Mica Paris & World Hunger Day 2011
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The UK’s Soul Queen is back to her first passion: music. 2009 saw the British star releasing her first original studio album in ten years. She also embarked on a nationwide tour meeting fans old and new and reminding her millions of TV fans what first put her in the public eye 22 years ago.
Mica’s new album, entitled ‘Born Again’ was released in Summer 2009 and was produced by the legendary ‘hit- maker’, Brian Rawling. Rawling’s recent single ‘Broken Strings’, for James Morrison and Nelly Furtado was number one worldwide. James Morrison wrote Mica’s first single from the album, released Summer 2009, ‘Baby Come Back Now’ – an up-tempo retro tune, that Morrison penned especially for Mica’s soaring vocals.
Mica launched 2010 in the best possible way with new single, ‘Born Again’ (the title track from her highly acclaimed album), and a string of intimate shows showcasing her amazing vocal dexterity and funky band.
Mica Paris’s roots are in soul and gospel music. She grew up singing in her grandparents’ church and by her mid teens was making regular appearances with ‘The Spirit of Watts’ gospel choir. She was soon noticed as a distinctive voice and at seventeen got her first break as a backing vocalist with the UK chart band ‘Hollywood Beyond’.
The range, power, and sheer soulfulness of her singing made a major impact on the UK scene and in the following year, 1988, she released her debut, platinum-selling album, So Good, from which she had her first top ten hit with ‘You Are My One Temptation’. This led to a collaboration with American soul singer, Will Downing, on a cover version of ‘Where Is The Love’, a song made famous by Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack in the early ’70s.
In 1991, Mica’s second album, Contribution, was released. This extended Mica’s soul and gospel influences to bring in hip-hop and house music and included a track written especially for Mica by Prince, which she recorded at his Paisley Park studios.
Her third album, Whisper a Prayer (1993), marked another departure for Mica, fusing soul, jazz and blues with lush string arrangements, garnering further top twenty singles ‘Never Felt Like This Before’ and ‘Wanna Hold On To You’. Mica then decided to take a break from recording and turned to the stage, where she starred in two acclaimed West End shows, ‘Mama I Want to Sing’ and ‘Sweet Lorraine’.
In 1997 she returned to the studio to record and produce her fourth album, Black Angel, which produced two more top twenty singles ‘Stay’ and ‘Carefree’ and in 2001, another collaboration, this time with Dave Gilmore and Jools Holland on Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ classic track, ‘I Put A Spell On You’, once again topped the charts.
In 2002 Mica extended her talents into broadcasting. She presented two shows for television: a documentary tracing the influence of gospel on American popular music, ‘The Gospel of Gospel’, for Lion Television and Channel 4, which featured interviews with legendary artists Ray Charles, BB King, Al Green, Issac Hayes and Chaka Khan; and Channel 4’s ‘Gospel Singer of the Year’ competition.
She also began hosting her own radio show, ‘Soul Solutions’, on BBC Radio 2. With an average of a million listeners, it became the most successful soul and R&B show in the UK.
Early 2003 she played to a sell-out crowd at London’s Jazz Café, and broadcast a two-part show, ‘Purple Reign: The Prince Story’, on BBC Radio 2 which covered the entirety of the American artist’s controversial career and featured interviews with George Clinton, Chaka Khan and Jimmy Jam. Autumn of 2003 saw Mica being presented with the Gold Badge Award by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters for her special contribution to the British entertainment industry.
In 2004 Mica was in the top 10 list of the 100 Great Black Britons which was compiled to celebrate the achievements and contributions made by the British Black community over the centuries. In the Autumn Mica returned to the studio recorded a duet with Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes which will be the first single to be released from his best of Album which features duets with other artists such as Lenny Kravitz and Tina Turner.
In October of 2004 Mica toured around the UK as the main character in the theatre production, The Vagina Monologues.
Towards the end of the year, Mica started recording her new soul album based on her famous Radio 2 Soul show, Soul Solutions and then jetted off to Australia for a few months to do some live performances at the Basement in Sydney.
Upon her return, Mica began a sell- out residency at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club and began what would be two seasons of the BBC 1 show ‘What Not To Wear’. Her time on the show created record- breaking ratings. Other television presenting has followed with Mica being an expert judge on Gok Wan’s ‘Miss Naked Beauty 2008’ for Channel 4 and ITV’s ‘CelebAir’.
While presenting ‘What Not To Wear’ Mica encountered many women whose stories touched her. She began to examine her own life and choices and was compelled to tell her story in a bid to inspire confidence and self- esteem to those women and others that find life overwhelming at times. Thus her book ‘Beautiful Within’ was born. Published by Simon and Schuster the book was an instant hit.
Mica is the special guest of Michael Bolton on his UK tour dates in November/December 2010. She has most recently performed with Will Young, and is a regular guest on the Michael Ball show and GMTV. http://www.micaparis.com/
Mica Paris & World Hunger Day
In 2011 Mica performed at the World Hunger Day Gala Concert in aid of The Hunger Project. The evening, entitled ‘Dionne Warwick & Friends’ featured stars from Opera, Musical Theatre and Popular Music and the incredible orchestral academy, Southbank Sinfonia. The evening led by the legendary Dionne Warwick also included Multi-Grammy Award Winner, Natalie Cole and the incredible voices of the London Community Gospel Choir.
Find out more about World Hunger Day and how you can Get Involved
Watch the World Hunger Day launch video on YouTube, featuring Tim Holder, Dionne Warwick & Åsa Skogström Feldt