|Birth name||Barbara Trzetrzelewska|
30 September 1954 |
|Occupation(s)||Singer-songwriter, record producer|
|Associated acts||Matt Bianco, Peter White, Perfect|
Barbara Trzetrzelewska, known simply as Basia [ˈbaɕa tʂɛtʂɛˈlɛfska] ( listen), (born 30 September 1954) is a Polish singer-songwriter and record producer. After finding initial success in the mid-1980s as a singer for the British sophisti-pop trio Matt Bianco, Basia established a solo career in 1986 and subsequently enjoyed a successful recording career featuring characteristically Latin-flavoured jazz-pop crossover songs. She is noted for possessing a wide vocal range, approximately three octaves that span from contralto to soprano tessituras, as well as her singular jazz-influenced stylings and multi-layered harmonies.
Basia was born in Jaworzno, Poland in 1954. She debuted as a guest of local amateur rock band Astry and performed with them at the Polish Festival of Beat Avangarde in Kalisz, where they won. Thanks to this performance, she was a member of the popular Polish all-female vocal group Alibabki from 1972 to 1974. From 1977 to 1979, she sang with the rock band Perfect.
Settling temporarily in Hyde Park, Chicago in 1979, she relocated to London in 1981. It was there she met Mark Reilly and his collaborator Danny White (brother of jazz guitarist Peter White). The trio performed in 1983 as the jazz-pop group Bronze, but later changed their name to Matt Bianco and recorded their debut album Whose Side Are You On?, released in 1984. The album was a hit across Europe, selling more than 1.5 million copies and bringing two top 30 hits on the UK Singles Chart: "Get Out of Your Lazy Bed" and "Half a Minute".
Basia and Danny White left Matt Bianco in 1985 to launch her solo career; this was the beginning of a longtime collaboration lasting through the 2000s. Her first album Time and Tide was released in 1987, selling almost two million copies. As a solo artist Basia achieved her greatest success in the United States, where she sold over one million units of her debut album. It brought her the US top 30 track "Time and Tide" on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and also such hits as "Prime Time TV" and "New Day for You". Her second album, London Warsaw New York, repeated that accomplishment in 1989. It also sold almost two million units, including more than one million in the US, and featured another top 30 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, "Cruising for Bruising". London Warsaw New York also included Stevie Wonder's "Until You Come Back to Me" and "Baby You're Mine", another hit song. Both albums topped Billboard's Top Contemporary Jazz Albums, but her second album also became Top Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year, even beating the Grammy Award-winning Album of the Year, Back on the Block from Quincy Jones. While achieving great success in the US market, Basia also became a very popular artist in Asia (mainly in Japan and the Philippines) and Europe (especially in France). She released her first long-form video A New Day, containing all her videos and an interview, in 1991.
Her third studio album, The Sweetest Illusion, was released in 1994 and was a moderate success in the US market, selling over half a million copies, but globally it became another million-seller. Mixed by the then-highly sought after David Bascombe (who had contributed to Oleta Adams' debut effort) the project marked the end of a ten-year working relationship with mixmaster Phil Harding and a step into more sophisticated territory. The Sweetest Illusion included a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart, "Drunk on Love". Her next album, Basia on Broadway, was a live set recorded at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York City and was released in 1995. In 1996, Basia was featured on Peter White's album Caravan of Dreams with vocals on the single "Just Another Day". A retrospective compilation album, Clear Horizon – The Best of Basia, was issued in 1998; this contained all the notable hits plus some new material, including a cover of "Waters of March", written by Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Despite a successful international career and faithful fan base, she withdrew from the recording industry in 1998, with the sole exception of a guest appearance on Taro Hakase's cover of "So Nice (Summer Samba)" in 1999. She would later cite the deaths of people close to her, including her own mother, as the reason. After some persistent efforts from Danny White and Mark Reilly, who had started working together again, she agreed to join a re-formed Matt Bianco. They released the album Matt's Mood in 2004 to critical acclaim. After touring to promote the album Basia and Danny White began work on a new Basia project while Reilly continued with Matt Bianco.
In 2009, after nearly fifteen years, Basia returned with her fourth studio album, It's That Girl Again. It met with critical as well as commercial success, placing in top 10 of the US Jazz Albums chart and going Gold and Platinum for the first time in her native Poland. It was promoted by "Blame It on the Summer" in American market and "The Gift" in Europe. The album was also heavily promoted on Basia's world tour, whose first leg began in 2009. In Spring of 2010 Basia was participating in the World Rhythms Tour with Bernie Williams and then embarked on the second leg of her own tour. In 2010 she toured the US twice and next year she toured there one more time.
In 2011 Basia made a guest appearance on the Polish edition of X Factor. The same year Basia globally released her second live album From Newport To London: Greatest Hits Live... And More with two new studio recordings, including a duet with the most popular Polish soul singer Mieczysław Szcześniak. This album was her first recorded in Poland. Basia recorded also one more duet with Szcześniak, this time for his album Signs, released the same year. They sang a cover of Vanessa Williams' hit "Save the Best for Last", produced by its original co-writer Wendy Waldman. In March 2013, Basia appeared in the Java Jazz festival in Jakarta Indonesia, lasting 1 hour and 13 minutes of her greatest hits. Basia's new long-awaited album, Butterflies, is scheduled for release in May 2018. Her first single from Butterflies is a “Matteo,” a mid-tempo track that features a bossa nova swing and tells the story of how the birth of a child named Matteo changed their lives.
- 1987: Time and Tide
- 1989: London Warsaw New York
- 1990: Brave New Hope
- 1994: The Sweetest Illusion
- 1995: Basia on Broadway
- 1997: Clear Horizon – The Best of Basia
- 2009: It's That Girl Again
- 2011: From Newport to London: Greatest Hits Live ... and More
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Basia – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- George-Warren, Holly; Romanowski, Patricia, eds. (2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (3rd ed.). Fireside. p. 50. ISBN 0-7432-9201-4.
- "Pop/Rock " Punk/New Wave " Sophisti-Pop". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- Some sources incorrectly cite 1959.
- "YouTube – Basia Trzetrzelewska – Interview 1( Boston)". Retrieved 25 June 2011 – via YouTube.
- "Chart Stats – Matt Bianco". chartstats.com. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
- "Basia – Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 November 2009.
- "Basia – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
- "Basia Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
- "Platynowe CD". ZPAV. Archived from the original on 7 December 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2009.
- "YouTube – X Factor. Ada Szulc i Basia Trzetrzelewska. "A gift"". Retrieved 25 June 2011 – via YouTube.
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