Stacey Q

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This article is about the musician. For the self-titled album, see Stacey Q (album).
Stacey Q
Birth name Stacey Lynn Swain
Born (1958-11-30) November 30, 1958 (age 55)
Fullerton, California, United States
Genres Pop, Hi-NRG, freestyle, rock, Italo disco, new wave
Occupations Singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, record producer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1981–present
Labels EMI America
Atlantic
Thump
Associated acts Q, SSQ
Website www.stacey-q.com

Stacey Lynn Swain (born November 30, 1958), known by her stage name Stacey Q, is an American pop singer, songwriter, dancer and actress. Her best-known single, "Two of Hearts", released in 1986, reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and in the top ten on charts in other countries.

Early life[edit]

Swain was born on November 30, 1958 in Fullerton, California.[1][2] She is the youngest of three children.[3] Her mother, Joyce, bred Cardigan Welsh Corgis that have appeared in Hollywood films and television.[4] In an 1989 interview, Swain said she was three years old when she asked for dance lessons, but had to wait until she was five,[5] when she did classical ballet. In 1969, she became the youngest member of the Dance Theater of Orange County, a local company that performed at benefit shows in Anaheim.[4][6] She spent eleven years studying ballet, and also learned flamenco dancing.[3] She performed at multiple Disneyland's Christmas Fantasy on Parade events. She studied at the Community Theatre of Performing Arts and the Wilshire Theatre of Arts.[1] She also performed in costume as the "Dutch Puppet", a name she used as a publishing alias during her early recording career.[1][4] After graduating from Anaheim High School in 1976, Swain joined the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, where she performed as a showgirl in her first year, and as an elephant rider in her second year.[1][3] Her first singing project was a Los Angeles radio spot where she would introduce and announce programs while impersonating members of The Go-Go's.[4]

Career[edit]

1981–84: Early bands[edit]

Main articles: Q (band) and SSQ (band)

In 1981, Swain was introduced to Jon St. James, the proprietor of Fullerton's Casbah Recording Studio, which hosted recordings for the bands Berlin and Social Distortion.[2][3][7]

St. James was developing a synthpop group called Q, named after the James Bond character.[3][8] The band consisted of St. James on guitars, and Dan Van Patten and John Van Tongeren on vocoder and synthesizer. She served as the assistant producer on the band's four tracks for The Q EP when St. James realized they needed a vocalist for their first track "Sushi", which Swain provided as she had previously recorded demos at his studio.[5][8] She then became the lead singer for Q, although at that time, she still considered herself more of a dancer than a singer.[9]

The Q EP received little airplay except on college radio. Its success led St. James and Swain to develop more songs.[3][7] In 1982, the group added drummer Karl Moet and synth player Rich West, but had to change their name because of copyright issues when producer Quincy Jones reportedly had "established use of the 'Q' moniker".[7] They renamed the band SSQ, which was inspired partly by a fishing endeavor where St. James "was fishing in a lake 'no bigger than a bathtub' and made a joke that the boat was the 'S.S. Q,'" and also that "SS" stood for Stacey Swain.[8] SSQ released their debut album Playback in 1983 under Enigma Records, which featured the single "Synthicide" that was also made into a music video.[3]

1985–87: Stacey Q, Better than Heaven[edit]

In 1985, Swain signed a recording contract with On the Spot Records, an independent label. Using "Stacey Q" as her moniker for solo works, she released her debut single "Shy Girl". Her eponymous album was later distributed in cassette format to limited release. The album contained an early version of "Two of Hearts", which was originally released and performed by Sue Gatlin.[8] After her singles collectively sold several thousand copies, she signed with Atlantic Records with St. James as manager, and the other members of SSQ as backup musicians.

She recorded the album Better Than Heaven in three weeks. Its title track was co-written by Berlin, "He Doesn't Understand" was written by Jon Anderson of Yes, and "We Connect" was written by Willie Wilcox of Utopia[3] Its lead single, "Two of Hearts", received substantial radio airplay, along with its music video on MTV, in the latter half of 1986. It reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart,[3] and the top 10 in several other countries.[6] The album reached number 59 on the US album chart, and was certified gold. "Two of Hearts" was briefly considered for a "Weird Al" Yankovic parody, but was declined by the songwriters.[9] She would follow up with a US and European club tour.[1]

The success of "Two of Hearts" led Swain to television appearances on talk shows as well as guest panel appearances on game shows The Gong Show and The New Hollywood Squares[3] She appeared as the character Cinnamon in the episode "Off-Broadway Baby" of the NBC sitcom The Facts of Life where she performed "Two of Hearts". In a follow-up episode, "A Star Is Torn", she performed "We Connect". Cast regular George Clooney made his farewell appearance when his character, George Burnett, decides to join Cinnamon as a roadie.[3]

