Soul And / Or Related Artists
stephanie mills

Stephanie Mills

b. Stephanie Mills, 22nd March 1957, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.

Born in Brooklyn, Stephanie Mills is the fifth born of six children, and began singing as a child at Brooklyn's Cornerstone Baptist Church.

By the age of 9 years, Stephanie appeared in her first play, which was followed two years later by winning an amateur talent night at New York's famous Apollo Theater.

She went on to win the contest 5 further times.

The resulting success lead to her being cast in her first Broadway role, the orphaned child of a runaway slave, in the musical Maggie Flynn.

The production role led to her being chosen as the opening act for the Isley Brothers.

By 1973, Stephanie's musical recording career began with her signing to Paramount Records by Michael Barbiero.

Moving In The Right DirectionFor The First Time

moving in the right direction - 1974 / for the first time - 1976

Her first single 'I Knew It Was Love' was released on the imprint, in 1974, which the took her, firstly, to the Paramount label in 1974, and then on to the Motown label in 1976.

At Paramount her debut album was 'Moving In The Right Direction', whilst her Motown follow up featured a set of Burt Bacharach and Hal David songs, entitled 'For The First Time'.

In 1975, Stephanie won the role of Dorothy in the African American version of the musical 'The Wiz'.

Michael Jackson and Stephanie

michael jackson and stephanie

This led to a relationship with Michael Jackson, who was also involved in the production (he starred in the movie version, with Diana Ross taking over the role Stephanie had occupied on stage).

Stephanie's delivery of the song 'Home', from the show, became hugely popular, and became somewhat of a signature tune of hers.

Michael's brother Jermaine Jackson recommended Stephanie to Berry Gordy, who signed her to the label.

Stephanie left Motown in 1978 and signed to the 20th Century imprint, joining forces with the Mtume songwriting team Mtume and Lucas.

Whatcha Gonna Do with My LovinSweet Sensation

whatcha gonna do with my lovin - 1979 / sweet sensation - 1980

Her first LP for the label, 'Whatcha Gonna Do with My Lovin', was released in 1979, and went gold, going to number 12 R&B and number 22 pop on Billboard's charts.

The album featured the songs he singles 'Whatcha Gonna Do with My Lovin', 'Put Your Body In It' and 'You Can Get Over'.

Her next LP, 'Sweet Sensation' (number three R&B, number 16 Pop, spring 1980), featured Stephanie's biggest hit to date, the Reggie Lucas produced 'Never Knew Love Like This Before'.

The single became a number 12 R&B and number 6 Pop hit in 1980.

Stephanie briefly married former Soul Train dancer Jeffrey Daniels of the group Shalamar around this time.

StephanieLove Has Lifted Me

stephanie - 1981 / love has lifted me - 1982

1981's 'Stephanie' featured a top hit for her and the late Teddy Pendergrass entitled 'Two Hearts', while her 1982 album was entitled 'Love Has Lifted Me', a series of songs from the Motown vault.

In 1983 , 'Merciless', featured her hit cover of Prince's 'How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore?, along with the number 3 dance chart hit 'Pilot Error'.

Tantalizingly HotMerciless

tantalizingly hot - 1982 / merciless - 1983

Stephanie then relocated to the Casablanca imprint, releasing 'Tantalizingly Hot', 'Merciless', and 'I've Got the Cure'.The latter album was produced by David 'Hawk' Wolinski, formerly with the group Rufus.

I've Got The CureStephanie Mills

i've got the cure - 1984 / stephanie mills - 1985

In 1984, she had a U.K. hit with 'The Medicine Song' (number 29), which also reached number 1 on the U.S. dance chart.

By 1985 Stephanie released a self titled album, which featured the song 'Stand Back', and also included the ballad 'I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love' (the song was written by Rene Moore and Angela Winbush for Alton McLain and Destiny).

If I Were Your WomanHome

if i were your woman - 1987 / home - 1989

'If I Were Your Woman' saw another label change to MCA Records in 1987, the title track peaking at number one R&B, number 30 Pop in that summer.

The song was originally a hit for Gladys Knight & the Pips in 1971.

Other songs from the album included 'I Feel Good All Over' (a song her label mate Patti LaBelle didn't want to record) and 'You're Puttin' a Rush on Me'.

Stephanie recorded two duets with the late Robert Brookins in 1986, co-penning and producing his album 'Let It Be Me'.

In 1989, Stephanie released the album 'Home' (the title track of which featured Take 6 on a reworking of her signature tune from the musical 'the Wiz').

The album included the songs 'The Comfort of a Man' and another song penned by Angela Winbush entitled 'Something in the Way You Make Me Feel', which peaked at number five R&B, number 82 Pop in the summer of 1989.

ChristmasSomething Real

christmas - 1991 / something real - 1993

Following a festive set of songs entitled 'Christmas', her final release for the label was the album 'Something Real', which featured the songs 'All Day All Night' and 'Never Do Wrong'.

During the 1990's, Stephanie was married, for a while, to the radio program manager Michael Saunders, with the wedding ceremony performed by Minister Louis Farrakhan.

Personal InspirationsWinner

personal inspirations - 1995 / winner - 2000

Stephanie released a live gospel recording in 1995 on GospoCentric Records entitled 'Personal Inspirations'.

The set featured a re-working of her song 'I Have Learned To Respect The Power Of Love', following which Stephanie took time out from recording to care for her son.

She returned to the stage in 1997, playing the lead in a major production of Stephen Schwartz's 'Children of Eden' in New Jersey.

In 2000, Stephanie released 'Winners'. which featured a collection of older material.

The same year she released a 12" single entitled 'Latin Lover' in a garage music style.

Born For This

born for this! - 2004

In 2004, Stephanie released 'Born For This!' for the U.K. based Expansion Records label, which featured the single 'Can't Let Him Go'.

Stephanie toured in the latter half of the decade, making an appearance in the 2007 gospel TV series 'Sunday Best' and featured in a live interview on 'The Yolanda Adams Morning Show'.

Stephanie now has her own record label (JM Records).

Stephanie Mills

Stephanie Mills

Real Player


Moving In The Right Direction (Paramount Records 1975)

For The First Time (Motown Records 1976)

Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin? (20th Century Records 1979)

Sweet Sensation (20th Century Records 1980)

Stephanie (20th Century Records 1981)

Tantalizingly Hot (Casablanca Records 1982)

Love Has Lifted Me (Motown Records 1982)

Merciless (Casablanca Records 1983)

I've Got The Cure (Casablanca Records 1984)

Stephanie Mills (MCA Records 1985)

If I Were Your Woman (MCA Records 1987)

Home (MCA Records 1989)

Christmas (MCA Records 1991)

Something Real (MCA Records 1993)

Personal Inspirations (Gospo-Centric Records 1995)

Winner (PolyGram Records 2000)

Born For This (Expansion Records 2004)

top of the page

SoulwalkingStart HereThe ArtistsListen Out ForThe ChartBeen MissedRespectReal AudioOpinionNetworkJazz & FusionLinksMotown