Des'ree

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Des'ree
Birth name Desiree Annette Weeks
Born (1968-11-30) 30 November 1968 (age 48)
London, England
Genres Soul, dance, R&B, pop
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Years active 1990–2003
Labels Epic Records, Sony Soho Square, 550
Website http://desree.co.uk

Desirée Annette Weeks (born 30 November 1968), stage name Des'ree /ˈdɛzr/,[1] is a British R&B recording artist who rose to popularity during the 1990s. She is well known for her hits: "Feel So High" (for which three different music videos were recorded), "You Gotta Be", "Life", and "Kissing You" (from the soundtrack of the film Romeo + Juliet). At the 1999 Brit Awards she received the Brit Award for Best British female solo artist. Des'ree has not released any new material since 2003's Dream Soldier.

Early life and career[edit]

Des'ree was born in South London, England, on November 30, 1968.[2][3] Her mother is from British Guiana (now Guyana), and her father is from Barbados. She was introduced to reggae, calypso and jazz music by her parents, and Des'ree's interest in pursuing a musical career followed a two-year trip to Barbados with her family at the age of 11.

With no connections in the music industry, she was signed in 1991 to Sony 550 when her boyfriend sent a demo to the label, and they quickly signed her. Des'ree's debut single, "Feel So High", was released in August 1991, a mere 12 weeks after her signing. The single did not initially reach the UK top 40, but hit #13 when it was re-released in January 1992. Her debut album Mind Adventures was released in February 1992. It received good reviews and hit the top 30 in the UK. She spent 1992 touring as the opening act to Simply Red.

In 1993, Des'ree collaborated with Terence Trent D'Arby on the song "Delicate", which was released as a single and hit the UK top 20 and the US top 100. She ended the year singing with a host of other artists at the first concert of secular music at the Vatican City, on 23 December 1993 and shown on Italian TV. The concert, named Concerto di Natale, has been done with different artists every Christmas on the subsequent years.

In 1994, her single "You Gotta Be" hit the Billboard Hot 100 Top 5, peaking at number 5, and was a hit in the UK three times. "You Gotta Be" became the most played music video on VH1 and remained on the Billboard Recurrent Airplay Chart for 80 weeks.

Following the single's success, Des'ree's second album, I Ain't Movin', sold in excess of 2.5 million copies worldwide. Her success led to an American tour with Seal in 1995. The following year, she contributed the song "Kissing You" to the soundtrack of the film William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet. She appears in the film singing the song.

In 1997, her song "Crazy Maze" was featured on the soundtrack of the movie Nothing to Lose with Martin Lawrence and Tim Robbins.

In 1998, her single "Life" became a hit in Europe, reaching number 1 in many countries, along with Japan. In 1999, she won a Brit Award for the British Female Solo Artist category. The album from which the single was taken, Supernatural, was also released in 1998 to mostly positive reviews. It was somewhat successful in the UK, but was a commercial flop in the United States. In 2007, Des'ree also notably won a BBC poll for being the "Worst Pop Lyricist Ever" for the single.[4]

In 1999, she sang The Beatles' song "Blackbird" at a concert in honour of Linda McCartney. At the concert, she met the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and she collaborated with them on a cover of "Ain't No Sunshine", which was released in late 1999. After that, Des'ree disappeared from the public eye and put her music career on hold to study art at college. A compilation of rare songs and live tracks, Endangered Species, was released in 2000.

In 2001 she contributed vocals to the charity single "Wake Up The Morning", which was released in honour of the death of Damilola Taylor. Billed as Together As One, other contributors to the song were Gabrielle, Andrew Roachford and Courtney Pine. In 2002, she contributed a sung sonnet from William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice to the various artists album When Love Speaks.

Sony released Dream Soldier in 2003. Only one track from the album was released as a single, "It's Okay", which peaked in the UK at number 69. The single did not chart in the US. The video was shot in London's Notting Hill. "Dream Soldier" was not a critical or commercial success. Des'ree was subsequently dropped by her label, Sony/550 Music, following the release of the album in late 2003. She hasn't released any new music since, although in 2011, Des'ree made a brief comeback to music, singing a lullaby on the sleep therapy CD called Sleep Talk Lullaby, with Julie Langton-Smith.[5]

Other work[edit]

In 1997, Des'ree's hit, "Feel So High" was interpolated into the Janet Jackson song "Got 'Til It's Gone" from Jackson's CD The Velvet Rope without due credit to Des'ree as a contributor. The maxi single, however, lists Des'ree and Michael Graves as two of the song's writers.[6]

In 1999 she recorded a duet with Ladysmith Black Mambazo on a cover of the Bill Withers' song "Ain't No Sunshine".

"Silent Hero", written by Des'ree and Prince Sampson, featured in Spike Lee's film Clockers, "Feel So High", written by Des'ree and Michael Graves, featured in Set It Off, and "You Gotta Be" featured in The Object of My Affection and The Next Karate Kid.

Des'ree has won several awards, including a Brit Award, an Ivor Novello Award, World Music Award, Urban Music Award and a BMI Award for over five million plays of "You Gotta Be" in America alone. Des'ree also won a BBC poll for "Worst Pop Lyricist" for the 1998 single "Life", though it went to number 1 in Japan, Spain and several other European countries.

