Pepper MaShay, born Jean McClain, grew up in Muncie, Indiana. She left Indiana in her 20s to pursue her career and was contracted to sing back-up for the soundtrack of Tina Turner's movie "What's Love Got To Do With It." She spent two days with Tina Turner calling saying, "She is Rock N' Roll." Growing up, her musical influences were Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan
In 1995, Pepper's manager at the time contacted Michael O'Hara to work on an initial demo for a possible recording deal. They wrote 5 songs together in her California home, but the songs never went anywhere. Pepper ended up writing a song called "Something To Feel" and it got picked up by Island Records. In her 30's music labels in the 90's thought she was too old for a record deal but she never gave up.
MaShay has an extensive résumé of work as a background and session singer, working, most notably, with Gladys Horton in a 1980's regrouping of The Marvelettes. Mashay's photo can been seen on the cover of the CD "The Marvelettes: The Very Best of the Motor City Recordings".
As a lead vocalist, MaShay has released many tracks that have performed well on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart and more recently, the Hot Dance Airplay chart. Those singles include "Something To Feel" (1995), "Happiness" (1997), "Step Into My Life" (1998), "Sextacy" (2000) and "Send Me an Angel" (2005). Her voice is probably best known from the "Let's get soaking wet!" chanting throughout the Barry Harris track "Dive in the Pool", made famous by its inclusion in the American television series Queer as Folk. Another collaboration with Harris, "I Got My Pride", hit number two on the U.S. Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in 2001. In late 2006, Pepper MaShay earned her first solo chart-topper on the U.S. Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart with the song "Lost Yo Mind". It has attained moderate to heavy rotation on dance-oriented radio stations, charting well on the Hot Dance Airplay. Pepper MaShay issued her new single, "Got To Give The People What They Want" in late January 2008 and "Does Your Mamma Know" during the fourth quarter of 2008. She is currently touring with House's Hugh Laurie officially as part of his band, "Hugh Laurie & The Copper Bottom Band". Mashay is currently recording songs for a working title called, "Requiem For A Heavy Weight" a tribute to an Icon in the Folk & Blues Genre. She is currently touring.
- "Something To Feel"
- "By Any Means Necessary"
- "Into You"
- "Right Back To Love"
- "Step 2 Me"
- "Step Into My Life"
- "Here's To Life"
- "Not Much Heaven"
- "Love Pretender"
- "You've Got To Go"
- "Dive in the Pool" (with Barry Harris)
- "I Got My Pride"
- "You and Me (Feels So Good)" (with Solar City)
- "I Want You In My Life"
- "I Pledge"
- "Let's Runaway" (with Scott Michael)
- "Happy New Year" (with Ernest Kohl)
- "I Can't Stop"
- "Electro Illusion"
- "You're My Inspiration"
- "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" (with Colton Ford) (cover of Stevie Wonder's 1970 hit)
- "Send Me an Angel" (cover of Real Life's 1983 hit)
- "Beauty Shop" (featured in the film Beauty Shop)
- "Lost Yo Mind"
- "Got To Give The People What They Want"
- "Does Your Mamma Know"
- "Freeway of Love" (cover of Aretha Franklin's 1985 hit song)
- List of number-one dance hits (United States)
- List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Dance chart