Happy Monday, Everyone! Today’s featured artist is SHANNON & Lis Lisa & Cult Jam.
Shannon Brenda Greene (born May 2, 1958), better known by the mononym Shannon, is an American recording artist and singer of Freestyle music and dance-pop music and songwriter. She is best known for her million-selling record single “Let the Music Play”. Often she is considered the “International Queen of Freestyle.”
Her albums include Let the Music Play, released in 1984, followed by Do You Wanna Get Away in 1985 and Love Goes All the Way in 1986. In 1999, Shannon appeared in a segment of VH1’s One-Hit Wonders, and returned to music with her fourth album, The Best is Yet to Come, which was released in 2000. The album was followed by a compilation album released in 2004, Let The Music Play: The Best of Shannon. Shannon’s most recent album is A Beauty Returns, released in 2007.
In 1983, Shannon was enrolled at York College and toured with the New York Jazz Ensemble. Quintin Hicks, an associate of the production team of Mark Liggett and Chris Barbosa, later saw Shannon singing with a live band in her cousin’s recording studio. Shannon auditioned for Liggett and Barbosa with the song “She Can’t Love You Like I Do”. They introduced her to the selection “Fire and Ice,” which would later evolve into Shannon’s signature song, “Let The Music Play;” its unique sound, called “The Shannon Sound,” would later come to be known as “freestyle.” Let The Music Play would also be the title of Shannon’s debut album, which she released in 1984.
Lisa Lisa (born Lisa Velez, January 15, 1966 and her band Cult Jam are an urban contemporary band and one of first freestyle music groups to emerge from New York City in the 1980s. Cult Jam consisted of guitarist/bassist Alex “Spanador” Moseley, and drummer and keyboardist Mike Hughes. They were assembled and produced by Full Force.
Velez is of Puerto Rican descent and grew up in New York City and attended Julia Richman High School in Manhattan, NY. The group released their debut album Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force in 1985. She was signed by Columbia Records and the label released their single “I Wonder If I Take You Home” to the European division of CBS Records for the compilation album Breakdancing. Stateside club DJs began playing the single from the import LP, and thus the U.S. division of CBS, Columbia Records, released the record. It quickly became a chart-topper on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Disco chart. It then crossed over to the R&B chart where it peaked at #6, and then to the pop chart, peaking at #34 in summer 1985. The single eventually went gold.
“I Wonder If I Take You Home” was followed by another club hit, “Can You Feel the Beat”, which also went to #40 on the R&B chart in late 1985. A sampling of the lyrics of this song would later be used by Nina Sky for their hit single “Move Ya Body” in 2004. Their third single, the ballad “All Cried Out”, also went gold, going to number #3 R&B and #8 pop in summer 1986. “All Cried Out” was later covered by Allure in 1997 and was a hit in 1998. Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force went platinum.
Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam – Head To Toe
Lost in Emotion
I Wonder If I Take You Home