Passion Fruit (group)
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|Genres||Pop, Europop, Eurodance, bubblegum dance|
Manye "Blade" Thompson
Viola "Dawn" Schubbe
Carla "Pearl" Sinclair
Mario "MC Steve" Zuber
Maria Serrano Serrano
Nathaly(ie) van het Ende
Deborah "Debby" St. Maarten
Passion Fruit was a Eurodance/bubblegum band. The original members were Blade (Manye Thompson), Dawn (Viola Schubbe), Pearl (Carla Sinclair) and MC Steve (Mario Zuber). The later formation was made up of the trio Nathaly(ie) van het Ende, María Serrano Serrano, and Debby (Deborah St. Maarten).
Named after the tropical fruit, Passion Fruit got their start in June 1999 with the Top 10 dance-pop hit "The Rigga-Ding-Dong-Song". The songs "Wonderland", "Sun Fun Baby" and "Bongo Man" followed in 2000 and 2001, all making the Top 40 on the German singles chart.
Established in 1999, Passion Fruit originally consisted of three women and a man who performed the rapping parts. It was this group that performed "The Rigga Ding Dong Song", which was the group's most successful single, reaching the Top 10 in 14 countries, including number 9 in Germany and number 1 in Mexico. The original line-up can be seen in the single's cover sleeve and video.
The four original members were Blade (Manye Thompson), Dawn (Viola Schubbe), Pearl (Carla Sinclair) and MC Steve (Mario Zuber).
Following MC Steve leaving in October 1999 and tensions within the group, record company X-Cell Records decided not to continue with the project. Subsequently, the management team that created the group found a new line-up and a new record company and kept the name Passion Fruit to leverage the success of the first single.
- Nathaly(ie) van het Ende (2 January 1975 – 24 November 2001) – a background singer, dancer and much sought-after model of Dutch descent, who was the second runner up in the 1995 Miss Holland pageant and appeared in many music videos
- Debby (Deborah) St. Maarten (born 1973 in Delft) – a dancer and model of Dutch descent who appeared in many music videos for Dutch and Belgian artists
- María Serrano Serrano (26 November 1973 – 24 November 2001) – a trained nurse of Spanish descent who was also a dancer, model and background singer for various artists
While Marie, Debby and Nathaly sang most vocals, the lead vocals for the song "Wonderland" was performed by Cuban-German singer Leticia Pareja-Padrón,who also did the vocals for "The Rigga Ding Dong Song". The trio also posed nude for the October 2001 issue of the German Playboy.
On 24 November 2001, the group was on board Crossair Flight 3597 from Berlin to Zurich when it crashed into a wooded range of hills 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) short of the runway on approach towards Zurich International Airport, near the town of Bassersdorf. María Serrano-Serrano and Nathaly van het Ende died along with former La Bouche vocalist Melanie Thornton, who was also on the plane, while Debby St. Maarten survived with serious injuries along with eight other people.
In December 2001, Passion Fruit's management decided to donate all the proceeds from their single "I'm Dreaming of . . . A Winter Wonderland" to the victims and survivors of the crash.
No new formation of the band has been planned since.
Second album release and unreleased single
Passion Fruit was working on their second studio album in 2001 shortly before the crash. Only two singles were released during the period: "Bongo Man" and "I'm Dreaming Of...A White Christmas". The new album was supposed to be a start for a new career under the label name Edel. Both singles were released on separate singles CDs in December 2001. The single "Bongo Man" was released on the singles CD with the same name with mixes and featuring the song "Passion Gang" as a bonus track. The other single, "I'm Dreaming of . . . A White Christmas", was released on a singles CD called "I'm Dreaming of . . . A Winter Wonderland" featuring the song and a different version called "I'm Dreaming of . . . A Winter Wonderland" with the same lyrics but different chorus lines, and featured two mixes of the "Winter Wonderland" version.
The single "P.A.S.S.I.O.N." was recorded by the first line-up in 1999 for the album Spanglish Love Affairs, but was later cut. It was later released on the singles CD "Sun Fun Baby (Looky Looky)" as a bonus track.
Debby St. Maarten, post-crash, solo career and comeback
In 2006, St. Maarten was continuing to have treatment for her injuries. She occasionally posted messages on the official Passion Fruit website, usually each November around the anniversary of the plane crash to remember María and Nathaly. On 5 December 2006, to mark the fifth anniversary, she appeared in an interview on the ZDF television show Hello Germany which showed her visiting the site of the crash.
Before Passion Fruit, Debby St. Maarten had worked as a model, and appeared in numerous music videos throughout the 1990s, and had even sung as a lead vocalist. All of the songs sung by St. Maarten herself were released within Passion Fruit itself. In 2006, she planned a comeback as mentioned in the 2006 Passion Fruit special on ZDF in Germany, which aired on 6 November. She had recorded some songs for her comeback, one of those being "Girls", which can be heard at the beginning and end of the ZDF special. However, due to her injuries and other personal reasons, St. Maarten wasn't ready for her big comeback. Her management postponed the project, and decided to postpone until late 2007; however time went on and St. Maarten never picked back up from where she left off. It is uncertain when, and if she ever will in the future. She currently lives in Zoetermeer in the Netherlands, and still has to undergo weekly treatments for her injuries.
- Spanglish Love Affairs (April 2000)
- "Wonderland" (Radio Mix)
- "Rigga Ding Dong Song" (Radio Edit)
- "Sun Fun Baby"
- "Do You Remember"
- "Xl Holiday"
- "Hot Tongue Twister (Vamonos)"
- "Let's Go Crazy"
- "Passion Gang (Ladadi)"
- "Space Attack"
- "I Feel So Blue"
- "Shine On"
- "Wonderland" (bonus track)
|Release Date||Title||Highest Chart Position|
|24 June 1999||"The Rigga-Ding-Dong-Song"||9||7||9||15|
|6 March 2000||"Wonderland"||22||69||11||–|
|5 June 2000||"Sun Fun Baby (Looky Looky)"||34||81||33||–|
|25 June 2001||"Bongo Man"||35||81||44||–|
|3 December 2001||"I'm Dreaming of...A Winter Wonderland"||72||56||63||–|
- "Rigga Ding Dong Song"
- "Sun Fun Baby"
- "Bongo Man"
- "I'm Dreaming Of...A White Christmas"
- "I'm Dreaming Of...A Winter Wonderland"
- 27 Club - "María Serrano Serrano"
- Passion Fruit biography, news, discography at Bubblegum Dancer