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Jeffrey Daniel

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Jeffrey Daniel
Birth nameJeffrey Glen Daniel
Born (1955-08-24) August 24, 1955 (age 68)[1][2]
Lagos, Nigeria
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Singer-songwriter
  • dancer
  • choreographer
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active1974–present

Jeffrey Glen Daniel (born August 24, 1955)[1][2] is an American dancer, singer-songwriter, and choreographer, most notable for being a founding member of the R&B vocal group Shalamar. In Nigeria, he is best known as a judge on the first three seasons of Nigerian Idol.[3]



Daniel was born in Los Angeles. During his career he has taught, worked and ranked alongside musicians and dancers such as Shabba Doo, Popin' Pete and The Electric Boogaloos.[citation needed]

Daniel first performed "the backslide", a physically complicated dance technique (originally performed by the dance group "The Lockers"), now known as the "moonwalk", on British television during a performance of Shalamar's "A Night to Remember" on Top of the Pops.[4] The song was a hit in 1982, almost a year before Michael Jackson moonwalked on the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever television broadcast; he was a fan of Soul Train[5] – on which Jeffrey Daniel had been a back-up dancer. According to Jackson's sister La Toya, Jackson was a fan of Daniel's dancing and sought him out. He soon met, hired and learned from Daniel.[6]

Daniel gives credit to a man that inspired him, the original dance 'Locker' Don Campbell, one of the earliest Soul Train dancers. He also gives praise to Cleveland Moses Jr. his partner on Soul Train and to Tyrone Proctor who was the premier 'Waack' dancer who taught Daniel the style of dance known as 'Waacking'. It was on Soul Train[7] whilst doing a routine dressed in black that Daniel and Geron 'Caszper' Candidate and Derek 'Cooley' Jackson/Jaxson[8] first performed the moonwalk on U.S. television.



Daniel and his Soul Train dance partner Jody Watley, along with Howard Hewett, became the soul funk group Shalamar who had hit songs such as "A Night to Remember", "The Second Time Around", "I Can Make You Feel Good", "Friends", "Make That Move", "Take That to the Bank", "There It Is" and "I Owe You One".[9] During the 1980s, Daniel was often seen on the London club scene with the likes of Bananarama, Wham! and Culture Club.[10]

In 1984, after seven years as a group, Shalamar performed at London's Wembley Arena and went their separate ways. Soon after, Daniel took on the role of 'Electra' in Andrew Lloyd Webber's new West End musical Starlight Express which involved wild costumes with complex choreography on roller skates. Also in 1984 Daniel appeared in the Paul McCartney movie Give My Regards to Broad Street displaying his signature robotic or marionette-like dancing style (with McCartney, his wife Linda McCartney and members of the band Toto made up as marionettes) to the Wings hit, "Silly Love Songs".

First broadcast on the UK's Channel 4 on Friday April 12th 1985, Daniel hosted 620 Soul Train, a British version of Soul Train which he produced with Don Cornelius.The the groundbreaking show (for the UK) ran for 10 episodes and featured invited studio dancers with live studio guest artists, along with clips from the U.S version and the occasional music video and guest DJ such as Pete Tong and Tony Blackburn. It was highly regarded as essential viewing for Soul & Dance Music fans because otherwise there was very little outlet for the music on the other Pop/Rock orientated UK TV stations at the time. The show was also one of the first TV research jobs for UK media Broadcaster and Interviewer Jonathan Ross before his own show started on Channel 4 in 1987.[11]

Work with Michael Jackson


By 1987, Daniel was working with Michael Jackson who had always been a fan of Daniel's dance style since watching him on Soul Train in the 1970s.[5][6] Daniel was hired as co-choreographer on the "Bad" and "Smooth Criminal" videos with primary choreographer Vincent Paterson in which he also starred.[citation needed] Daniel was later employed as a creative and choreography consultant on his world tours and the video Ghosts.[citation needed] Daniel subsequently became a consultant at the MJJ Productions record label to whom Brownstone, 3T and Men of Vizion were signed.[citation needed]

Recent years


Today, Daniel works and lives in Lagos, Abuja, London and Osaka, Japan. He is a fluent speaker and writer of the Japanese language with a fair grasp of Cantonese. He continues to perform, choreograph, produce and compose with various artists. He has worked with Babyface, LL Cool J, Paul McCartney, Sheena Easton, The Go-Go's and Vanessa Williams.[12] He joined Nigerian Idol as a judge in 2010 for three seasons and has been performing live shows with a reformed Shalamar since 2002. The Shalamar lineup is Daniel, Howard Hewett and Carolyn Griffey. They continue performing as a group and were touring in 2017 across the UK.[9]

Personal life


Former Shalamar band-mate and dance partner Jody Watley stated in 2010 that she and Daniel had a tumultuous relationship that included emotional and physical abuse.[13]

On June 13, 1980, Daniel married American R&B singer Stephanie Mills, but they divorced later in 1983.[14] Seven days after his 65th birthday on August 24 2020, Jeffrey Daniel has welcomed a new child from his Nigerian wife. The delivery was announced by the Chairman of Silverbird Group, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce on Twitter.[citation needed]


  • Skinny Boy (1990)
  • "AC/DC" (1984) UK #78
  • "She's the Girl" (1990)
  • "Make Love Great Again" (2020)


  1. ^ a b "Jeffrey Jay Daniel – Huntington Beach, California". www.familytreenow.com.
  2. ^ a b Harris, Craig. "Jeffrey Daniel Biography". AllMusic.
  3. ^ "Nigerian Idol". Archived from the original on July 14, 2011.
  4. ^ "Mixmag is 40: An interview with our first ever cover star, Shalamar".
  5. ^ a b Kot, Greg; Metz, Nina (2012). "Arts & Entertainment – Music". 'Soul Train' creator Don Cornelius found dead. Retrieved February 17, 2014. One of the show's most avid viewers, the young Michael Jackson, was clearly paying attention when one of the show's dancers debuted the "moonwalk" in the '70s. {{cite book}}: |newspaper= ignored (help)
  6. ^ a b "Remembering Michael, Jeffrey Daniel". Time Specials. Time. p. 13. Archived from the original on February 11, 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2014. We first worked with him in 1980, but he did not do the moonwalk publicly until 1983 [on Motown's 25th-anniversary TV special]. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  7. ^ "FindArticles.com – CBSi". Archived from the original on August 9, 2011.
  8. ^ "Virtually Soopa – Custom Powerboat Excursions – Cayman Islands". Archived from the original on September 11, 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Shalamar". shalamar.info.
  10. ^ "Jeffrey Daniel Online".
  11. ^ Lehman, Christopher P. (2008). A Critical History of Soul Train on Television (illustrated ed.). McFarland. p. 135. ISBN 9780786436699.
  12. ^ "Happy Birthday Jeffrey Daniel Of Shalamar! 54 Today!". WPPZ-FM. August 24, 2011. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  13. ^ "Behind The Dance: Jody and Jeffrey". YouTube. Archived from the original on May 21, 2019.
  14. ^ "Mills and Daniel". Archived from the original on July 13, 2011.