9 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

After spending six years as the featured vocalist for the Los Angeles–based R&B group Side Effect, Miki Howard broke into a solo career with 1986’s Come Share My Love. Bolstered by the chart success of the title song, the album quickly established Howard as one of the premier female vocalists of the latter '80s. The title song and “Love Will Find a Way” are slow but funky, catchy but textured, and complex without sacrificing directness. Howard’s greatest skill as a performer was her ability to balance opposites. As an R&B vocalist, she staked a rare middle ground: between being youthful and mature, effervescent and sage. She fit easily into the sassy funk of “I Surrender” and “Do You Want My Love” but could turn around and disarm the audience with the classic jazz balladry of “Imaginations.” Regardless of the given material, she was never dull and never jaded. She comes off with the spark of a rookie, even though the 25-year-old Howard already exhibited the musical chops of a veteran performer.

EDITORS’ NOTES

After spending six years as the featured vocalist for the Los Angeles–based R&B group Side Effect, Miki Howard broke into a solo career with 1986’s Come Share My Love. Bolstered by the chart success of the title song, the album quickly established Howard as one of the premier female vocalists of the latter '80s. The title song and “Love Will Find a Way” are slow but funky, catchy but textured, and complex without sacrificing directness. Howard’s greatest skill as a performer was her ability to balance opposites. As an R&B vocalist, she staked a rare middle ground: between being youthful and mature, effervescent and sage. She fit easily into the sassy funk of “I Surrender” and “Do You Want My Love” but could turn around and disarm the audience with the classic jazz balladry of “Imaginations.” Regardless of the given material, she was never dull and never jaded. She comes off with the spark of a rookie, even though the 25-year-old Howard already exhibited the musical chops of a veteran performer.

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3:27
4:08
4:57

About Miki Howard

Miki Howard grew up in the church, where both of her parents were gospel singers. Her mother was also a member of the gospel group the Caravans and was acquainted with various entertainers. Howard's mother would take her to the homes of various stars such as Aretha Franklin and Mavis Staples.

While still in elementary school, Howard moved to Los Angeles with her mom. At the age of 15, she performed in a teen pageant. After the show, she met Side Effect member Augie Johnson, who happened to be in the audience and began working with Howard creatively. After a period of time, Howard became a Side Effect member -- upon the departure of Sylvia St. James. Howard's tenure with the group lasted a few years. During this time, she also had two children by Johnson. In addition to singing with Side Effect, she did background vocals for Wayne Henderson, Roy Ayers, Stanley Turrentine, and several other artists.

After leaving Side Effect, Howard signed a deal with Atlantic. Her first hit for the label was the Billboard R&B Top Ten single "Come Share My Love." She followed that with the remake of Glenn Miller's 1940 hit "Imagination." Her success continued with two more Top Ten singles, "Baby Be Mine" and "That's What Love Is." The latter was a duet with Gerald Levert and was the result of the creative union Howard formed with Marc Gordon and Levert. Howard and Levert later became romantically involved, and that romance spawned one of Howard's biggest hits, "Love Under New Management." The song was written during their brief love affair, but was released after their romance had dissolved.

In 1990, Howard signed a deal with Giant, which facilitated the release of her number one smash hit "Ain't Nobody Like You." Howard's lifeline at Giant was cut short due to an altercation her husband had at the label. She also made an appearance as Billie Holiday in a club scene in the Spike Lee movie Malcom X. Howard continued to issue albums throughout the '90s and early 2000s, a few of them heavy on -- or wholly reliant upon -- covers. Her releases during these years included Femme Fatale (1992), Shining Through (1993), Live Plus (1996), Can't Count Me Out (1997), Three Wishes (2001), and Pillow Talk (2006). ~ Craig Lytle

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