1988–90: Hard Machine, Nights Like This[edit]

Swain released her second Stacey Q album, Hard Machine, in 1988. She changed her hair color from blond to red,[1] and adopted a punk rock-influenced appearance. The album had other producers besides St. James, resulting in a different musical direction. The single "Don't Make A Fool Of Yourself" peaked at number 66 on the US Hot 100, with a remix by Shep Pettibone making the top five on the Hot Dance Chart. The single was featured in the Full House episode "D.J. Tanner's Day Off", where she briefly appeared as Stacey Q. The songs "The River" and "Another Chance" were featured in the cult action film One Man Force, where she also had an appearance.[1]

Nights Like This was her third and final album with Atlantic. Released in 1989, it also marked SSQ's last participation. Its title track featured backing vocals by The Weather Girls, and its second single, "Heartbeat", featured backing vocals by Timothy B. Schmit of The Eagles. The musical style involved more experimenting with instruments such as Kawai keyboards.[2] She promoted the album with another national tour at various clubs.[1] On television, she appeared in an episode of Mama's Family where she was in an all-girl band called The Bonecrushers.

1990s: Greatest Hits, Boomerang[edit]

In 1993, Swain released the single "Too Hot For Love", under the independent label Thump Records. The single was structured toward an early-1990s dance sound and featured sexually suggestive lyrics, representing another change in direction for the artist.[citation needed] Thump would also gather material from her first Atlantic Records album as well as tracks from Q and SSQ that had never been released on CD into a 1995 compilation album, Stacey Q's Greatest Hits.[1] Most of the tracks were either slightly remixed or re-edited entirely from their original versions in an attempt to modernize them.[3]

In the mid-1990s, Swain traveled to Tibet, where she was introduced to the monastic dance and song of the Far East.[3] She also lived in Nepal where she studied at monasteries with Buddhist lamas and was trained in the ancient art of cham dance.[6] In 1997, she released the album Boomerang, which reflected her experiences there, as well as her conversion to Buddhism. She also released a cover of a Janis Ian tune called "Tenderness", which reached number 5 on the Jamaican charts.[6]

2000s to present: Color Me Cinnamon and other projects[edit]

Swain continued to be involved in various music and acting projects. She appeared in a gay-themed art film called Citizens of Perpetual Indulgence,[10] and had a "special non-sexual appearance" in Playing the Odds. She collaborated with director Geoffrey Karen Dior on the compilation album Porn to Rock and Dior's 2001 album S E X.[2][10] In 2000, she played the lead female character Yeshe Tsogyal in a production of "The Life of Padmasambhava" by the San Francisco-based Namsay Dorje Theater Company.[6] In 2002, Swain guested in the "Identity Parade" round of the VH1 game show Never Mind the Buzzcocks. She provided vocals for "Hear The Feeling", a 2003 single by Divine Frequency (Simply Jeff) that was used for the soundtrack of a documentary on raves.[6] She voiced Karin Kikuhara in the English-language version of Stratos 4, a Japanese anime series.[6] She provided vocals on the debut album of the Echo Junkies, a duo of former SSQ bandmates Jon St. James and Skip Hahn.[6]

Thump Records released another Stacey Q compilation in 2007. Queen Of The 80s contained original versions of many of her solo songs as well as songs by Q and SSQ. In November 2008, she appeared on CBS's The Early Show as part of the show's 1980s flashback segment where she sang "Two of Hearts".

Swain provided guest vocals for Hydra Productions, a songwriting duo consisting of Shawn Winstian and Shane Condo. Their debut album, Liquid featured appearances by other dance-pop artists of the 1980s, including Tiffany and Gioia Bruno of Exposé.[11] Hydra Productions signed her to a solo deal where she released her first solo single in 12 years, "Trip", in 2009. This was followed by the album Color Me Cinnamon in 2010, and the maxi-single "Pandora's Box". The album was produced by Jon St. James, and explored a modernized electro-house sound. In late October, she released the Halloween-themed Going Goth EP, which featured remixes of many songs from Color Me Cinnamon, and "Trick or Treat" maxi-single the year after that. Since then she has participated in various freestyle music festivals.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album U.S. U.S. R&B AUS Record Label
1985 Stacey Q - - - On the Spot
1986 Better Than Heaven 59 46 36 Atlantic
1988 Hard Machine 115 - - Atlantic
1989 Nights Like This - - - Atlantic
1997 Boomerang - - - Eno
2010 Color Me Cinnamon - - - Hydra Productions

