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Stephanie Mills

Biography

Blessed with a strong yet vulnerable presence, Stephanie Mills was one of the great R&B stars of the 1980s. Initially, the Brooklyn singer struggled to find her groove; her first three albums flopped. But a breakout performance as Dorothy in the classic Broadway version of The Wiz led the way to bigger things for her. With help from producer James Mtume, Mills kicked off a string of late disco hits, including the 1979 smash "What Cha Gonna Do with My Lovin'," "Sweet Sensation" and "Never Knew Love Like This Before" (her biggest pop hit, which earned her a Grammy) as well as great duets with Teddy Pendergrass such as "Two Hearts" and "Feel the Fire." As disco receded, Mills' star waned, though she continued to be a force on R&B radio with synth-funk tracks like "The Medicine Song." In the late '80s, she breathed new life into her career by tapping into the popularity of gospel-inflected "quiet storm" balladry, fueling "(I Have Learned to Respect) The Power of Love," "I Feel Good All Over," "Something in the Way (You Make Me Feel)" and "Home." Although no longer a major R&B hit maker, Mills continues to record occasionally, including 2004's appropriately titled Born For This!
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