Where Are They Now? Talented R&B Divas Who’ve Gone MIA Over the Years
It’s tough in this R&B game. If you’re not stripping to your knickers or dipping it low and picking it up slow like Christina Milian said to do (and you see how far that got her), *sucks teeth* it’s hard to get your just dues. Sex sells and real talent sometimes struggles to keep the buying public’s attention. Just look at the following ladies. Being as nosey as we are, we decided to go looking for some recent R&B divas who made a mark and then slowly but surely became hard to find. I’m sure you were wondering too, don’t front!
Per the usual, be ready to click. This slideshow isn’t for the faint at heart or the whiney. Just saying. Thanks!
If you listened to the advice of Blu Cantrell back when she dropped “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops)” back in 2001, when your man wanted to get “buckwild” you needed to stick it to him via his pockets. That little random piece of advice had women everywhere blasting her jam out of their cars. But after dropping that single and the album So Blu in 2001, and Bittersweet in 2003 (which produced the Sean Paul-assisted “Breathe”), Blu Cantrell went MIA.
Or did she? After the fact, a few years later Cantrell was trying her hand at acting, appearing in the stage play Gossip, Lies and Secrets, and even did the usual stint on reality TV by showing up on the NBC program, “Celebrity Circus.” And yes, the show was about exactly what you’re thinking. But allegedly, Cantrell is leaving all that behind to get back to singing, and is in the studio with producer DeShawn Hendrickson, now prepping for a comeback. Will she be well received? Only time will tell.
The creator of the classic cheating man anthem, “Heard It All Before,” Sunshine Anderson was a breath of fresh air in comparison to the non-singing, or under dressed gyrating singers taking over the airwaves. She dropped a few albums during her time in the spotlight, including 2001’s Your Woman, which went gold, 2007’s Sunshine At Midnight (after signing with Matthew Knowles’ Music World Entertainment) and 2010’s The Sun Shines Again. No albums had the same success as her debut and after much effort and hard work, Anderson decided to slow down to get married and start a family. We haven’t heard much else since…
After making it big throwing threats with R.Kelly and being the first and only successful singer to drop an album on his Rockland label (’98s self-titled debut, a platinum selling release), Sparkle tried to release more music, but with not much as success. What had happened was (I love saying that), the singer and Kelly fell out over creative differences while putting together her sophomore effort. More than done with the self-proclaimed R&B thug, she went to Motown to release the album, and it was deemed a flop.
Coincidentally, after all that, she was one of the people who testified against Kelly during his child pornography trial, as the young girl in the video was her niece of all people. She identified her niece for police and everything. What? She did tell Kelly that he better be careful what he says and does to her…Anywho, after he was acquitted, she went on about her business trying to get her foot back in the door, and was last seen singing back up for Toni Braxton during her Las Vegas show.
With her powerhouse vocals and great writing, I’m trying to figure out why Alice Smith only has one released album under her belt. We need more singers like this woman! “Dream” is that deal, and if you don’t believe me, check it out. Anywho, the soulful chanteuse found her way onto a lot of people’s radars after releasing For Lovers, Dreamers & Me, especially since the album is an eclectic mix of a variety of genres and sounds. But after dropping that gem, we didn’t hear very much else from her. She did a collabo with singer Aloe Blacc in 2011, left her music label, had a baby and moved. Sounds good, but we’re waiting for a new album. Not patiently at this point, but I guess we have no choice. However, she did say that new music and live performances are on the way. In the meantime, on her website, you can hear her cover of Cee-Lo’s “Fool For You” to help you get by, and get the 411 on her upcoming appearances…
When the singer, better known as Shari Watson, came on the scene with Dr. Dre trying to be the first lady of Aftermath with her catchy single “Addictive” (featuring Rakim, I know you remember), she was definitely making waves with the ladies and the fellas and even popped up in the movie Car Wash with Snoop & Dre. She released her album, Truthfully Speaking in 2002. The song, “The Truth” with a feature from a then legally plagued R. Kelly was also a standout on the album. However, Watson’s album underperformed and she slowly began to fade out of the music scene. She did release a second album on Raphael Saadiq’s record label, but it failed to gain much attention. Since then, she has tried to get her name back out there, releasing music on her website and even appearing in Penthouse (the Austrian version though…). We will see if her hustle will pay off the third time around…
Aside from being known as the mother of D’Angelo’s son and a co-songwriter for some of the singer’s hits, Angie Stone was also known for being a neo-soul powerhouse, producing beautiful tracks like “Brotha” off 2001’s Mahogany Soul album, “No More Rain” and “More Than a Woman.” While she had success (she even sang the theme song for “Girlfriends”), we started seeing less and less of the soul singer (and her big hair) as the new Millennium went on. Her last release was 2010’s Unexpected, which was only released in the UK. Nowadays, Stone is doing a lot of acting rather than just singing, showing up in the movie The Wonder Girls this year. She lives in the ATL with her two kids, her fiance and his children.
