Every inch regal, mega talented and in a class of her own, American singer-songwriter, Broadway star and film actress, Phyllis Hyman captivated audiences during the late 1970s through the early 1990s with her husky voice, soulful lyrics and mesmerizing beauty.
Versatile, timeless and gifted singer of rhythm and blues, jazz, and popular music, she thrilled souls around the world with her powerful performances.
Best known for her singles from the late 1970s through the early 1990s including: You Know How to Love Me, Living All Alone, and Don’t Wanna Change the World, Phyllis Hyman was pure magic, her every delivery bubbling with emotions and contagious energy. Unequalled by many talents in today’s music industry.
As an actress, Hyman made her film debut in 1974 in the film titled – Lenny, going on to star in other movies such as: Too Scared to Scream (1985), Spike Lee’s School Daze (1988), and The Kill Reflex (1989).
Born in Philadelphia in 1949 (and raised in Pittsburgh), the star kicked off her career in entertainment after she received a music scholarship to attend Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. A year later, she dropped out and instead opted for performing on a national tour with the group, New Direction.
In 1975 Norman Connors was laying tracks for You Are My Starship and had heard about Phyllis Hyman, who was working at a club on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the duo met one night after a Jon Lucien concert at Carnegie Hall, where he watched Hyman perform. Impressed he offered her a spot as the female vocalist on his fourth album for Buddah Records. You Are My Starship went gold, launching Phyllis to stardom and taking Norman to even greater heights.
Hyman continued to rise and establish footing in the music scene. 1991 saw the release of her album, Prime of My Life, on Philadelphia International – it was the biggest hit of her career. It included her first number-one R&B hit as well as her first Billboard Top 100 hit, “Don’t Wanna Change the World”. The album provided two more top 10 R&B singles in “Living in Confusion” and “When You Get Right Down to It”.
Prime of My Life has sold 454,000 copies to date. The album and debut single were both RIAA certified Gold in 1992.
But alas, at her creative peak, Hyman battled depression. Alcohol dependency, weight gain and the fear of losing her beauty troubled her greatly.
June 30, 1995, just a week before she would have turned 46 and barely hours before a scheduled performance at the Apollo Theater in New York, Phyllis’ lifeless body was found in her apartment; she had taken an overdose of sleeping pills and left a suicide note, explaining she was tired.
Although Hyman bagged a Tony and a Theatre award, she never truly got the recognition she richly deserved.