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Birth nameDesirée Weekes
Born (1968-11-30) 30 November 1968 (age 52)
Croydon, London, England
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Years active1991–present
LabelsEpic Records, Sony Soho Square, 550, Stargazer Records

Desirée Annette Weekes[1][2] (born 30 November 1968), known by her stage name Des'ree (/ˈdɛz(ə)r/),[3] is an English pop recording artist who rose to popularity during the 1990s. She is best known for her hits "Feel So High", "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.

Early life[edit]

Des'ree was born in Croydon, South East London, England,[4] on 30 November 1968.[5][6] 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. At the age of 22, and with no connections in the music industry, she was signed in 1991 to Sony 550 when she asked her boyfriend to send a demo to the label, and they quickly contacted 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, which was aired on Italian TV. The concert, named Concerto di Natale, has been held with different artists every Christmas in the years since.

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 the same year she provided vocals on "Plenty Lovin'" on Steve Winwood's album Junction Seven.

In 1998, her single "Life" became a hit in Europe, reaching number 1 in many countries, as well as in 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 the "worst lyrics ever" for the single, the offending lyrics being "I don't want to see a ghost/it's the sight that I fear most/I'd rather have a piece of toast/watch the evening news".[7] 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 put her music career on hold to focus on her private life and disappeared from the public eye.

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, directed by Jake Nava, 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 March 2003.

Shortly afterwards, she took a hiatus from music to focus on her interest in naturopathy,[8] also training as a nutritionist.[9] In 2008 she came out of her hiatus to perform at the O2 Arena for Young Voices' "The Big Sing" charity concert. She helped break the record for "most people simultaneously singing the same song" by leading 600,000 schoolchildren across the United Kingdom in singing "You Gotta Be".[10] In 2011, she performed "You Gotta Be" at the wedding for George Medal recipient Paul Jacobs.[citation needed] That same year, she sung a lullaby on naturopath Julie Langton-Smith's sleep therapy CD Sleep Talk Lullaby.[11]

In September 2019, it was revealed that her fifth album, her first in sixteen years, would be titled A Love Story and be released by her own label Stargazer Records on October 11.[9][12] She had begun work on the album in 2012, but took a break to care for her mother.[13][9]

Other work[edit]

"Silent Hero", written by Des'ree and Prince Sampson, featured in Spike Lee's 1995 film Clockers, "Feel So High", written by Des'ree and Michael Graves, featured in the 1996 film Set It Off, and "You Gotta Be" featured in The Object of My Affection and The Next Karate Kid. 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,[14] after winning a lawsuit against Jackson.[15] She also considered suing Robyn and Cleopatra due to the similarities between their songs ("Show Me Love" and "Life Ain't Easy" respectively) and "Feel So High";[15] however, nothing came of it. In 1999 she recorded a duet with Ladysmith Black Mambazo on a cover of the Bill Withers song "Ain't No Sunshine".


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.

Personal life[edit]

Des'ree is a vegetarian.[16] In 2002, she did short courses in photography and ceramics at the Camberwell College of Arts.[17][18] [19]

Awards and nominations[edit]

BMI London Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2007 "You Gotta Be" 4 Million Award Won
2015 5 Million Award Won

Billboard Music Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1995 "You Gotta Be" Top Adult Contemporary Single Nominated

Brit Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1999 Herself Best British Female Won
"Life" Best British Single Nominated

Ivor Novello Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1995 "You Gotta Be" Best Contemporary Song Won
1999 "Life" International Hit of the Year Nominated

MTV Video Music Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1995 "You Gotta Be" Best New Artist Nominated
Best Female Video Nominated

World Music Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1999 Herself World's Best Selling British Artist Won




Song Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
"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)[36] 1999
"You Gotta Be" (1999 mix)3 10 76 77 1
"Best Days" (Spain only)
"It's Okay" 2003 69 96 59 Dream Soldier
"—" denotes releases that were not released in that country or did not chart.


  • 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.[38] "You Gotta Be" replaced it when the album was re-released in the UK in 1999, albeit not the 1999 Mix.[39]

As a featured artist[edit]

Song Year Peak chart positions Album
"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.


  1. ^ "Images for Des'ree - Supernatural".
  2. ^ "Des'ree". 27 October 2009.
  3. ^ "R.E.M win International Group presented by Des'ree | BRIT Awards 1995". YouTube. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  4. ^ Nina Myskow, "star challenge: Hanging on the telephone with... Des'ree.", Daily Mirror, 15 March 2003
  5. ^ Briton Hadden, Henry Robinson Luce (1995), Time, Volume 145, Issues 18–26, 1995.
  6. ^ Paul Sexton, "550 Music's Des'ree Gets 'Supernatural' On 3rd Set", Billboard, 13 June 1998.
  7. ^ "Des'ree takes bad lyric top spot". BBC. 4 May 2007. Retrieved 29 February 2008.
  8. ^ "Desree". Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  9. ^ a b c "First Album Since 2003" (PDF). Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Pembrokeshire-led Big Sing aims to smash its own record". Western Telegraph.
  11. ^ "Sleep Hypnotherapy - Sleep Talk Lullaby by Julie LangtonSmith and Des'ree". YouTube. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ "Des'ree Does Logic Course". 19 March 2012.
  14. ^ Q Magazine, July 1998.
  15. ^ a b Ian Hyland, "Des'ree wins pounds 2m in Janet Jackson song copying war.", Sunday Mirror, 31 May 1998
  16. ^ "On the Up and Up". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  17. ^ "des'ree".
  18. ^ Des'ree, Metro, 27 October 2009. Retrieved on 9 May 2012.
  19. ^ "Des'ree sues Beyonce over song". Metro. 18 April 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  20. ^ a b UK chart peaks:
  21. ^ a b c Australian (ARIA) chart peaks:
  22. ^ a b c "Offizielle Deutsche Charts > Suchen nach "Des'ree"" (in German). GfK Enertainment. Retrieved 21 March 2020. N.B. Select the Album tab to display albums chart peaks.
  23. ^ a b c " > Des'ree in Dutch Charts" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  24. ^ " > Des'ree in New Zealand Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  25. ^ "Billboard > Des'ree Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  26. ^ a b "BPI > Certified Awards > Search results for 'Mind Adventures' (from". BPI. Retrieved 19 November 2016 – via
  27. ^ "BPI > Certified Awards > Search results for 'I Ain't Movin' (from". BPI. Retrieved 19 November 2016 – via
  28. ^ a b Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 79.
  29. ^ a b Scapolo, Dean (2007). The Complete New Zealand Music Charts: 1966–2006. Wellington: Dean Scapolo and Maurienne House. ISBN 978-1877443-00-8.
  30. ^ "BPI > Certified Awards > Search results for 'Supernatural' (from". BPI. Retrieved 19 November 2016 – via
  31. ^ a b "The Irish Charts - All there is to know > Search results for 'Des'ree'". Fireball Media. Archived from the original on 21 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  32. ^ "Hit Parade Italia > Indice per Interprete: D" (in Italian). HitParadeItalia. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  33. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (16 January 1999). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. – via Google Books.
  34. ^ "Billboard > Des'ree Chart History > Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  35. ^ "BPI > Certified Awards > Search results for 'Life' (from". BPI. Retrieved 19 November 2016 – via
  36. ^ "God Only Knows: Des'ree: Music". Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  37. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 152. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  38. ^ Supernatural: Des'ree: MP3 Downloads.[dead link]
  39. ^ Desree: Supernatural: Includes You Gotta Be (1999): CD:
  40. ^ UK chart peaks as featured artist:

External links[edit]