Terence Trent D'Arby Biography

15 March 1962, Manhattan, New York, USA. A soulful pop singer, D’Arby first became involved with the music business while posted as a soldier in Germany where he joined a local funk band, Touch, in 1983 (Early Works, a collection of his contributions to Touch, was released in 1989). Following his move to London he recorded a demo tape which was impressive enough for CBS Records to sign him. His first single, 1987’s ‘If You Let Me Stay’, reached the UK Top 10 and Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D’Arby was one of the most successful debut albums of recent years. In addition to reaching UK number 1 and US number 4, it spent over a year in the top half of the UK charts and sold several million copies worldwide. The album also generated two further UK hit singles, ‘Wishing Well’ (number 4) and ‘Sign Your Name’ (number 2). Both songs were also huge hits in America, with the former topping the pop charts in 1988. D’Arby’s self-publicity was less well-received, and his clumsy criticism of his homeland and his posing naked on a cross both backfired. This was followed by the commercial and artistic failure of 1989’s Neither Fish Nor Flesh which spent barely a month in the UK charts (a commercial decline repeated in the USA).

Although 1993’s Symphony Or Damn: Exploring The Tension Inside The Sweetness was well-received, its more rock-orientated styles were still suspiciously viewed. The album helped to restore D’Arby as a commercial force in the UK, reaching number 4 and generating four Top 20 singles, ‘Do You Love Me Like You Say?’, ‘Delicate’ (with Des’ree), ‘She Kissed Me’, and ‘Let Her Down Easy’. Vibrator finally arrived after a two-year wait, and continued the transition from smooth soul to a harder-edged sound. It was preceded by the Sam Cooke -influenced single ‘Holding On To You’, and ‘Supermodel Sandwich’, which achieved strong airplay because of its inclusion on the soundtrack of the much-publicized Robert Altman movie Prêt-A-Porter. The album featured a new recording line-up of Luke Goss (drums, ex-Bros), Branford Marsalis (saxophone), Patrice Rushen (piano) and Charlie Sepulveda (trumpet).

D’Arby founded his own label Wildcard after his Sony contract ended but effectively disappeared from view for the rest of the decade. In the new millennium, he changed his name to Sananda Maitreya and set about recording his long awaited new studio album. Wildcard! was released on D’Arby’s Sananda label with little fanfare in February 2003.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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