Heartbreaker for life – Stacy Lattisaw

How can people come and go, have pretty major hits but disappear off the radar with not so much as a bye or leave. The nature of celebrity, of success, is fleeting for most. But as we have said before, for the determined digger, the stories of careers gone off the rails, or just stuck in the wrong station, can be fruitful indeed. And so it is with the career of early 1980s R’n’B lady of the moment Stacy Lattisaw.

Now you may be thinking, how anyone can ever be a household name with a surname so tricky to get your mouth around, but it is true, Stacy was big news
in the early 80s. An early protégé of Narada Michael Walden, she burst on the scene aged just 12 in 1979 and then recorded a string of hit albums for the Cotillion label between 1981 and 86, before leaving for an ill-fated signing with Motown. And from there she disappeared, seemingly taking her musical legacy and renown with her. In fact she left, as many female singers particularly do, to have a family. No mystery there then. Disillusionment with the travails of the industry is understandable and more than acceptable.

Lattisaw still records though, nowadays Gospel, having returned to the fray under her own terms. But there was a time when Stacy Lattisaw was blazing a trail for synth led funky soul, including the 1984 album “Perfect Combination” with her own protégé, the pre-New Edition Johnny Gill. There are true gems in her output, including the sample you’ll all know from Mariah’s massive “Heartbreaker”. In fact if you search for “Attack of the Name Game”, the tune from her 1982 “Sneakin Out” LP that Carey samples to great effect, you are in for a bizarre and strangely alluring treat, a kind of teenage proto-rap that should grate but somehow charms. But for now let’s peep the equally interesting “Block Party” from the Johnny Gill collabo. It might just rub you the right way.

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Twelve Bar on June 23rd 2011 in Music

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