did with her debut album and her general place, industry wise, Estelle packed up and moved to the US.
One day outside of a Roscoes Chicken and Waffle, she spotted Kanye West and prayed to God that he come outside. She said, “Thank you, Jesus,” as he walked out. Perhaps a little starstruck, she asked if he would introduce her to John Legend who was about to be in his sound-changing, “Green Light” mode.
Kanye did Estelle one better, he not only introduced her, he cosigned her and jumped on her groundbreaking track, “American Boy,” which was produced by will.i.am. The song was a RIAA certified Platinum hit and Estelle was America’s new darling, having her nominated for the Grammy’s Best Song of the Year and winning one for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. (she beat out her mentor, Legend, who was up for the same award the previously mentioned song, “Green Light”)
Fellow Brit, Adele, won Best New Artist that year…but more on her later.
Since then…name a Black British singer that’s made it large stateside…I’ll wait.
The musical tastes of Black Americans has changed drastically. Although there is still a small pocket of outliers that are seeking out new music, for the most part we look to the tastemakers, the artists that we already know and trust, for guidance on what is good or not good.
The cosign is the greatest thing that can happen to a previously “unknown” artist struggling to make a name for themselves. And, although it is still partially about the work, it’s more about the “sure thing,” which is what the record labels need in the under siege bootleg/download/pirated music environment that is the music industry.
We have to go back to the rough and tumble days of the 1980s to catch the wave of those first British soul groups, back when record companies realized that those promotional videos might actually move units, back when A&R’s were gods.
I’m not old enough to remember Cymande’s rise into the breakbeat Hall of Fame with their early 70s albums, but I know that they were large among a certain funk inspired, break-oriented people in the South Bronx section of New York City, not to mention that their first single, “The Message,” rose to #20 on the Billboard US R&B charts.
If I’m not mistaken, Imagination’s “Body Talk” may have been one of the first songs me and my older brother, Ade, called in to request. KDKO, Denver’s Black station, used to have a thing that they claimed separated them from every other station. At the time, radio stations had a line where you could call in and request songs, aptly titled, the request line. KDKO proclaimed that whatever you requested, they would play it. We had just returned from England where “Body Talk” was a hit…but we knew a radio station in Denver didn’t have it. Being mischevious 9 and 11 year olds, we had our fun at the expense of KDKO’s DJs and the request line, calling back to back requesting the Imagination song. We’re talking 81.
The first time I saw The Specials, “Ghost Town” it was on Sunday morning Teletunes. We couldn’t figure out why the white guys were in the same car as the Black ones (testament to how segregated the US music scene was at the time). We were young, and whoever the lead singer was, in this case Neville Staple, was not only the leader but the complexion of the band. So to us, The Specials were Black. Having little knowledge of the history of music at the time, and knowing very little of the cultural make-up of the UK in general, and London in particular, we had no idea about the influence of the Caribbean population.
Teletunes would be our entry into all things British and Australian and 1982 was a breakout year for these acts. We’re talking Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue,” Imaginations’ second single, “Illusion” — Musical Youth’s “Pass the Dutchie” and later that year, “Never Gonna Give You Up” got airplay on Black radio as did Yaz’s “Move Out” (even though they were white).
“Illusion” was the most typical of the bunch for what we were listening to. “Electric Avenue” and “Move Out” seemed to be a part of some unknowable genre to us at the time. Musical Youth, however, were something different.
We could loosely lump Musical Youth into the category of Reggae but it wasn’t just that. Earlier, The Police had came out with a prototypical Reggae sounding music and took the world by storm.
We completely bastardized Reggae. We plundered it without remorse. We took from it what was useful to us but we may no attempt to repackage it and deliver it back unto the people. Which would have been false. Stewart Copeland, The Police
Once I learned about the Lovers Rock movement, a light bulb went off. (incidentally, The Clash even named a song after the genre on London’s Calling) Similar to Ska and Rock Steady, Lovers Rock had a profound affect on the musical style of late 70s-early to mid 80s British bands and the breakout band of 1982, had elements of Lovers Rock — that band was Culture Club.
