For many of us, the sultry vocals of BRIT and Ivor Novello winning singer Des’ree was very much a part of our 90s soundtrack. Now after 16 years, the songstress who brought us massive hits like Feel So High and the power anthem You Gotta Be, is back with a brand-new album called A Love Story.
Des’ree, along with a number of high-profile singers like Sade and Seal was successfully riding the pop wave. She also attracted controversy after reportedly being awarded an out of court settlement granting her 25% of the publishing royalties from Janet Jackson’s song, Got Till It’s Gone. In 2007, she was involved in another legal battle with none other than Beyoncé!
In 2003, at the height of her fame, Des’ree appeared to disappear from the music industry. She herself assumed that ‘Dream Soldier’ would be her last album.
The joy of being in a classroom helped her to de-stress and rebuild her strength. She eventually qualified as a nutritionist and then as a naturopath.
Unknown to many at the time, Des’ree suffered from chronic stage fright and a fear of flying. Having kept these fears to herself for too long, she decided she couldn’t suffer in silence anymore. Around the same time, she was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid which kept her energy levels low and when Sony, who she was signed to at the time, decided not to take up the option for another record, she chose to walk away from the industry to see what else life had in store.
Whilst rehabilitating, Des’ree took up courses in other arts – ceramics, pottery, still life drawing/painting and jewellery design – settling on her other passion: alternative medicine. The joy of being in a classroom helped her to de-stress and rebuild her strength. She eventually qualified as a nutritionist and then as a naturopath.
The likelihood of returning to music was slim. Not only did Des’ree feel creatively barren, with the music industry having changed considerably since she left, she felt she did not fit into the pop world anymore. Her innate shyness and preference for remaining in the background proved to be incompatible with the demands and expectations of the increasingly celebrity-obsessed nature of show business.
However, she never completely gave up the desire to one day write and sing again. In 2014 she found herself developing the compulsion to write new songs. Having recorded them in her dictaphone, Des’ree decided to contact her longstanding co-writers Michael Graves and Tim Atack. With new collaborators David Munday and Howard Francis, and with engineer/mixer extraordinaire Robin Baynton at the controls, Des’ree returned to the studio with the intention of just recording for pure pleasure, without expectations.
Now, after 16 years, we can finally enjoy new music from Des’ree with the release of her first studio album, ‘A Love Story’ on 11 October 2019 on Stargazer Records.
This time, being in the studio felt different. She felt free! Free of the stress or pressure to re-write old hits, it soon became clear that the growing body of work she was developing was capable of becoming an album. One that had a theme and told a story, and which, perhaps, could be released.
Her momentum was interrupted for a while as her mother became seriously ill and she and her sister became her carers. For the last time, despite the heart-breaking sadness, Des’ree was able to share some of her new songs to which her Mum would quietly smile and give her endorsement.
Now, after 16 years, we can finally enjoy new music from Des’ree with the release of her first studio album, ‘A Love Story’ on 11 October 2019 on Stargazer Records. The album is a collection of heartfelt songs that show Des’ree’s maturity and vulnerability, that speak of events and emotions which, despite their deeply personal nature, many will relate to.
Welcome back Des’ree, you were missed!
‘A Love Story’ tracklisting
1 A Call To Love
2 Don’t Be Afraid
3 Drunk On Your Kisses
5 Love Me
6 Nothing I Can Do
7 Holding On For Dear Life 8 What’ll I Do
9 Fake It