Between 1999 and 2003, Des'ree studied photography, ceramics and art at the Camberwell College of Arts.[7]

Personal life[edit]

In 2007, Des'ree sued Beyonce for covering "I'm Kissing You" without her permission.[8] Des'ree is a vegetarian.[9]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

Song Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
UK
[10]
AUS
[11]
GER
[12]
IRE
[21]
ITA
[22]
NLD
[13]
SPA
[23][24]
US
[25]
"Feel So High"1 1991 13 28 15 20 25 67 Mind Adventures
"Mind Adventures" 1992 43 89 94
"Why Should I Love You" 44 102
"Sun Of '79" (Japan only)
"Competitive World" 1993
"You Gotta Be" 1994 20 9 79 15 47 5 I Ain't Movin'
"I Ain't Movin'" 44 59
"Little Child" 69 210
"You Gotta Be" (remix) 1995 14
"I'm Kissing You" 1997 83 17 Supernatural
"Life" 1998 8 8 8 3 1 1 3
"Fire" (duet with Babyface)3
"What's Your Sign?" 19 167 65 70 1
"God Only Knows" (Japan & Spain only)[27] 1999
"You Gotta Be" (1999 mix)3 10 76 77 1
"Best Days" (Spain only)
"It's Okay" 2003 69 96 59 Dream Soldier
"Why?"[28]
"—" denotes releases that were not released in that country or did not chart.

Notes[edit]

  • 1 "Feel So High" originally peaked at number 51 in the UK Singles Chart in 1991. It was re-released in 1992 and peaked at number 13. In the US, the single did not chart until 1995 and featured on I Ain't Movin'.
  • 3 "Fire" was included on the 1998 edition of Supernatural as track 11.[29] The 1999 mix of "You Gotta Be" replaced it when the album was re-released in the UK in 1999.[30]

As a featured artist[edit]

Song Year Peak chart positions Album
UK
[31]
AUS
[11]
GER
[12]
IRE
[21]
NLD
[13]
"Delicate" (Terence Trent D'Arby, featuring Des'ree) 1993 14 99 56 23 45 Symphony or Damn
"Ain't No Sunshine" (Ladysmith Black Mambazo, featuring Des'ree) 1999 42 In Harmony
"Wake Up the Morning" (Together As One) 2001 161
"—" denotes releases that were not released in that country or did not chart.

Vinyl records[edit]

Des'ree had British RPMs sold from 1991 to 1998.

  • 1991, Feel So High
  • 1992, Mind Adventures
  • 1992, Why Should I Love You?
  • 1992, Competitive World
  • 1994, You Gotta Be
  • 1994, I Ain't Movin'
  • 1994, Little Child
  • 1998, Life
  • 1998, What's Your Sign?

References[edit]

  1. ^ "R.E.M win International Group presented by Des'ree | BRIT Awards 1995". 28 November 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  2. ^ Briton Hadden, Henry Robinson Luce (1995), Time, Volume 145, Issues 18–26, 1995.
  3. ^ Paul Sexton, "550 Music's Des'ree Gets 'Supernatural' On 3rd Set", Billboard, 13 June 1998.
  4. ^ "Des'ree takes bad lyric top spot". BBC. 4 May 2007. Retrieved 29 February 2008. 
  5. ^ Sleep Hypnotherapy - Sleep Talk Lullaby by Julie LangtonSmith and Des'ree
  6. ^ Q Magazine, July 1998.
  7. ^ Des'ree, Metro, 27 October 2009. Retrieved on 9 May 2012.
  8. ^ Des’ree sues Beyonce over song
  9. ^ On the Up and Up
  10. ^ a b UK chart peaks:
  11. ^ a b c Australian (ARIA) chart peaks:
  12. ^ a b c German chart peaks:
  13. ^ a b c "dutchcharts.nl > Discografie Des'ree" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  14. ^ "charts.org.nz - Discography Des'ree". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "Billboard > Artists / Des'ree > Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  16. ^ a b "BPI > Certified Awards > Search results for 'Mind Adventures' (from bpi.co.uk)". Imgur.com (original source published by British Phonographic Industry). Retrieved 19 November 2016. 
  17. ^ "BPI > Certified Awards > Search results for 'I Ain't Movin' (from bpi.co.uk)". Imgur.com (original source published by British Phonographic Industry). Retrieved 19 November 2016. 
  18. ^ a b Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
  19. ^ a b Scapolo, Dean (2007). The Complete New Zealand Music Charts: 1966–2006. Wellington: Dean Scapolo and Maurienne House. ISBN 978-1877443-00-8. 
  20. ^ "BPI > Certified Awards > Search results for 'Supernatural' (from bpi.co.uk)". Imgur.com (original source published by British Phonographic Industry). Retrieved 19 November 2016. 
  21. ^ a b "The Irish Charts - All there is to know > Search results for Des'ree". Fireball Media. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  22. ^ "Hit Parade Italia > Indice per Interprete: D" (in Italian). HitParadeItalia. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  23. ^ "Des'ree discography – Spain Charts". Spanish Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  24. ^ "Whats Your Sign" peak
  25. ^ "Billboard > Artists / Des'ree > Chart History > The Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  26. ^ "BPI > Certified Awards > Search results for 'Life' (from bpi.co.uk)". Imgur.com (original source published by British Phonographic Industry). Retrieved 19 November 2016. 
  27. ^ "God Only Knows: Des'ree: Amazon.co.jp: Music". Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  28. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 152. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  29. ^ Supernatural: Des'ree: Amazon.co.uk: MP3 Downloads.
  30. ^ Desree: Supernatural: Includes You Gotta Be (1999): CD: hmv.com.
  31. ^ UK chart peaks as featured artist:

External links[edit]