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!
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