Oh Lord Have Mercy Mercy Mercy!!
And now, a piece of my obese childhood. Frankly, I could never quite understand why the impossibly under-rated Jamaican singer-songwriter-awesomeness Diana King had NOT reached the insane levels of popularity enjoyed by a ‘vocalist’ such as Rihanna today. Judging by the mayhem created by Rihanna bleating rum-pa-pa-pum or ella-ella-ella or whatever it is her vocal cords manage – had Diana’s ‘La La La Lies‘ or ‘Shy Guy‘ released today, she would have been in the same league as Gargoyle or Kitty Purry – relentlessly belting out # 1 singles at an alarming rate. Alas, Diana King arrived at a time when the mighty Janet Jackson, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Whitney Houston and Shania Twain were SLAYING, and Reggae-infused Pop was something that the late 90’s was not too interested in. And thus she remained one of the most under-rated artists in the history of EVER (any doubts about that should be cleared once you listen to the flawless 1997 classic album ‘Think Like A Girl‘).
Today’s Throwback Tuesday celebrates a classic. Blame nostalgia for this. Diana King’s ‘Shy Guy‘ used to be a fave back when I was in school, and I had barely entered my teens then. Like I said – sweet, sweet nostalgia. ‘Shy Guy‘ was Diana King’s first single from her 1994 début album ‘Tougher Than Love‘, and the single was released in 1995. A heady and irresistible Reggae-Pop fusion, the song had already started charting on most credible music charts around the globe, but ‘Shy Guy‘ truly became a global phenomenon when the song was chosen as the lead single from the soundtrack to the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence starring movie ‘Bad Boys‘.
Within weeks the song topped the Eurochart HOT 100, while peaking at # 2 on the UK Top 40 Singles Chart, # 3 in Australia, and # 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart – eventually being certified Gold in the US. Till date the song has sold an incredible 5 million copies worldwide – and these are physical CD singles that we’re talking about here and not a random 99 cent digital single. Massive!
King followed up her début album with 1997’s highly under-rated ‘Think Like A Girl‘ that boasted of another global hit – a remake of Dionne Warwick’s ‘Say A Little Prayer‘ (it’s Diana’s version that I bump and grind to on a weekly basis), and followed that up with 2002’s ‘Respect‘ that initially saw a Japan-only release, and was later released in Europe. She recently came out with another album ‘Warrior Girl‘ in 2010 that was released as ‘Agirlnameking‘ in the US in 2011. With Reggae-Pop making a comeback, thanks to Rihanna, a new Diana King album would just mean EVERYTHING. Isn’t 2012 the year of the comeback? Maybe a Diana King collaboration with Nicki Minaj?? OMG or maybe Rihanna herself!
I don’t know about her music, but as far as her personal life is concerned – Dina King just made a triumphant revelation last month via her Facebook page. King finally came out as a Lesbian, proudly ending any speculation whatsoever about her sexuality with a fantastic letter to her fans which said –
“My name is DIANA EUGENA KING, known to most as DIANA KING my fans call me KingSinga.”
“I AM … WOMAN … MOTHER … AUNT … JAMAICAN … AMERICAN … INTERNATIONAL ARTIST … SINGER … SONGWRITER … BAND LEADER … FRIEND … LOVER … ENTREPRENEUR … GODDESS! among other things AND YES!!!…I AM A LESBIAN … the answer to my most asked INDIRECT question. I welcome the “WHO CARES” right now. LOL.”
Way to go girl! You make me proud to be your fan!