Stephanie Mills has one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music. She is ultra soulful songstress whose onstage energy and power inspires standing ovations wherever she performs. She is a legendary Grammy and American Music Award-winning recording artist with five best-selling albums and ten Billboard #1 singles.
Over the span of a 25 year illustrious career, Stephanie Mills has distinguished herself as an actress and performer who is as at home on the Broadway stage as she is in the recording studio. Hit records such as “I Have Learned To Respect The Power Of Love,” “Home” and “Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin” have become enduring classics.
Stephanie’s critically acclaimed appearances in shows like the four-time Tony Award-winning “The Wiz” and “Your Arms Too Short To Box With
God” have assured her of a consistently loyal following among fans, industry insiders and critics alike.
Stephanie’s journey as an enduring performer began like that of so many of her contemporaries; singing gospel in church in her native Brooklyn. Her vocal abilities became evident early on, and by the age of nine, she was mesmerizing crowds in her first Broadway musical “Maggie Flynn,” sharing the stage with co-stars Shirley Jones and the late Jack Cassidy.
Other early credits included appearances in such pop culture classic, shows like “Captain Kangaroo,” “Wonderama,” “The Electric Company” and “String” (presented by the Negro Ensemble Company in New York City). For six consecutive weeks, an eleven-year old Stephanie won the famous Amateur Night at the renowned Apollo Theater and a first recording, “I Knew It Was Love” landed her the much-coveted role of Dorothy in the Broadway musical “The Wiz” at the age of fifteen. For five years, Stephanie wowed packed houses with her amazing vocal gift and after making albums for ABC and Motown, she signed with 20th Century Records in 1979.
Working with producers James Mtume & Reggie Lucas, Stephanie recorded “Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin” and by 1984, she had climbed the charts with major hits: “Sweet Sensation,” “Never Knew Love Like This Before” (a gold single), “Two Hearts” (a duet with Teddy Pendergrass), “Keep Away Girls,” “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?” and “The Medicine Song.” Stephanie scored three best-selling albums in a row with “Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin?”, “Sweet Sensation” and “Stephanie” in the span of just two years.
The 1980’s were a golden period for the petite vocalist: signed to MCA Records, Stephanie was responsible for a string of hit singles and albums. “I Have Learned To Respect The Power of Love” (1986), “I Feel Good All Over” and “(You’re Puttin) A Rush On Me” (both from 1987), “Something In The Way (You Make Me Feel)” and “Home” (both 1990 recordings) all topped the R&B charts. The 1987 album “If I Were Your Woman” was No. 1 on the R&B Albums chart and was a Top 30 pop bestseller; while the 1989 album “Home” was also a Top 5 R&B and Top 100 charted LP.
Returning to the stage, Stephanie toured the country in the early 1990’s with “The Wiz” and during the past decade, she has appeared in a number
of highly-acclaimed roles in such shows as “Your Arms Too Short With Box” (starring with Teddy Pendergrass), “Children Of Eden,” “Ragtime,” “Play On” (a tribute to Duke Ellington’s music), “His Woman, His Wife” and “Black Nativity.”
The recipient of NAACP Image Awards, Stephanie’s multi-faceted career has also included recurring roles in popular television soap operas “Search For Tomorrow” and “One Life To Live.” In 1994, Stephanie returned to her gospel roots with “Personal Inspirations,” an album that won praise with both gospel and secular audiences, netting her “Stellar Award” and “Dove Award” nominations. Stephanie marked a return to recording in 1999 with the dance music cut “Latin Lover,” produced by Masters At Work and in 2000, she did a duet with BeBe Winans for his Motown album “Love And Freedom.”
Stephanie’s music has frequently been sampled during the last few years and in 2001, she was a special guest on rapper DMXs “The Great Depression” album, reprising the vocals from her first 1979 hit “Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin” for the track “When I’m Nothing.” Following a dazzling performance at comedian Sinbad’s Soul Festival in Aruba, Stephanie began touring again in 2001 and has been wowing audiences on shows with artists like The OJays, Teddy Pendergrass, The Isley Brothers, Carl Thomas and at festivals that have included Mary J. Blige, India.Arie, Alicia Keys, Babyface and Smokey Robinson.
She says, “It’s been wonderful being back onstage and singing songs from all parts of my career.