||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2012)|
Graham in 2014
|Birth name||Jacqueline Graham|
15 September 1956 |
|Labels||EMI / Avex International / JNT Music Ltd|
|Associated acts||David Grant|
Jaki Graham (born 15 September 1956) is a three-time Grammy-nominated British R&B singer-songwriter. Following her hit version of "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love" with David Grant in 1985, Graham scored a further five UK Top 20 hits over a two-year period. In 1994, her cover version of Chaka Khan's hit "Ain't Nobody" reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Dance Chart.
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Graham was born in Birmingham. In 1983 after recording a session for a jazz funk band called ‘Medium Heat Wave’, Jaki was spotted by a talent scout and signed to EMI Records. Soon after signing with the company ‘What’s the name of your game’ was released and this gave Jaki her first TV appearance on the highly rated BBC children’s programmes ‘Crackerjack’ in 1984. Two further solo singles followed that year ‘Heaven Knows’ (the title of her first album) and ‘Once more with the feeling’. ‘Could it be I’m falling in love’ was released in early 1985 and sailed into the UK top ten reaching No. 5 in March of that year. Jaki’s fourth solo single ‘Round and Around’ saw her return to the UK top 10 a few months later. As her first album reached completion in the summer of that year, ‘Heaven knows’ was re-released and Jaki toured the UK for the first time. A new song was recorded and released to end the year entitled ‘Mated’, the song received wide critical acclaim gaining significant airplay. 1986 started with a bang as ‘Set Me Free’ was released in the spring, going to No. 7 in the UK and seeing the success repeated throughout Europe. Her second album ‘Breaking Away’ and follow up single to ‘Set Me Free’ was released in August, climbing to a respectable No. 14 in the UK charts. ‘Breaking Away’ provided to be a surprise hit in Asia and to this date it remains one of Jaki’s, most popular songs in this territory. To round the year off ‘Step Right Up’ was remixed and released giving Jaki yet another Top 20 smash. Around the same time, American singer Michael McDonald was looking for a female singer to accompany him on the track ‘On My Own’ (originally recorded with Patti Labelle) for his next UK tour. After hearing Jaki’s voice, he was quoted as saying ‘Jaki was one of the best singers Britain has ever produced’, and a deep friendship and mutual respect grew between the two artists that remains to this day, with Michael having written for Jaki’s albums and featuring her as a Special Guest on his UK tours. It would be another three years until the release of Jaki’s 3rd and final album for EMI. ‘From Now On’, gave a more diverse sound than the two previous albums. Although being made up of guaranteed hits including the title track and the stunning ballad ‘The Better Part Of Me’, promotion never truly got underway and Jaki’s time at EMI Records came to an end. ‘From Now On’ still remains one of Jaki’s most popular albums with her fans and as the 80’s drew to a close Billboard magazine, established Jaki as Britain’s most successful black female artist throughout the decade. In 1993, Jaki was spotted by AVEX International, Japan, whilst at the Midem music conference and was signed to the label on the spot. Work started in 1994 on what would become her ‘Real Life’ album. Three singles would be released internationally from the album, ‘You Can Count On Me (For Love)’, ‘Absolute E-Sensual’ and the song that would be Jaki’s biggest international single to date ‘Ain’t Nobody’. ‘Ain’t Nobody’ stormed the charts in Europe, Asia, Australia and remaining No.1 in the US Billboard Dance Charts for 5 weeks and rocketing to the Top 5 favourite videos for BET (Black Entertainment Charts). ‘Real Life’ would sell in excess of 800,000 copies in the first four weeks and tickets for Jaki’s 1984 ‘Real Life Tour’ of Japan sold out in 20 minutes, with the tour being extended to include Australia. Two years later and Jaki had completed work on her second album for AVEX entitled ‘Rhythm Of Life’ which again sailed up the charts in chosen territories. In Sweden the album was released under the title ‘Hold On’ and in the US ‘Don’t Keep Me Waiting’, with both albums containing additional tracks exclusive to these releases. Jaki’s 3rd and final album with AVEX was the R&B influenced ‘My Life’ with one of the stand out tracks being her stunning versions of Julia Fordham’s ‘Happy Ever After’. Between March 2008 and April 2009, EMI would re-release all 3 of Jaki’s albums digitally which would include bonus tracks and 12” versions that were only previously available on vinyl 7” and 12” singles. In October 2009, Jaki took to the stage at the Birmingham Town Hall with the BBC Big Band to perform specially arranged versions of Gershwin classics. Both the concert and the transmission that followed later on BBC Radio 2, received high critical acclaim and within a few weeks of the transmission Jaki was invited back, this time to perform Duke Ellington classics in March 2010. 