The intro alone was odd. Boy George sings with back up singers for damn near a minute before the song kicks in. Once it does, there it is again, that Lovers Rock sound.
Lovers Rock…in a funny way, was Reggae that didn’t frighten white people. Safe to say. It was kinda like, ‘oh yeah, you can dance to this.’ Boy George
Difference being, the harmonies were not front and center — Boy George’s voice was. It was definitely pop. It was definitely a hit. “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” video and song played as much if not more than the average American R&B song…difference is, the average American R&B song didn’t play on pop radio…Culture Club did (a pattern we would see more often later).
Black folk didn’t mind the androgynous look of George, didn’t mind the blackface court jesters with gold hats in the opening scene of the video, we didn’t mind none of that. Culture Club followed that with “Time (Clock of the Heart)” and became a fixture on Black radio. “I’ll Tumble For You” solidified the band and made them the first band since The Beatles (yes, The Beatles) to have three top ten hits in America from their debut album. Black folks were down with all of that.
White people have always seemed to have a problem with me doing Reggae, not Black people. You know, Black people say, ‘it’s a nice tune, you can sing reggae good.’ I always get complimented. Boy George
Culture Club was a part of what some deem the “Second British Invasion,” an era that ran from 82–86 and was fueled by MTV, which, as I’ve mentioned before, meant little to nothing to us anyways. They ain’t play Black folk and we liked Human Nature and the like by default. We liked music videos.
Of course Thriller came out at the end of 1982 and MASHED UP all competition. Culture Club slipped back into the limelight with their second album at the end of 83, Colour by Numbers, with their largest charting single “Karma Chameleon.”
But at the beginning of 1984 another British act would become a Black radio staple, a band that defied category, a band that took the name of their lead singer — Sade.
“Your Love is King,” “When Am I Gonna Make a Living,” “Smooth Operator,” & “Diamond Life,” nearly half of the album Diamond Life played on the radio. Whether we were going to Hamburger Stand, church, or Mile High Comics, we were guaranteed to hear at least one Sade song. We heard Sade so much over the next four years that I didn’t buy any of her albums until I went off to Clark.
Sade Adu had never considered singing when she was asked to take the place of a departed backing vocalist for the group Pride. She was even rejected after her first audition. But the group needed a replacement to join Barbara Robinson the other background singer and called her back.
Initially Sade and fellow band members Stuart Matthewman, Paul Denman, & Paul Anthony Cook broke away to write their own separate material. But within a year, they were more popular than Pride and made a go of it, releasing “Your Love is King” and then their debut album, Diamond Life, in July of 1984. The album didn’t do Culture Club numbers but it still rocked out with a cool 2 million sold.
You would be hard pressed to find anyone who dislikes Sade and we’ll periodically return to Sade as we continue to trace British R&B in the US. But before we leave the group, Sade released Promise late 1985, you know, the one with “Is it a Crime,” “Sweetest Taboo,” and “Never as Good as the First Time,” the one that was number 1 in the UK and the US, the one that won Sade a Best New Artist Grammy — yeah, that one.
That’s really more like 1986 though. The summer and fall of 1985 belonged to two other British groups.
The average listener may not have heard it but Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis did. One of the big hits of the summer of 1985 came from a British group, Loose Ends, but the beat, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis were convinced, came from their production on the S.O.S. Band’s “No One’s Gonna Love You.”
And they were right.
After securing a deal with Virgin Records by playing a demo cassette to Mick Clarke, Clarke felt that the Philadelphia based producer, Nick Martinelli, would be a perfect fit for his newly signed band. Martinelli and Loose Ends got along straightaway and Clarke arranged for them to record in Philadelphia. They knocked out their first album, A Little Spice, and it was enough of a success for them to be granted a second album…also recorded in Philly.