Compilation albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Single U.S. U.S. R&B U.S. Dance Various Album
1985 "Shy Girl" 89[note 1] - - - Stacey Q
1986 "Two of Hearts" 3 56 4 Austria No. 24, Australia No. 7, Canada No. 2, Denmark No. 8, Germany No. 6, France No. 18, New Zealand No. 4, South Africa No. 5, Sweden No. 19, Switzerland No. 6, United Kingdom No. 87 Better Than Heaven
1987 "We Connect" 35 - 14 Australia No. 7
1987 "Insecurity" - - 1 Australia No. 77
1987 "Music out of Bounds" - - 19 -
1988 "Favorite Things" - - - - Hard Machine
1988 "I Love You" - - 49 -
1988 "Don't Make a Fool of Yourself" 66 - 4 Australia No. 73
1989 "Give You All My Love" - - 16 - Nights Like This
1989 "Heartbeat" - - - -
1993 "Too Hot for Love" - - - - Stacey Q's Greatest Hits
1997 "Tenderness" - - - Jamaica No. 5 Boomerang
2009 "Trip" - - - - Color Me Cinnamon
2010 "Pandora's Box" - - - -
2010 "Going Goth" - - - -
2011 "Trick Or Treat" - - - - Non-album single

Videography[edit]

Year Artist Title Director Notes
1982 Q "Sushi"
1983 SSQ "Synthicide"
1984 SSQ "Screaming in My Pillow" Bradley Friedman [note 2]
1986 Stacey Q "Two of Hearts" Peter Lippman
1987 Stacey Q "We Connect" Greg Gold
1987 Stacey Q "Insecurity" Visionwear [12]
1988 Stacey Q "I Love You" Rupert
1988 Stacey Q "Don't Make a Fool of Yourself" Tony Van De Nend
1989 Stacey Q "Give You All My Love" Jane Simpson [note 3]

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1985 Cavegirl Brenda
1986-87 The Facts of Life Cinnamon Eps. "Off-Broadway Baby", "A Star Is Torn"
1987, 1989 The New Hollywood Squares Stacey Q Celebrity guest, 3 episodes[13]
1988 Full House Stacey Q Ep: "D.J. Tanner's Day Off"
1989 Mama's Family Ciji [episode needed]
1989 One Man Force Leah Jennings
1998 Playing the Odds Chinese Food Delivery Woman
2000 Citizens of Perpetual Indulgence Stacey
2002 Never Mind the Buzzcocks [episode needed]
2003 Stratos 4 Karin Kikuhara first voiceover role in anime dub

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Shy Girl" recorded in 1985, charted in 1987.
  2. ^ Three different videos were released for "Screaming in My Pillow". The first version was a PG-13-rated version that received airplay on MTV. A more controversial "uncensored" version was aired on Playboy TV depicting full-frontal nudity and lesbianism by Stacey Swain and an unknown model. A third video, called the NC-17 version, was considered too graphic for mainstream airplay. It was included on Red Hot Rock, a VHS compilation of uncensored music videos.
  3. ^ The teen couple in the "Give You All My Love" video was played by Justin Nylander and Christiana Eastman, who later formed the group T.H.E.M. (Thee Human Egomaniacs).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Stacey Q: Some Things About Her". Stacey-Q.com. Retrieved 2007-01-31. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Discogs Stacey Q Page". Retrieved 2006-01-24. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Stacey Q: You Wrote The Book". Stacey-Q.com. Retrieved 2007-01-31. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Interview Intercepted Through Wire Tap – Joyce Swain, Mama Q.". The Official Stacey Q Fan Club. Archived from the original on 2003-02-27. 
  5. ^ a b ""AnOnYmOuS Flashback" at The Official Stacey Q Fan Club (dead site)". Archived from the original on 2003-02-27. Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Stacey Q at MySpace". Retrieved 2007-01-31. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Shareef Does Like It (Even If It’s Not Kosher)". Synthbeat.com. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Discogs Stacey Swain Page". Retrieved 2006-01-24. 
  9. ^ a b c ""The Stacey Q & A" at OldSchool4Life.com". Retrieved 2007-01-31. [dead link]
  10. ^ a b ""Stacey's Q & A" at The Official Stacey Q Fan Club". Archived from the original on 2002-10-23. Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  11. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_4XuixaEFo
  12. ^ Stacey Q shooting scenes for the "Insecurity" video (photos by Skip Hahn)
  13. ^ Donegan, Chuck. "My Game Shows, (The) Hollywood Squares". Illustrious Game Show Page. Retrieved 2014-09-06. 

External links[edit]