Prime of My Life by Phyllis Hyman on Apple Music

10 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

It took Phyllis Hyman five years to complete 1991’s Prime of My Life. While her detractors often accused her of being difficult to work with—an accusation that Hyman later confessed was to some degree true—her finished products were evidence of her superlative musical standards. While the rest of the R&B world was turning toward jumpy rhythms and teen-oriented subject matter, Hyman remained a resolutely mature presence in a world full of junior pretenders. No one from her generation was more adept at merging the worlds of jazz and R&B, as proven by the sumptuous tones of “When You Get Right Down to It,” “I Found Love,” and “Prime of My Life.” From a young age, Hyman was a virtuosic vocalist, but she had an even more uncommon quality: authenticity. Her singing is never rushed and never forced. The listener never feels that she's simply striking the notes and the words. Her verses feel like complete sentences, and she puts the intention of her entire soul into these performances. It's that quality that makes her songs truthful, from the self-affirming sentiments of “Prime of My Life” to the stark melancholy of “Living in Confusion” and “I Can’t Take It Anymore.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

It took Phyllis Hyman five years to complete 1991’s Prime of My Life. While her detractors often accused her of being difficult to work with—an accusation that Hyman later confessed was to some degree true—her finished products were evidence of her superlative musical standards. While the rest of the R&B world was turning toward jumpy rhythms and teen-oriented subject matter, Hyman remained a resolutely mature presence in a world full of junior pretenders. No one from her generation was more adept at merging the worlds of jazz and R&B, as proven by the sumptuous tones of “When You Get Right Down to It,” “I Found Love,” and “Prime of My Life.” From a young age, Hyman was a virtuosic vocalist, but she had an even more uncommon quality: authenticity. Her singing is never rushed and never forced. The listener never feels that she's simply striking the notes and the words. Her verses feel like complete sentences, and she puts the intention of her entire soul into these performances. It's that quality that makes her songs truthful, from the self-affirming sentiments of “Prime of My Life” to the stark melancholy of “Living in Confusion” and “I Can’t Take It Anymore.”

TITLE TIME
4:21
4:26
5:21
5:11
7:03
4:21
4:25
7:06
6:44
4:06

About Phyllis Hyman

Phyllis Hyman began her career as a silky voiced, jazz-influenced singer and gradually moved into slick, heavily produced urban contemporary ballads and light dance numbers. Hyman won a scholarship to music school and then began her professional career with the group New Direction in 1971. When they disbanded after a national tour, Hyman joined the Miami ensemble All the People. She also worked there with another local group, the Hondo Beat, and appeared in the film Lenny. That was followed by a two-year stint heading Phyllis Hyman & the PH Factor, before relocating to New York. Hyman performed background vocals for Jon Lucien and built her reputation performing in New York clubs. Norman Connors made her his featured vocalist in the mid-'70s, and she was highlighted on a cover of the Stylistics' "Betcha by Golly Wow," which reached the Top 30 of the R&B chart. Hyman also sang with Pharaoh Sanders and the Fatback Band while cutting two singles as a lead artist. Buddah released Phyllis Hyman in 1977, but she really began making an impression when she was signed by Arista the next year. The songs "Somewhere in My Lifetime" and "You Know How to Love Me" both made the R&B Top 20. Hyman got her lone Top Ten hit in 1981 with "Can't We Fall in Love Again," but her albums did consistently well throughout the '80s. The production teams of Mtume/Reggie Lucas and Narada Michael Walden/Thom Bell gave her material that showcased her skill with sophisticated ballads. Hyman had more success when she left Arista for Philadelphia International in 1986, with the single "Living All Alone" putting her back in the R&B Top 20. She also sang on fusion and light jazz dates by Joe Sample, Ronnie Foster, and Grover Washington, Jr., a more conventional jazz session for McCoy Tyner, and a pop date with the Four Tops. Tragically, Hyman took her own life on June 30, 1995; Forever with You was issued posthumously. ~ Ron Wynn

  • ORIGIN
    Philadelphia, PA
  • BORN
    Jul 6, 1949

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