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Meli'sa Morgan

R&B singer Meli’sa Morgan was born on December 6, 1964 in Queens, New York. She began her singing career at the early age of nine years old as a member of the Starlets of Corona gospel choir. She went on to study music and theatre at The Juilliard School Performing Arts Conservatory in New York.

In 1978, a fourteen-year-old Morgan released her debut single “I’m In The Prime Of Love” on Stang Records with the funk group Business Before Pleasure. Morgan next joined Shades of Love; and, in 1982, the group’s track “Body to Body (Keep in Touch) charted on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. That year, disco producer Jacques Fred Petrus asked Morgan to join his new studio group, High Fashion. The group’s song “Feelin’ Lucky Lately” charted on U.S. Black Singles. It was their sole hit, and Morgan soon left the group to sing back-up with the likes of Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston, and Melba Moore. In 1986, Morgan released her solo debut album Do Me Baby on Capitol Records. The title track, her cover of the Prince original, topped R&B charts for three weeks. Her 1987 duet with Kashif was released on her album, Good Love, and served as the title track of Kashif’s Love Changes. In 1990, she returned to Capitol with The Lady In Me. Her 1992 release with Pendulum Records, Still in Love with You, included her cover of Al Green’s “I’m Still in Love with You.” In 2005, Morgan wrote and sang background for Mary J. Blige’s song “Good Woman Down,” which was featured in Tyler Perry’s film I Can Do Bad All by Myself. The next year, she released her fifth solo album I Remember on Orpheus Records; Valerie Simpson played piano on Morgan’s rendering of Ashford & Simpson’s Motown hit “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.” Morgan also teamed up with Freddie Jackson to record the classic song “Back Together Again.” In 2014, Morgan collaborated with fellow 1980s R&B stars Cheryl Pepsii Riley and Full Force on “Thank You for Leaving Me.” She was also nominated for a Soul Train Music Award for “In the Mood to Take It Slow,” her collaboration with jazz artist Najee. Morgan was the subject of a 2015 episode of TVOne’s Unsung; and, in 2016, released her new single, “So Good,” and signed a contract with Cleopatra Recards. Morgan has writing credits on most of her songs, which have been remixed and sampled by Junior Vazquez, Mary J. Blige, Cool Million and others. She continues to tour in the United States and abroad, and released the album Love Demands in 2018.

Meli’sa Morgan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 23, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.027

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/23/2016

Last Name

Morgan

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Melissa

Occupation
Schools

P.S. 143 Louis Armstrong School

I.S. 61 Leonardo Da Vinci

I.S. 73 The Frank Sansivieri Intermediate School

John Bowne High School

The Juilliard School

First Name

Joyce

Birth City, State, Country

Queens

HM ID

MOR16

Favorite Season

None

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Aruba

Favorite Quote

The First Law Of Nature Is Self Preservation.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/6/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

R&B singer Meli’sa Morgan (1964 - ) began her vocal career in 1979 with Business Before Pleasure, and went on to sing back-up with the likes of Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston, and Melba Moore. She released six studio albums.

Employment

Army Recruiters Office

New York Hospital

Chase Bank

Hush Productions

Capitol Records

Electra Records

Pendulum Records

Orpheus Records

RFC Records

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Meli'sa Morgan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Meli'sa Morgan lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Meli'sa Morgan describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Meli'sa Morgan describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Meli'sa Morgan talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Meli'sa Morgan describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Meli'sa Morgan lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Meli'sa Morgan describes the sights and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Meli'sa Morgan recalls her early interest in music

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Meli'sa Morgan recalls joining the Starlets of Corona

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers performing with the Starlets of Corona

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Meli'sa Morgan talks about her early musical performances

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Meli'sa Morgan describes her informal music training

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers recording 'Keep in Touch (Body to Body)'

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Meli'sa Morgan describes the disco scene in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers moving into her father's household

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Meli'sa Morgan talks about Jacques Fred Petrus

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers New York City's underground club scene

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Meli'sa Morgan talks about the members of High Fashion

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers leaving High Fashion

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Meli'sa Morgan recalls auditioning to tour with Chaka Khan

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers touring with Chaka Khan

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers working with Whitney Houston and Kashif

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Meli'sa Morgan talks about the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Meli'sa Morgan recalls her decision to record 'Do Me Baby'

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers recording 'Do Me Baby'

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Meli'sa Morgan talks about the popularity of 'Do Me Baby'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers visiting Kashif's mansion in Connecticut

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers meeting Prince

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers recording 'Love Changes'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Meli'sa Morgan recalls being featured on the cover of Ebony magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers leaving Hush Productions

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Meli'sa Morgan talks about her decision to leave Capitol Records

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Meli'sa Morgan talks about the importance of business sense for recording artists

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers her first marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Meli'sa Morgan describes the advantage of hip hop music for record labels

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers working with Mary J. Blige

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers recording 'Can't Knock the Hustle' with Mary J. Blige and Jay Z

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Meli'sa Morgan talks about her work with Pendulum Records

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Meli'sa Morgan describes the perks of music remakes

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Meli'sa Morgan talks about the popularity of 'Fool's Paradise'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers signing a contract with Orpheus Music

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Meli'sa Morgan talks about the Sugar Bar in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers recording 'Sweet Baby' with Cool Million

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Meli'sa Morgan remembers the death of Whitney Houston

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Meli'sa Morgan recalls her collaboration with Full Force

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Meli'sa Morgan talks about her appearance on TV One's 'Unsung'

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Meli'sa Morgan describes the Meli'sa Morgan Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Meli'sa Morgan reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Meli'sa Morgan shares her advice to aspiring entertainers

