Jade were not “One Woman”, there were three of them, so “Don’t Walk Away”!

by Christopher Smith

Di Reed, Joi Marshall and Tonya Kelly came together in 1991 to form the ‘girl band’ Jade and were signed by producer Vassal Benford to Giant Records the following year. Bedford already had a song written, “I Wanna Love You”, and had the girls straight in the studio to record it. The track was released in the late Summer of 1992 and peaked at No.16 in the US, with a little help from the Kid’n’Play film ‘Class Act’. The trio quickly followed this at the end of the year with “Don’t Walk Away” which sped to No.4 on the singles chart and No.2 on the R&B chart, selling over 600,000 copies. Both tracks featured on their debut album “Jade To The Max” released at the end of November 1992 and eventually gaining a Platinum certification for sales of over a million copies.

Till now, their success had been confined to North America but Bedford and Giant sought to promote the group in early 1993 throughout the rest of the world. While “I Wanna Love You” had been their debut single in their home country, “Don’t Walk Away” was promoted as their international debut, making the top ten in many parts of Europe, including the UK where it peaked at No.7 in April 1993. “I Wanna Love You” soon followed making No.13 there, three places higher than its US chart high. The album would reach No.43 that Summer.

Meanwhile, back home, the girls had released the down tempo number “One Woman” in early 1993, which had made No.22 Stateside and would equal this position when released in the UK in October. A fourth single “Looking For Mr. Do Right” made No.69 in America and in late 1993-early 1994, the girls teamed up with P.O.V. for the track “All Thru The Nite” which bombed in The States but reached No.32 in the UK.

After a short break, Jade returned in late 1994 with a brand new track “5-4-3-2 (Yo Time Is Up)” which did even worse, reaching No.72. Much more successful was a second new track “Every Day Of The Week”, which put them back in the top twenty on both sides of the Atlantic, making No.20 in The States and No.19 in the UK in February 1995. Both tracks came from their second studio album “Mind, Body And Song”, which received a Gold certification in America for sales of 500,000 copies. That same year the girls contributed to the track “Freedom” from the film ‘Panther’ which made No.45 on the singles chart, and in 1997 recorded the song “Keep On Risin'” from ‘The 6th Man’ soundtrack.

And that seemed to be it for Jade. No more music was recorded by the girls although it was never made official that the group had split up for called it a day. Since 1997, Di Reed has worked as a backing singer and supporting vocalist for artists like Rod Stewart, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani and many others, Joi has recorded a gospel album and written a book about her experiences in the music industry, particularly her him with Jade, and Tonya has returned to her first love, interior design, setting up her own company having gained a degree in interior and architectural design prior to joining Jade.

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Written by aylshamchris

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