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Phyllis Hyman

Happy Heavenly Birthday sis. You are truly missed. Phyllis Linda Hyman (July 6, 1949 – June 30, 1995) was an American singer, songwriter, and actress.

Hyman is best known for her music during the late 1970s through the early 1990s, some of her most notable songs were “You Know How to Love Me” (1979), “Living All Alone” (1986) and “Don’t Wanna Change the World” (1991).Hyman also performed on Broadway in the 1981 musical based on the music of Duke Ellington, Sophisticated Ladies, which ran from 1981 until 1983. The musical earned her a Theatre World Award and a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.After an extended struggle with her mental health, Hyman died by suicide in 1995 at her New York City apartment. The eldest of seven children, Hyman was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Phillip, a World War II veteran, and Louise Hyman, a waitress at a local night club, and grew up in St. Clair Village, the South Hills section of Pittsburgh. Hyman’s paternal great-grandparents were Ishmael and Cassandra (Cross) Hyman. After leaving Pittsburgh, her music training started at a music school. On graduation, she performed on a national tour with the group, New Direction, in 1971. After the group disbanded, she joined All the People and worked with another local group, The Hondo Beat. She appeared in the film Lenny (1974). She also did a two-year stint leading a band called “Phyllis Hyman and the P/H Factor.” In 1975, music industry veteran, Sid Maurer, and former Epic Records promoter, Fred Frank, discovered and signed her to their Roadshow Records/Desert Moon imprint. Hyman moved to New York City where she did background vocals on Jon Lucien’s Premonition and worked in clubs. In 1975 when Norman Connors was laying tracks for You Are My Starship (1976), he could not get permission to use Jean Carne for the album. He heard about Phyllis Hyman, who was working at a club on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. One night after a Jon Lucien concert at Carnegie Hall, he saw Hyman perform and offered her a spot as the female vocalist on his fourth album for Buddah Records. After the title song got airplay on jazz radio, You Are My Starship went gold, catapulting Hyman’s, Norman Connors’s, and Michael Henderson’s careers to new heights. R&B radio jumped on board and Connors and Hyman scored on the R&B chart with a remake of The Stylistics’ “Betcha by Golly Wow!”

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