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Meli'sa Morgan reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Meli'sa Morgan talks about her relationship with her fiance

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Meli'sa Morgan narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

8$3

DATitle
Meli'sa Morgan talks about the popularity of 'Do Me Baby'
Meli'sa Morgan talks about the popularity of 'Fool's Paradise'
Transcript
And how was it received in the public?$$Oh, it was, it was wonderful. Wow. I, I had no idea that people wanted women to be so nasty (laughter). I just had no idea. You know, and then after that, I mean, c'mon, from the Apollonia [Apollonia Kotero] to the, you know, up to the Nicki Minaj now and what they're doing now, the Lil' Kim and stuff, I mean, you know. This was light stuff, but back then, it was like, she is nasty. I want to get to know her, and I wasn't nasty at all. I was, I was totally the opposite of what they expected to me.$$How did others respond? Because, remember, you've been in this gospel group [Starlets of Corona], and, you know, folks back home. You got the okay from your daddy [John Morgan]. But how did your community respond when they heard this nasty song?$$Well, because it was so sensual and sexy the way that I did it, I don't know how the men responded. You know, I tried to stay away from that. But the women were kind of happy that, you know, somebody was expressing sensuality. Yeah. So some of the older women, you know, a little bit at first. You know, "You sang that?" Let me tell you something that's so funny. When 'Do Me Baby' came out, and it was a hit, it went number one, and Whitney was out at the same time, and she did 'You Give Good Love,' and, oh, I want to dance with somebody ['I Wanna Dance with Somebody'] everything like that. We went to New Orleans [Louisiana]. I had a show in New Orleans. On one side of the street (laughter) where the retail and everything was, they was playing Whitney Houston. (Singing), "You give good love to me, baby." On the other side of the street where the brothel was, they was, they was playing 'Do Me Baby' as loud as they can. I was like, wait a minute, here. C'mon, that's not fair (laughter). That's not fair. Why my music gotta be in the brothel and hers in the retail stores? That's not right. That's not right. I mean, I was down the street saying, that's wrong. That's so wrong. But, yeah, and I mean, and a woman was out there, you know, in her little scanty clad and, you know, dressed up, and they were blasting 'Do Me Baby.' I said, that's so wrong (laughter).$And speaking of "Fool's Paradise" 'cause we didn't talk about that. "Fool's Paradise" came out when?$$Well, "Fool's Paradise" was on the first album ['Do Me Baby'] (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Right.$$Eighty-six [1986], '87 [1987].$$And remains popular.$$That song, "Fool's Paradise" has a life of its own. I did not even know that song was a hit. I was on tour with Billy Ocean and Freddie Jackson, and we did Radio City [Radio City Music Hall, New York, New York], was coming back to New York [New York], and my BFF, Darlene [Darlene Scott], who's here. She says, "So what songs are you going to do?" I said, "I'm going to do, "Do Me Baby," "Now or Never," this, da, da, da, "Do You Still Love Me"." She says, "Girl, you got--where's "Fool's Paradise"?" I says, "What do you mean? What--where's "Fool's Paradise"?" She says, "You got to do "Fool's Paradise"." I says, "No, that's, that's just a song on the album." She said, "Where have you been, girl? "Fool's Paradise" is a hit in New York City. They're playing it like, like crazy in New York." I didn't even know. So she said, "You have to do this." So I've been on tour for like six, seven months. I don't know nothing about what's a hit or not, you know. So you have--$$So you were traveling all over where?$$All, all over the, the country. We're doing, you know, Ohio, little--Arkansas, Kansas, you know, I mean, we're just doing all kind of places.$$Are you traveling international as well?$$No, not yet, not yet.$$Okay.$$So I, I don't know even know anything about this, so I go into the office. I said, "Well, I have to do "Fool's Paradise." I gotta get the band together and do "Fool's Paradise"." Well, they told me, "Yeah, you have to do that because it's number one in Europe as well." I'm like, "What? Are you kidding me?" I'm thinking that "Do Me Baby" is still--and they're like, "No, it's "Fool's Paradise"." So we go. We do Radio City. Sold out. Me and Billy Ocean. I hit the first note of "Do Me Baby" and five thousand people jump out of their seats (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Of "Do Me Baby"?$$No, I'm sorry. Of "Fool's Paradise."$$Of "Fool's Paradise."$$Of "Fool's"--$$Right.$$--"Paradise." And five thousand people jump out of their seats and start dancing all in the audience. I'm like, what the heck? I didn't even know it was a hit. That is crazy.$$And could we hear a little "Fool's Paradise"?$$Oh, Lord. She's got me singing. (Singing), "Fool's paradise. You better think twice 'cause it's not very nice." (Laughter) Yeah.$$Thank you (laughter). Having a hit that lasts over decades.$$Oh, yeah.$$That, that has.$$Yeah.$$What does that mean for you, for your career?$$Huge, huge. That means that I can still continue. Recently, last November, I played Wembley.$$That would be in 2015.$$Twenty fifteen [2015], I opened for Patti LaBelle at Wembley Arena [SSE Arena, Wembley] in London [England] 'cause of "Fool's Paradise" and, and "Do Me Baby" because they're still hits. Yeah, so we just came from Toronto, Canada. I'm getting ready to go to South Africa. I'm getting ready to play Dominican Republic, and all of the United States. It's, it's huge because I can still work and, and be viable and make money. I've been able to open up for people like Joe and, and Ginuwine and Keith Sweat, and, you know, still Freddie Jackson and The Temptations and the Four Tops and Blue Magic and all these people because of my hits, yeah (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Um-hm, um-hm.$$So it's very viable.