Thursday, September 29, 2022

"My One Temptation" by Mica Paris

Song#:  3940
Date:  06/24/1989
Debut:  97
Peak:  97
Weeks:  4
Genre:  R&B, Sophisti-Pop

Pop Bits:  This British singer (born Michelle Wallen) began singing in church at a young age and by the time she was in her teens she was performing with the gospel choir The Spirit of Watts. Along the way, Paris began to move over into the pop music world working as a session singer. This led to a job as background singer for the Brit pop group Hollywood Beyond. She would sing on their '87 album If, which featured the #7 UK hit "What's the Colour of Money?" Still just 17, Paris then got the opportunity to branch out and become a solo artist. She signed on with 4th & B'way and worked on a debut album titled So Good. This first single would be released in '88 and it would become her biggest hit reaching #7 on the UK chart. Three more Top 30 singles would follow and that helped the album reach #6 and go platinum. That success helped Paris get a US distribution deal with Island Records. Midway through '89, this single would be pushed out in the States where it did well at R&B (#15), AC (#8), and Dance (#36). The song was able to cross over to the Pop chart, but it spend a short month at the bottom peaking where it debuted. A follow-up single, "Breathe Life into Me," would get to #24 R&B while a third single would be a minor R&B entry. The album would get to #86 Pop/#29 R&B.

ReduxReview:  This was a mature, sophisticated song that was handled quite well by a singer who was only in their late teens. I liked the jazzy Europop feel of the tune, which was perfect for the time period (and actually wouldn't be out of place even today). Not surprisingly, it did well at AC and even R&B, but it just couldn't find an audience at Pop, which was too bad. The album was good, but the balance of the tracks didn't really rise to the level of this song. Paris would modernize her sound with her second album and that may have put off some listeners who liked her stylish first LP. However, it was a more cohesive effort that allowed Paris to really settle in and give even better performances.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) For her next album, 1991's Contribution, Paris would spend more time co-writing songs. The LP was less successful than her debut both in the UK (#26) and the US (#58 R&B). Two singles from the album were minor entries on the US R&B chart. Paris would do one more effort for 4th & B'way/Island in '93 titled Whisper a Prayer (#20 UK/#99 US R&B). She would continue to record over the years releasing several solo albums while also guesting on many others. Paris would also appear on a few TV reality shows and made guest appearances on a few series including a stint on the long running British soap EastEnders. Her contribution to the arts and charitable work would earn Paris an MBE award (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). It is akin to the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the US.  2) For her Contribution album, Paris recorded a song written by Prince. She would be the first artist to officially record and release the Prince composition "If I Love U 2 Nite." It would be released as the third single from the album in the UK (#43). The song was originally recorded by The Rebels in 1979. The Rebels were made up of members of Prince's backing band at the time. Their album was a side project for Prince in between his own works. Several songs were recorded including the tune "If I Love You Tonight," which featured vocals by Gayle Chapman. Unfortunately, The Rebels project never saw the light of day. However, a few songs would be recorded later by other artists. Prince would record a version of "If I Love U 2 Nite" in '87. It would be this version that would be the basis for the Mica Paris cover. Oddly, Prince's version was somehow included on the promo version of Paris' single. It was done without consent and the single had to be quickly recalled. About 200 were distributed to DJs making it highly sought after (copies go for over $900 on Discogs). Then later in '93, Prince's soon-to-be wife Mayte (Garcia) would record the tune as "If Eye Love U 2 Nite" (the "Eye" being a symbol, of course) for her debut album Child of the Sun, which was produced by Prince. The song was released as a single, but it failed to chart. The album and other singles did not chart either. It would be Mayte's only album.


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