Mica Paris starting signing in church when she was seven years old, then in the 80s joined the gospel group Spirit of Watts . She then reached fame in 1986 when she released her first album ” So Good”. It was pure UK soul and she had a few hit singles from it, namely “My One Temptation” “Like Dreamers Do” “Breathe Life Into Me“. Next up from her was the “Contribution” album embraced hip hop and house with contributions from Erik B and Rakim, plus a fantastic bunch of great funk, soul songs. including the Prince-penned “If I Love U 2 Nite” in 1991 with remixes by Nellee Hooper – who was a hot property coming of the back of his work with Soul II Soul and Bjork. In between the release of her next, and my favourite, album was the title track from the film Young Soul Rebels.
Whisper A Prayer was released in 1992 and was the album that was to break Mica into the US. She was flown there to record with Narada Michael Walden and Rod Temperton (writer of Thriller and many of Quincy Jones’ album tracks). The LA riots ensued and a merger happened with the record label. Rod wrote ” You Put A Move On My Heart” for Mica’s album but Quincy wanted the song for a new discovery of his, Tamia. Her version was released and became her signature career song. Mica never really made the big US diva status as she deserved. Never the less the album had come great singles and remains my favourite. A b-side from this era “Should Have Known Better” became on of her best and critically acclaimed songs.
Mica performed two nights at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho. It’s a 120 seat basement club so it was a very intimate gig. We were near the front of course. She opened with a new arrangement of “I Never Felt Like This Before” and then stretched out some of her new songs into gospel, soul workouts. Working with a tight, 4 piece band and despite her head cold, that smooth sexy voice won us over. The gig ended too soon and as it was a small venue we stayed around for a while then headed back stage (what looked like a kitchen) to find Mica in a room alone resting drinking tea. She was delighted we introduced ourselves and we spent a few minutes thanking her and hanging out as she got a CD together, signed it and had some photos with her. It capped a fantastic night to meet such a beautiful warm soul who we had both followed since the beginning of her career.