Whenever I say Lumidee to friends, it’s almost like a call and response thing. Folks start chanting “uh ohhhhhhhhhhh” immediately and we reminisce about how random but fun the singer’s track, “Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh)” really was. But where did homegirl disappear to? Well, after releasing the underwhelming debut, Almost Famous, Lumidee made a short comeback with the song “She’s Like the Wind” and the album Unexpected, and then tried to revive her career overseas. She would go on to drop mixtape albums and was last seen collaborating with “Love and Hip Hop” star Somaya Reece for a song and video called “Dale Mami” this year.
Once a backup singer for Jill Scott, singer Vivian Green made a name for herself after she dropped the single “Emotional Rollercoaster” in 2002 along with the album A Love Story (which went gold). For every woman who could say they had gone through too many ups and downs with a man in their life, it was the anthem. But after making a big entrance into the R&B game, Green took a break to become a mother, giving birth to a son by her ex-fiancé. Three years later, Green returned with the album, Vivian, which brought us the song, “Gotta Go Gotta Leave (Tired)” and in 2010, released the album, Beautiful. But no worries, Green didn’t really disappear like that. She’s still recording new tracks, doing collaborations and just appeared at the 2012 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. Keep an eye out for her new stuff!
Nicole might have had what we wanted (according to her single “Make It Hot”), but she didn’t have what we needed because after she released her debut, Make It Hot, in ’98, she faded somewhat into obscurity. She did the hook to Missy’s “All N My Grill,” but as for her own music, she really didn’t end up blowing up for real. After moving from different labels (including Roc-A-Fella) and dropping some singles, she couldn’t get a CD in stores. She’s only had her voice shine since her time with Missy and Timbaland by doing collaborations with folks like The Black Keys, Cam’Ron and most recently, with Kid Cudi in 2010. But then again, she did release this very homemade looking music video for a song called “I Like” with none other than rapper 2 Chainz last year. I have nothing nice to say about it, so just watch it on your own here…
If “I Love Your Smile” didn’t make you smile or at least go “do do do do dooo do da do” then you have no soul. But seriously, when the singer Shanice dropped that popular single in ’91, she showed everyone her amazing vocal talents. If that song didn’t do her enough justice in your book, you could reach to her album, Inner Child, to be blown away by her rendition of Minnie Riperton’s hit, “Lovin’ You.” After Inner Child, Shanice really didn’t have much more success with following albums (four and one on the way allegedly this year). However, she did have success with providing tracks for big films and TV shows (including the Disney movie, Pocahontas) and in her personal life, getting married to actor Flex Anderson in 2000 and becoming a mother of two. She is said to be working on a new album to be released sometime this year, so keep an eye out for that.
If you listen to reports, you probably think that all Nivea does nowadays is sit around and have babies with folks like Lil Wayne and The-Dream. You’re somewhat correct, but don’t get it twisted, she’s still dropping tracks and trying to get ahead in the R&B game again. When we first saw Nivea, she was singing the hook on our jam, “Danger” by Mystikal, and once she stepped out on her own to do her own tracks, she was making notable hits like “Don’t Mess With My Man” and “Laundromat.” She released her self-titled debut in 2002 and went on to release her sophomore effort, Complicated, in 2004. After that, she tried to balance putting out albums that got a lukewarm response with being a wife (to The-Dream at the time) and mother, and after 2011, we didn’t hear much about homegirl music wise. She did find herself in some legal trouble when she was arrested for a DUI after a car accident last year, but she maintains that she got in the accident after a tree went through her windshield. She’s doing fine these days, but we’re wondering when she’ll get back in the studio for an album?
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