While working on a track they initially called, “Contemplating,” Martinelli had two suggestions: change the title, call it “Hangin’ on a String,” and listen to “No One’s Gonna Love You.”
So what happened was, this producer Nick Martinelli, had taken this song, and he had told us to program a beat just like a song Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis had done with S.O.S. Band. We literally copied the beat. They used a drum machine called an 808. It’s fairly standard, but it breathes differently to most machines. The way it goes to the end of the bar and starts again is totally different. It sort of bubbles along rather than clicking like a normal metronome. So we basically programmed the song, and then we put the 808 underneath it. Carl McIntosh
No one in the group thought “Hangin’ on a String” was a hit or the lead single. They thought a more upbeat, faster tempo song would have been better suited. But Simon Draper, one of the founders of Virgin Records, thought otherwise…and so did we. “Hangin’ on a String” was heard in passing cars, neighboring duplexes, the video was omnipresent…and so was a song by another group that worked with Martinelli — Five Star.
If you’re not old enough to remember Five Star, you’re probably not old enough to remember that Michael Jackson used to sing with his brothers and the group was called the Jackson Five. So, the Five of Five Star had an obvious ring. Not to mention, the Pearson family: Stedman, Lorraine, Denise, Doris and Delroy, were managed by their own Joe Jackson…their father, Buster Pearson.
As we pointed out in “One Hit Wonder” what to us was a hit, is often snubbed by white critics and white music historians. “Hide and Seek” got constant spins on Power 99FM and “Crazy” could be seen on NiteTracks every Friday. “All Fall Down” didn’t come out of a vacuum. Five Star were popular enough to record with Nick Martinelli and they had enough potential that every member of Loose Ends particpated in the making of “All of Fall Down” which ended up being their crossover hit.
Black folk also let three white acts slide onto the charts that summer: Howard Jone’s “Things Can Only Get Better,” Simply Red’s “Holding Back the Years” (you know how we loved that song, lawd), & Scritti Politti’s “Perfect Way.” Luckily, America had the likes of Lisa Lisa & The Cult Jam otherwise, it would have been an all British affair.
But what we know as R&B would undergo a drastic change. The sound ushered in by Full Force (and the Latin Rascals with the Force MD’s), a blend of Rap and R&B, would take hold and once New Jack Swing was in full swing (pun intended) the writing was on the wall for older, band oriented acts.
Loose Ends, Five Star, another British performer Billy Ocean who took American by storm with “Caribbean Queen” in 84, and as mentioned above, Sade would put out more hits over the next few years but a second wave of British artist would soon come to dominate.
For us, “FairPlay” was an album cut. Song by Rose Windross and accompanied by a music video, over in the UK it was the seminal release of a decade-old and some change Sound System, Soul II Soul.
Our introduction to Soul II Soul came with “Keep on Moving.” We heard it for the first time in the Spring of 1989. Which says a lot. Normally it took eons for songs to break from the UK via New York. “Keep on Moving” was not normal.
Bobby Konders, the well-known Reggae DJ, was just an intern for Frankie Crocker back in 1989 and was so moved by Soul II Soul that not only did he give “Keep on Moving” to Crocker, who threw up on drive time, Konders back doored a copy to DJ Red Alert on rival KISS. Two hours later, Red jumped on it too.
“Keep on Moving” quickly became a massive hit.
When we started out, it was all about Frankie Crocker, Red Alert, and a lot of those types of radio stations. It wasn’t until we were embraced by Casey Kasem that we were able to cross over, which equals to a lot of the awards and accolades that I have here in my house in the U.K. Jazzie B
The foundation of “Keep on Moving” is Patryce Banks’ “Funk Box” beat, which is spiced up by the Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra strings (or as Frank Owens of Spin Magazine described it, hip hop (sic) beats with Barry White strings). The combination of the two became a movement unto itself.
