Amii Stewart’s father signed her up for singing and dancing lessons from the age of four. There already was an Amy Stewart registered with Actor’s Equity, so she changed the spelling of her name to Amii when she signed there. This eventually led to her break into the music industry, recording Disco music. Before being signed onto Ariola Records, Stewart appeared in the stage production Bubbling Brown Sugar on Broadway in 1975.
Her first single, a disco cover version of the Eddie Floyd hit “Knock On Wood”, reached number one in the U.S. in April 1979, and earned her a platinum record and a Grammy Award nomination. It was her only Top 10 American hit single, and she was dismissed there as a one hit wonder. She fared better on the R&B charts and Dance charts where Stewart continued to chart singles into the 1980s.
However, in Europe she established herself as a popular performer during the disco era of the late 1970s, scoring her highest chart placing in the UK singles chart with another disco cover version, of The Doors’ “Light My Fire” (released as “Light My Fire/137 Disco Heaven”), which reached number five in 1979. Further singles such as “Jealousy”, which was a mix of the fading out disco and the New Wave and Hi-NRG hititng the dancefloors, continued her chart run in continental Europe and proved very popular in European discos, but as disco began to lose popularity she branched into other contemporary musical styles such as R&B and Pop. During this period she worked with such producers as Giorgio Moroder and Ennio Morricone. Her 1984 single, “Friends” reached number one in several European countries, and peaked at number 12 in the UK in early 1985. The follow-up single “That Loving Feeling” received good reviews but failed to make the UK Top 40. Both singles were lifted from her highly acclaimed album “Try Love”, which highlighted a new downtempo and soulful sound. A year later, a remixed version of “Knock On Wood” would take her back into the UK Top 10, also topping the UK dance charts.
Stewart has resided in Italy since the mid 1980s, and in her adopted homeland has become a respected performer of a wide range of musical styles. In 1993 and 1994 she was one of several singers invited to perform at the Vatican before the Pope in Christmas pageants. In 2000, Stewart toured Italy, playing the part of Mary Magdalene, in the revival of the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. The play also starred Carl Anderson, who revived his role of “Judas Iscariot” from the 1971 movie.
In 2003, Stewart starred in the musical “Lady Day”, in the role of Billie Holiday; the musical was written and produced by her. In Autumn 2010, Stewarts back catalogue of albums from 1984’s “Try Love” to her most recent album, “Here’s To You” were all released on MP3 Download format.
Edited by E-Clect-Eddy on 18 Apr 2012, 12:29
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