b. Phyllis Linda Hyman, 6th July 1949, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 30th June 1995, Roosevelt Hospital, Manhattan, New York, U.S.A.
Phyllis Hyman was born in Pittsburgh in 1950.
She was a singer, actress and fashion model.
Phyllis was one of several acts groomed by vocalist Norman Connors.
She was raised in Philadelphia and was the eldest of seven children.
She took up singing naturally, won a scholarship to music school and began her professional career in 1971 with a group The New Direction.
(She had also trained as a legal secretary in case her singing career didn't take off.)
The group toured America before disbanding leaving Phyllis to join a Miami group All The People.
While in Miami she also worked with another local group The Hondo Beat and made an appearance in the film Lenny.
In 1974 she formed Phyllis Hyman & the P/H Factor, and toured with them for two years before settling in New York.
She was also invited by Jon Lucien to sing on his album 'Premonition'.
Norman Connors was looking for a female singer and soon got to hear about Phyllis.
Shortly she became a Norman Connors featured vocalist, commencing with 'Betcha By Golly Wow' on 'You Are My Starship' (1976).
The same year she recorded two solo singles 'Baby I'm Gonna Love You' and 'Leaving The Good Life Behind' while also recording with The Fatback Band on 'Night Fever'.
In 1977 her debut album 'Phyllis Hyman' was released by Buddah Records, and featured 'Loving You, Losing You', 'No One Can Love You More' and 'Beautiful Man of Mine'.
She was guest vocalist with Pharaoh Sanders on his 1978 album 'Love Will Find A Way'.
In 1978 Phyliis signed directly to Arista for 'Somewhere In My Lifetime', which included 'Kiss You All Over', 'Living Inside Your Love', 'The Answer is You' and 'Be Careful How You Treat My Love'.
The album was followed in 1979 by a Mtume / Lucas written / produced album 'You Know How To Love Me', the title track which firmly established Phyllis with UK soul fans and was a dance anthem that reached the Top 50 in 1980.
Also on the album was another huge dance record, 'Under Your Spell'.
Her other Arista albums were 'Can't We FallIn Love Again' (1981), including 'Don't Tell Me Tell Her' and 'The Love Too Good To Last', and the Narada Michael Walden / Thom Bell produced 'Goddess Of Love' (1983), including 'Riding The Tiger', 'Why Did You Turn Me On' and 'We Should Be Lovers'.
During the following decade she recorded 'In The Prime Of Her Life', which came out in 1991.
In 1995, as she was appearing at a series of shows at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, she told a friend one night that this would be her last show.
New York police who attended the incident at her Manhattan apartment stated that several vials of pills and suicide notes were found near her body, which was discovered by the singer's live-in assistant Lennice Malina, after failing to appear at a scheduled concert at Harlem's Apollo Theatre.
Phyllis was rushed unconscious to Roosevelt Hospital where doctors pronounced her dead shortly after arrival.
Rumours abound that Phyllis, allegedly, took her life because, her record company, Arista, had promised her she would be the next 'Diana Ross', however dropping her when they signed Whitney Houston to the label.
Phyllis also suffered from Bipolor diseae in her latter years.
Two posthumous releases 'I Refuse To Be Lonely' and 'Forever With You' highlighted the rich musical catalogue that Phyllis left us with.
Other projects, that she undertook during her career, included Phyllis playing a fashion model in the movie 'Too Scared To Scream' (recording the title song with Charles Aznavour), along with recording chores with McCoyTyner ('Looking Out', 1982), Joe Sample ('The Survivor', 1985), The Four Tops ('Maybe Tomorrow', 1985), Ronnie Foster, Barry Manilow ('Swing Street', 1987) and the late Grover Washington Jnr ('Sacred Kind Of Love', 1989).
Kenny Gamble said of her 'It saddens me to think of her passing so soon into the prime of her life, yet when I think of her, I think of her feelings of great joy. Joy for having the opportunity to have worked with such an outstanding voice. She was one of the most loyal artists that I have ever had the pleasure of working with.'
Do check out this excellent website:
Phyllis Hyman (Buddah Records 1977)
Somewhere In My Lifetime (Arista Records 1979)
Sing A Song (Buddah Records 1979)
You Know How To Love Me (Arista Records 1979)
Can't We Fall In Love Again (Arista Records 1981)
Goddess Of Love (Arista Records 1983)
Living All Alone (Philadelphia International Records 1986)
Prime Of My Life (Philadelphia International Records 1991)
I Refuse To Be Lonely (Philadelphia International Records 1995)
Forever With You (Philadelphia International Records 1997)