A lot of Americans thought it was American music, but they couldn’t quite put their finger on it, there was no sound like that then that you could line us up with. Jazzie B
“Keep on Movin’” was rockin’ from New York to Los Angeles, from Chicago to New Orleans and everywhere in between. A & R (DJ/Producer)Timmy Resiford heard “Back to Life” while over in London and told Jazzie B that he had another hit on his hand. Jazzie spiced up the once a cappella intro into a fully fleshed out song and the One-Two punch was executed. “Back to Life” went platinum and won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The album, Back to Life racked in sales of 2 million.
Of course, by the Fall of 1989, breakbeats and strings was a common as paisley shirts and patent leather (also popular at the time). And, as always, a natural crossover hit emerged…natural because it was sung by a white woman.
The drums aren’t as hard-hitting, strings seem to be mixed louder, and Lisa Stansfield’s “All Around the World” did just as the title suggests, went all around the world, hopping up to the number one spot in nation after nation…and yes, Black people played the hell out of it too. KDKO definitely played it more than they ever played any of Soul II Soul’s songs and BET couldn’t get enough of it.
When it came time for R&B legend Tina Turner to hand out the Best British Newcomer award at the Brits in February of 1990, you know who walked away with that award…not Soul II Soul…Lisa Stansfield did, of course.
The UK had the British Music Awards, and the ultimate thing happened, where a paricular artist or their producers or their record company had been influenced by the Soul II Soul beat and went on to win four awards. In this case, it was Lisa Stansfield. In a situation like that, deep down in my heart knowing that we influence someone is kind of cool, but it’s hard when you don’t get recognized by the industry for your contribution to the music. Jazzie B
Lisa Stansfield’s debut album sold a whopping 5 million albums and she’s still recording and is seven albums deep. The influence of Soul II Soul carried into the 90s (their second album, Vol. II 1990 — A New Decade & Loose End’s Look How Long were played at Fashion Shows, Step Shows, any show that had an intermission, my entire freshman year) and even spawned another one of those damn genres...they called it Acid Jazz which led to another influx of British R&B artist.
(As for Sade, she released Stronger Than Pride in 88 and we kept it in rotation until 92 when her next album came out…but more on that later)
It’s amazing how many stories begin with Fab Five Freddy. Whether you’re talking about the inspiration for Blondie rapping about Grandmaster Flash or MTV having a show dedicated to rap, Fab Five Freddy is like the plasmodesmata of the modern music world.
The Brand New Heavies were already a band that were recently signed to an American label, Delicious Vinyl, but they were in need of a lead singer. Jay Ella Ruth, it’s said, decided she didn’t want to be an international star.
Enter Fab Five Freddy and how these stories usually begin with him, “a chance encounter…”
A recent Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) student had moved to Los Angeles with $300 and a dream of making it in show business. She acted. She sang. She danced and became a part of the “underground scene” where, on “a chance encounter,” she ran into Fab Five Freddy and had an impromptu singing session. Moved by her voice, Freddy recommended her to Michael Ross, President of Delicious Vinyl who immediately signed her to a solo album deal.
Seeing that The Brand New Heavies needed a singer, he connected them with Davenport, she flew off to jolly old England, recorded “Never Stop,” and the whirlwind of activity took her off her course to record that solo album…for eight years. “Never Stop” jumped up the charts, me, Sayyed Munajj…and his mother played the single excessively (until the album came out) and I’ve been a fan of The Heavies every since.
We weren’t the only ones longing for organic music — music played by humans with real live instruments. Between New Jack Swing and the rise of Hip-Hop, most music was machine driven. Despite that, “Never Stop” may have been the only charting “Acid Jazz” release…wait, Jamiroquai were considered “Acid Jazz,” I think. If they are, then you have “Temporary Insanity” of the walking-on-the-people-walker video fame. Dave Woolf, their London rep, believed Black folk didn’t play that large of a role in the song’s success and chalked it all up to MTV. Whatever the case may be, music was becoming more niche-oriented.