2010 has seen a hive of activity surrounding Jaki’s catalogue. In August, almost 24 years to the date of its original release, ‘Breaking Away – Special Edition’ was put out on CD across the UK and Ireland via Cherry Pop. In addition to the 12 songs that were included in the original album, an additional 5 bonus tracks, 3 of which were exclusive to the CD, were added. During the summer, Jaki accompany Michael McDonald and Al Green on their UK ‘Legends’ Arena Tour which included Birmingham LG, Manchester MEN and London’s O2 Arena, as Michael’s Special Guest. To round the year off, Demon Music released ‘Absolute Essential – The Very best of Jaki Graham’. This would be Jaki’s first ‘official’ ‘greatest hits’ album and included 28 songs over two CD’s. The album included all of Jaki’s singles from the 1980s (including for the first time ‘Once More With The Feeling) as well as 14 songs selected from Jaki’s time with AVEX. During 2011, Jaki continued to perform across the globe at both public and corporate events. She also started to make plans and choose songs for what would become her 7th studio album ‘For Sentimental Reasons’. However, prior to the recording of the album, Jaki was invited to join Sir Cliff Richard on his successful ‘Soulicious’ Arena Tour in October, as his only British Special Guest alongside James Ingram, Percy Sledge, Freda Payne, Lamont Dozier and Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr of Fifth Dimension, which is available on DVD, having been filmed across 2 nights at London’s O2 Arena. In early 2012, Jaki entered a small recording studio in Leeds, and along with her band, would record her new album, undertake a photo session in just 3 days, plus perform at a pre-arrange show in Wales. Jaki returned to the recording studio in Leeds to add some additional backing vocals (along with half a day in the studio in Birmingham) and the album was complete. The mixing of the album took place in early August, with a release date set for October 2012.
Just 15 days prior to the release of this album, Jaki was honoured with a ‘Birmingham’s ‘Walk of Star’ on Broad Street. A small un-unplugged show took place in the evening where Jaki performed some of her hits, as well as a selection of songs from ‘For Sentimental Reasons’.
Jaki continues to perform across the globe and in late 2013 was approached to create a brand new show to perform on the brand new cruise liner ‘Britannia’. Setting sail from Southampton in March, Jaki will perform over 60 shows during 2014 in the brand new state of the art ‘Limelight’ venue on board the ship.
- 1985 - Heaven Knows (#48 UK)
- 1986 - Breaking Away (#25 UK, #35 SWE, #47 NL)
- 1989 - From Now On
- 1994 - Real Life (sold 800,000 copies)
- 1995 - Best Shots (compilation)
- 1995 - Hold On
- 1996 - Rhythm of Life
- 1997 - Don't Keep Me Waiting
- 1998 - My Life
- 2009 - Greatest Hits Live!
- 2010 - Absolute Essential - The Very Best of Jaki Graham
- 2012 - For Sentimental Reasons
|"What's The Name Of Your Game"||1984||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Heaven Knows|
|"Heaven Knows (Feels So Good)"||59||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Once More With The Feeling"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Round and Around"||1985||9||—||—||—||—||—||85|
|"Could It Be I'm Falling in Love"
(duet with David Grant)
(duet with David Grant)
|"Set Me Free"||1986||7||—||—||16||11||15||—||Breaking Away|
|"Step Right Up"||15||—||—||20||—||—||—|
|"Still In Love"||1987||83||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"No More Tears"||1988||60||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"From Now On"||1989||73||—||—||—||—||—||88||From Now On|
|"The Better Part Of Me"||79||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Every Little Bit Hurts"||—||—||—||—||—||—||79|
|"Watching You, Watching Me"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Non-album Singles|
|"Touch Me (When We're Dancing)"||1991||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Band Of Gold"||1992||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Ain't Nobody"||1994||44||17||—||—||—||1||—||Real Life|
|"You Can Count On Me"||1995||62||—||—||—||—||—||—|
- List of number-one dance hits (United States)
- List of artists who reached number one on the US Dance chart
- List of performers on Top of the Pops
- Number-one dance hits of 1994 (US)
- List of black Britons
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 233. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Jaki Graham > Singles & EPs". Discogs.
- "UK Charts > Artists > Jaki Graham". Official Charts Company.
- "Australian Charts: Jaki Graham". Australian-Charts.com.
- "New Zealand Charts: Jaki Graham". charts.org.nz.
- "Swedish Charts: Jaki Graham". swedishcharts.com.
- "Swiss Charts: Jaki Graham". hitparade.ch.
- "Chart History: Jaki Graham". Billboard.com.
- "Chart History: Jaki Graham". Billboard.com.
- The Official Site
- Jaki Graham Facebook
- Jaki Graham at Vh1.com
- Jaki Graham 2012 Audio Interview at Soulinterviews.com