The Tragic Life Of Phyllis Linda Hyman

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Phyllis Hyman was the greatest powerhouse vocalist of the 70s and 80s. The 6’2” goddess had the vocal range that exceeded anyone in the music business. “It’s soft. It’s slow. It’s sexy. It’s dramatic,” Phyllis described her voice in an interview with Ebony Jet magazines. The songstress had the potential of accomplishing great musical success, leaving behind a huge and inspiring legacy like many artist in her music era. Unfortunately, Phyllis did not become the household name many wanted her to be. In fact, few people are familiar with her genius vocal flair. Sadly, before achieving any real mainstream success, her life spiraled out of control, leading to her tragic ending.

Phyllis Linda Hyman was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on …show more content…

They moved to New York and performed at small jazz clubs, where they encounter several of music’s most elite and noble talents. During one of their shows, Phyllis was noticed by well-known jazz musician and music producer, Norman Connors, who instantly became intrigued by Phyllis’s performance. He eventually offered her a feature on his album, You Are My Star-ship, in which she covered the Stylistics most renowned ballad, “Betcha by Golly Wow.” “She took to the music,” Richard Clay said about Phyllis’s cover. “She took to them like a bird to the sky.” This earned Phyllis a record deal with Buddah Records and in 1977, the label released her first self-entitled album Phyllis Hyman. She began production on her second album project, Sing a Song, when Buddah Records was brought by Clive Davis’s label, …show more content…

During this time, Davis signed several female artists, such as Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick, to Arista. When this happened, competition escalated within the label, which put a huge amount of pressure on Phyllis. She also became frustrated with the record company trying to commercialize her artistry, refusing to record anything that sounded equivalent to pop music.

While in the process of making You Know How to Love Me, Phyllis performed in a New York jazz club when an arranger for Duke Ellington’s Broadway play Sophisticated Ladies spotted her. She was offered the lead role of the production; unfortunately, Davis was not onboard with the idea. Despite his disapproval, however, she took the role. Her role in the play brought her great recognition within the industry, and she became nominated for a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also won the Theatre World Award for Best Newcomer.

During this time, Phyllis developed her own unique, glamorous style with the help of designer and stylist, Cassandra McShepard. Often, she wore plunging V-neck blouses and dresses with chunky, flashy accessories, topped with huge crown hats. Her exterior oozed sophistication and class, which matched her extraordinary

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