Taja Sevelle

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Taja Sevelle

In 1987 her love was contagious…just a shame her music wasn’t(!)

Singer Taja Sevelle (born Nancy Robinson, of course, in 1962) was the Mariah Carey before Mariah Carey ever happened. At the age of 25 she was tipped to be the next big thing with her infectious debut single “Love Is Contagious”. She was even signed to Prince’s Paisley Park Record label, so everything was in place for her to join the ranks of Whitney Houston as one of America’s biggest and most successful recording artists. So what happened…?

‘Taja’ made her debut as a backing vocalist on Prince’s 1985 album “Around The World In A Day” before being encouraged to write and record as a solo artist. Her first effort was “Love Is Contagious” which she recorded in the Summer of 1987 and released in America that Autumn. Despite all the hype, the song flopped and stalled at No.62 there. “Love Is Contagious” saw release outside the US in early 1988 and it was ‘across the pond’ that the song would find its greatest success, reaching No.7 in March. Taja followed this with her self-titled debut album, which like “Love Is Contagious”, bombed in her home country. The album made No.48 in the UK.

Four other singles were lifted from it during 1988 but only “Wouldn’t You Love to Love Me?” made the slightest dent on the international charts, reaching No.59 in the UK. It did, however, reach the dizzy heights of No.61 on the US R&B chart! After a suitable gap, perhaps to regroup, Taja was back in 1991 with the single “Trouble Having You Near”. But this, like her second album “Fountains Free”, flopped big time. She tried again in 1998 with the single “A Lot Like You” and her third album “Toys Of Vanity”, but when these didn’t even make the bargain bin, Taja called it a day.

She founded Urban Farming, a non profit organisation for creating unlimited food for people by using unused land, in 2005. The scheme, unlike her music career, has been a success with over 63,000 gardens in 61 countries worldwide. She wrote and published the book From The Root, A Memoir and A Philosophy for Balance in Our World in 2019 and I’m sure ongoing royalties from “Love Is Contagious” are being ploughed straight back into the land as we speak! Taja did make a comeback of sorts in 2014 with a new song “Little Diva”. But…yes you’ve guessed it, it flopped! Better off growing potatoes and digging the soil Taja!

Taja Sevelle 2019

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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!