The “Acid Jazz” niche was fed by groups like Incognito & D’Influence. Artist like Omar and Mica Harris carved out their own territory and Des’ree broke from the “Acid Jazz” fold and moved into the realm of Pop due to the success of her 1994 release, “Gotta Be.” There was even Jhelisa who proceeded N’Dea Davenport’s easterly bound travel to the United Kingdom where she plied her trade eventually “hitting” with “Friendly Pressure” in 1994.
Until the days of so-called “Neo-Soul,” if someone wanted non-sample based R&B with musicians playing instruments, they turned their attention to Britain.
Of course there were still non- “Acid Jazz” artist who cracked American mainstream radio…well one — Mark Morrison.
Let me say for the record — I didn’t get it. His awkward voice, the pedestrian track, none of it made sense to me. But I was also entering my “years of hate” and Mark Morrison didn’t need the likes of me no how.
“Return of the Mack” attacked the US like Britain attacked the Falkland Islands and American radio was just as helpless. And like colonizing Britain, “Return of the Mack” assaulted the top 10 in countries all over the globe.
Not to mention, the song had an accompanying video that went with the times — it was over the top. Again, I couldn’t tell you. I just watched the video for the first time after I typed the last paragraph. All I know is the video was important or monumental enough for Complex to do a 20 year anniversary article.
“Return of the Mack” was a million selling hit much to my chagrin.
(And Sade…she aged like a fine wine in the four years between albums and put out what I believe to be her opus, Love Deluxe in 1992, selling 3 million records in the US alone, an anomaly indeed)
In the early 2000s there was all of this talk about the liberation of the artist. How, due to the internet, artist could now connect directly with their fans. So on and so forth.
This talk was fueled by the rise of Napster, Limewire, and the powerhouse that was once MySpace. The two former “liberated” music from the record stores and labels and allowing fans to “share” music. The latter became a way for artists to instantly share their new music. (This is how Lily Allen, who we will discuss in a bit, Jay Electronica, and many others rose to prominence). Radio was no longer important.
But this also meant that record sells were no longer the end all be all. That precursor was necessary as we discuss Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.
A spin-off from the record label, Desco, founded by bass player/engineer Gabriel Roth & wealthy record collector Phillip Lehman, the Dap Kings, after adding on Sharon Jones, ushered in what has been labeled as “retro-soul.” They generated a lot of media and their Stax/Motown hybrid debut Dapp Dippin with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (2002) was a critical success. Commercially, it didn’t reach “mainstream” numbers. (100 Days, 100 Nights, their third album, they considered a success with 100, 000 records sold).
The closest person to making any noise from Black Britain in that era was Ms. Dynamite. She was marketed as the British Lauryn Hill because of her propensity to mix rapping and singing. Ms. Dynamite’s breakout hit in the UK was “Booo!” Her flow was tight. But the song that was supposed to blow open the US market was “Dy-na-mi-tee” where she flexed her vocals. I don’t recall V103 playing it even once. (Perhaps her A&R would have done better had the lead off been “Anyway U Want It” featuring Keon Bryce but what do I know). The album, A Little Deeper (2003), is also called… “a critical success.”
Later, in 2003, Amy Winehouse’s Frank came out. The media went apeshit…but they were just in foreplay mode because when Winehouse returned with Back to Black, they were full on orgasmic.
Enough has been written about Amy Winehouse: think pieces, essays, books, you name it, it’s out there, so I don’t have to recount her life and tragic death here. For us, Ms. Winehouse is but a sign. She, and to a much lesser degree, Lily Allen, were seen as “the new face of soul” around 2006–7. Both plied their trade in classic Black sounds, Winehouse was the Motown-y vibe, while Allen took up the faux ska, faux reggae mantle.
Back to Black was a phenomenon. With “Rehab” as the lead-off track, Winehouse rode the wave of controversy and acclaim. A large part of that success, which is why we prepped you with the Dap Kings above, was six out of the albums eleven songs were backed by the Dap Kings and recorded at Daptone Studios in Bushwick, Brooklyn, NYC — the 16 track analog recordings really connected with the people.
Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black has gone on to sell over 12 million records. I’m sure that help keep the lights on at Daptone Studios.
(Sade — she doubled her hiatus time to eight years & came back with Lover’s Rock in 2000. Another 4 million sold, another Grammy earned, this one for Best Pop Vocal Album)
Maybe you’re from Supai, Arizona — free of all forms of media and can only be reached by helicopter…or mule. Maybe you’re from Nuuk, Greenland. If so, I excuse you from not knowing anything about Adele and her three age-named albums of whom Lily and Amy were a sign of.
Since 19, Adele’s debut, she has been a media and Black R&B darling. Black people embrace Adele in ways I haven’t seen since the days of Teena Marie’s induction as an honorary vanilla sista.
As we mentioned earlier, her debut eclipsed Estelle which prompted her to react. (You know how journalist do)
Adele ain’t soul. She sounds like she heard some Aretha records once, and she’s got a deeper voice — that don’t mean she’s soul. That don’t mean nothing to me in the grand scheme of my life as a black person. As a songwriter, I get what they do. As a black person, I’m like: you’re telling me this is my music? Fuck that! Estelle
Adele’s 25 has sold 8 million albums in the US alone, only the sixth album since 2001 to do so. Although Jill Scott’s Woman debuted top of Billboard’s 200 she would be lucky to sell half that.
The truth of the matter is, we don’t even sign on for our own R&B artist. Where artist like Jagged Edge, Dru Hill, even 112 and Soul IV Real, once sold millions of records, only someone with a Pop sensibility can do that now.
An Adele album release is held up in the way that a Micheal Jackson release use to be and she sells records hand over fist. Meanwhile, we’re caught off guard when an Anthony Hamilton, or Ledisi, or Vivian Green releases an album. The conversation usually goes like, “Did you know that — insert Black R & B artist here — released an album?”
(Show of hands, how many knew Musiq Soulchild just released an album?)
And those are older artist. Not many make it into the Miguel or Frank Ocean lane — ask Gallant. But even if they do get radio play, those artists are often relegated to the “Grown and Sexy” stations which translates to “old” or “no longer relevant.” White stations rarely play Black R&B artist.
And there is not one Black R&B artist that is a guaranteed Platinum album in the way that Adele is or Amy Winehouse was. It’s not due to talent.
We celebrate the white artist singing R&B much in the same way that we go nuts over a white person counting-by-the-number-dancing in their best Black dancer mode. (Remember how Black folk lost their shit over young, Alyson Stoner dancing in Missy’s video?) If the package is white and gives us a Black-like, Black-esque product, all the better. The industry will always back the white artist in the way that they have since the days of Elvis.
Sam Phillips, who ran Sun Records, is known for famously saying, “If I could only find a white man that had the Negro sound and Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars.” Although that proved more prophetic than fact, the formula has remained the same.
So a Black British R&B artist? They don’t stand a chance. Lianne La Havas can steal away a little niche of people who are looking for her, but she’s not going to be on your Hot or V stations. Most people will never hear of her or any of the other artist mentioned and even if they did, maybe the average Black person won’t be able to get with the eclectic style of Dornik. Maybe they’ll find Samm Henshaw too “classic.” Maybe if they listen to Izzy Bizu, aside from being turned off from anyone with the name Izzy, perhaps Cool Beanz is folksy to them. We have very fickle, trained taste now.
Sadly, that taste robs us of the musical output of our closest Brothers and Sisters of the diaspora (next to good o’ Canada, of course).
But I know one thing, if this song was pushed hard enough, and it got the proper COSIGN, Black Americans might join the already 2 million people who are onboard for the official release. I’ll leave you with the live version.
(…and oh yeah, Sade…took a ten year hiatus…came back HARD with Soldier of Love in 2010, landed the number 1 spot on the Billboard 200 for the first time and stayed there for three weeks, snatched yet another Grammy for Best R&B Performance or Group with Vocals, and sold a pretty decent 1.3 million in the US alone. )