Music

D'Angelo

One of the key stars of the 1990s neo-soul scene, D'Angelo took on classic influences such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Al Green and updated them with modern beats, a funk swagger and a smouldering, sexy aura that left his hordes of female fans weak at the knees. Raised in a Pentocostal church in Virginia by his minister father, Michael Archer grew up singing gospel songs and playing the church organ before dropping out of school and moving to New York as an 18-year-old, where he won a series of talent shows at Harlem's Apollo Theatre. Signed up by EMI, he took the stage name D'Angelo and had his first notable success when he wrote the hit U Will Know, performed by Black Men United (a supergroup including R Kelly, Boyz II Men and Keith Sweat) for the soundtrack to movie Jason's Lyric (1994). With his falsetto voice and near-the-knuckle love songs, his debut album Brown Sugar (1995) caused a growing buzz, while the single Lady made the US Top 10. Alongside the likes of Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and Maxwell, D'Angelo led a resurgence in slowed down, vintage R&B and his second album Voodoo (2000) shot to the top of the US charts with lead single Untitled (How Does It Feel) reaching Number 25. He occasionally featured on tracks by J Dilla, Angie Stone, Snoop Dogg and Q-Tip but a downwards spiral included a serious car accident, trips to rehab and a near hermit-like existence, before he finally returned to performing in 2012 after twelve years in the wilderness.

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07-07-2011