||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2009)|
|Born||1952 (age 61–62)
|Genres||R&B/soul, disco, hi-NRG, pop, house|
|Labels||Donna Jean, Ensign, Epic, Hansa, Hot Foot, Hot Productions, Lollipop, Salsoul|
|Associated acts||Boney M|
Claudja Barry (born 1952) is a singer-songwriter and actress. She was a member of the disco group Boney M before leaving and pursuing a solo career. As an actress, she is known for performing in the European versions of stage musicals Hair and Catch My Soul.
Early music career
At the age of 6, Barry and her family emigrated from Jamaica to Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. After graduation from high school, Barry left for New York City where she eventually landed a role in the hit musical, Hair and then Catch My Soul. The play toured Europe where she eventually wound up in West Germany in the spring of 1975. That same year she signed with Hot Foot label and released a single called "Reggae Bump". It was released in Canada under the Hansa label. While still in Germany, she met producer Frank Farian and became part of the studio group Boney M from 1975 to 1976, but left after tiring of simply lip-syncing to pre-recorded music.
After leaving Boney M, Barry had some success as a solo artist. She had two Billboard Hot 100 entries, the first being "Dancin' Fever" which peaked at No. 72, off The Girl Most Likely album, the other song being "Boogie Woogie Dancin' Shoes" (R&B No. 37, Pop No. 56 in 1979) from the album I Wanna Be Loved By You, released in 1978. Both became major mainstream pop hits in Canada (where "Dancin' Shoes" peaked at No. 7 on the RPM 100 national chart on April 7, 1979 and remained on the chart for 23 weeks) as well as in Europe.
In 1976, the soulful ballad, "Love for the Sake of Love", received airplay and in 1979, the single, "Boogie Tonight", from the I Wanna... album, received Canadian airplay, sharing the charts with "Dancin' Shoes" and reaching No. 42 on June 23, 1979. Also in 1979, she won a Juno Award for being the Most Promising Female Vocalist of the Year.
With the release of her Feel The Fire album in 1980, Claudja's songs were becoming highly synthesized - this was her final album to feature an earthier, more horn & string approach to the production of her music. In 1981, she made a successful foray into new wave/Hi-NRG music with the album Made In Hong Kong. It featured the lead single "Radio Action", which became a moderate club hit peaking at No. 57.
In 1985, she appeared in the movie, Rappin', starring Mario Van Peebles. The year 1985 also saw the release of the single, "Born To Love" which sounds similar to a Pet Shop Boys or Erasure song. This single was produced by New York City based Hi-NRG producer, singer and songwriter, Bobby Orlando. "Born To Love" features airy, ethereal synths and aggressive, syncopated synthesizers and a fierce lead guitar which made it a Top 20 smash, peaking at No. 14 on Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. Dance format radio stations in the United States did not give it major exposure since the album it was lifted from was a UK-only release.
On the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, she has had much more success: six Top 10 hits, including "Down and Counting," which spent a week at No. 1 in 1986. At the time, the song also became only her third single to chart outside of the Dance charts in the U.S., peaking at a No. 98 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. Barry had further successes on that chart with the singles "Can't You Feel My Heartbeat" (No. 33 R&B) and "Secret Affair" (No. 60 R&B). "Down and Counting" was the lead single from her album, I, Claudja, her only full length record for Epic Records.
After her run at Epic did not result in another album, she focused her music career on her fans in Canada and abroad. She still remained active recording a pair of underground club classics during the early 1990s. The singles "Love Is An Island" (1991) and "Summer of Love" (1992) are highly regarded club hits to those who know them. She covered a Prince song called "When 2 R In Love" in 1992 on Radikal Records. In 1993, the German euro-dance project General Base featured Barry as lead singer for their single "Poison", which got a greater success. "Summer of Love" was successful enough that it maintains radio airplay on some radio stations such as WMPH. Both single became major hits outside of the U.S. A Christmas/Holiday Dance album titled, Disco'round The Christmas Tree was released on Radikal Records in 1995, then an extended mix compilation titled, Disco Mixes. Before the decade ended, she recorded another song called, "Reach Out For Me" on Tony Green Organization Records in 1997. For the remainder of the decade, she focused on raising her family.
1999 to present
In 1999, R&B artist Montell Jordan sampled the rhythm track from Barry's single "Love For the Sake of Love," for the hit titled, "Get It On Tonite" (No. 4 on the Hot 100). Da Brat also released a less successful song with the same sample featuring Tyrese called "What'chu like."
In May 2006, Barry returned to the Billboard charts with "I Will Stand" released on Donna Jean Records. By July the song had reached the Top 10 of the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, peaking at No. 4 before the end of the summer. It received moderate dance radio format airplay. Barry is working on her long awaited album.
- 1976: Sweet Dynamite - Lollipop
- 1977: The Girl Most Likely - Lollipop
- 1978: I Wanna Be Loved By You - Lollipop
- 1978: Claudja - Salsoul
- 1979: Feel The Fire - Hot Productions
- 1981: Made In Hong Kong - Hot Productions
- 1985: If I Do It To You - Ensign
- 1987: I, Claudja - Epic
- 1991: The Best of Claudja Barry - Hot Productions
- List of Number 1 Dance Hits (United States)
- List of artists who reached number one on the US Dance chart
- Bobby Orlando
- Barnes, Ken (1979-06-17). "POP MUSIC - Los Angeles Times - ProQuest Archiver - Jun 17, 1979". Retrieved 2010-04-16.
- Hunt, Dennis (1986-09-28). "TOPS IN POPS - Los Angeles Times - ProQuest Archiver - Sep 28, 1986". Retrieved 2010-04-16.