Having already taken an extensive look at my favorite "divas of color" for Black History Month in February, I've decided to blog about some of my other favorite women singers. Some of them you may have heard of, but some of them may be new to you. I can guarantee there won't be any of the expected choices, because I prefer gals who are a bit off the beaten track. Let's start with the great Mari Wilson!
One of my all-time favorite singers, Mari (born Mari MacMillan Ramsey Wilson), is a stylish English singer who's initial sound and appearance were heavily influenced by early 1960s pop music.
Her back-up band was called the Wilsations and included future pop star Julia Fordham. Her clean, precise and soulful delivery of lyrics and her eloquent phrasing makes Ms. Wilson stand out far from the pack, with or without her signature beehive.
Mari scored six UK hit retro-pop singles in the early 1980s, including her biggest hit, "Just What I Always Wanted" in 1982. In 1983 she scored a top 30 hit with a gorgeous cover of the Julie London classic "Cry Me a River".
Both tracks were included on the essential Showpeople album, which also became a top 30 hit in the UK. Standout tracks include "Ecstacy" and an amazing cover of "Are You There (With Another Girl)?" I swear, it will make you ask, "Dionne who?"An EP featuring a kick-ass version of the Motown hit "Ain't That Peculiar" followed in 1984.
In 1985 Mari performed the beautiful title song "Would You Dance with a Stranger?" for the acclaimed film DANCE WITH A STRANGER, starring Miranda Richardson and Rupert Everett.Miranda's version of the song appears alongside Mari's on the soundtrack album.
In 1991, Mari released The Rhythm Romance, a wonderfully arranged mix of new, contemporary songs and lush Jazz standards.
Tracks included "No Moon at All," Lee Hazelwood's "This Town," the Gershwin classic "Someone to Watch Over Me," Rogers & Hart's "My Funny Valentine" and the Lennon/McCartney ballad "And I Love Him".The following year, two compilation discs appeared titled Beat the Beat and Just What I've Always Wanted.
In 2005 a new album entitled Dolled Up was released with disco-tinged "The Love Thing" being the outstanding track along with the cover of Todd Rundgren's "I Saw the Light". Another new album, Emotional Glamour was released in October 2008, and featured "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" and 10 great original tunes including "Hits and Misses" and the hysterical and sassy "Forever Young."So, if you are a fan of great female singers from Doris to Julie to Dusty Springfield to Karen Carpenter to Annie Lennox, give Mari a spin - you will not be disappointed. Visit Mari online.
In 2000, Mari returned and sang the theme song to the hit British TV sitcom COUPLING.
"Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" had been recorded in the 1960s by Doris Day and became popular again due to its use in the Baz Luhrman film STRICTLY BALLROOM and a rockin' remake by the band Cake. Mari's flawless version is right up their with Doris' in my opinion.