UK’s Soul Queen was in top-10 list of 100 Great Black Britons
2nd February 2010: Celebrate Valentine’s Day with some soulful live music.
Get ready for Valentine’s Special with Mica Paris on the big day’s eve, as Rich Mix welcomes Mica Paris. It’s there on Saturday 13 February, 8pm.
That’s right. The UK’s Soul Queen — who in 2004 was in the top 10 list of 100 Great Black Britons compiled to celebrate the achievements and contributions made by the British Black community over the centuries — is back to her first passion: music.
After 2009 saw the British star release her first original studio album in 10years, she has now embarked on a nationwide tour, meeting old and new fans Mica’s latest album, entitled ‘Born Again’, has been produced by the legendary ‘hitmaker’, Brian Rawling.
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 17 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 10 hit with ‘You Are My One Temptation’.
This led to 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 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 the Autumn of 2004, 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 theater 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 and expert judge on Gok Wan’s ‘Miss Naked Beauty 2008’ for Channel 4 and ITV’s =91CelebAir’.
While presenting ‘What Not To Wear’, Mica encountered many woman who’s 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 woman 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. The paperback was released in August 2008.