Tasha ThomasView in iTunes
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Disco diva Tasha Thomas was born in Jeutyn, AK, to a father who worked for the Atomic Energy Commission and a mother who was ordained as a Pentecostal minister. She began playing the organ and singing in her mother's church; when she moved to New York City during the late '60s to pursue music, she took up with another church choir through a connection of her mother's. Her involvement with the choir led to a gig singing backup vocals on Louis Armstrong's 1968 What a Wonderful World album, and from there she moved into a career in secular music as a much-sought-after session vocalist. She sang behind countless stars of the decade, including Stevie Wonder (Innervisions), B.B. King, James Brown, Grover Washington Jr., Cat Stevens, Carly Simon, Edgar and Johnny Winter, Jim Croce, and many others. In the meantime, she performed in jazz clubs around New York City, and in 1975 she debuted on Broadway as Auntie Em in the original production of The Wiz. Eventually, that gig led to a deal with the small independent disco label Orbit, which released her debut solo single "Shoot Me (With Your Love)" in 1978. Its popularity in dance clubs attracted the attention of Atlantic, which picked up the single and signed Thomas for a full-length album. Midnight Rendezvous was released in 1979, and spun off two more disco hits in "Hot Buttered Boogie" and "Street Fever." Unfortunately, Thomas' health took a turn for the worse; she was diagnosed with cancer and spent much of the early '80s battling the disease. She passed away on November 8, 1984, at the tragically young age of 33. ~ Steve Huey