Best know as the voice behind the classic Mtume slow jam “Juicy Fruit”, that song is actually just the tip of the musical iceberg for Tawatha. In a career that now spans almost three decades, she has worked with everyone from Aretha Franklin, Lenny Kravitz and Luther Vandross to David Bowie and the Dave Matthews Band. Moreover, she has become a recurring presence both in the studio and on the stage, singing on numerous TV and radio jingles and even hired other vocalists for recording sessions. She is a primary “go-to” person. In the music business this is known as the Vocal Contractor… Read more
Tawatha Agee was born in Pittsburgh -not in Philadelphia, as many sources claim. “I’m from Pittsburgh but I grew up in Newark, New Jersey, surrounded by music,” she says. “I sang in my choir and played piano at the local church.” She later attended Arts High School in Newark and then Howard University, where she majored in music education. During her senior year at Howard, Tawatha met the noted producer and musician James Mtume and his partner Reggie Lucas. “They had just come off the road with Miles Davis and Roberta Flack and were looking for a group to produce,” she remembers. Tawatha was a part of that original group, which also included folks like Angela Winbush and gospel artist Richard Smallwood. An audition for CBS Records didn’t work out, but she and James Mtume stayed in touch and then he put the Mtume Band together.
Mtume enjoyed a smash hit with the title track of their 1983 album “Juicy Fruit”, which featured Tawatha’s sultry lead vocals and occupied the #1 spot on the Billboard R&B charts for an incredible eight weeks. All these years later, “Juicy Fruit” still turns up on compilations and urban radio and is one of the most sampled songs in all of Hip Hop – most notably Biggie Smalls mega hit “Juicy”.
Mtume’s next album, 1984’s “You, Me, and He”, also produced a hit with its title track. The song “You, Me, and He” reached #2 on the R&B chart. In 1986, Tawatha recorded her first solo album, “Welcome to My Dream”.
Biography and interview courtesy of Angelo A. Ellerbee at Double XXposure Media Relations
01 – Dr Dru & Adana Twins – Juicy Fruit (Snippet, 2012)
02 – Mtume – Juicy Fruit (Juicy Fruit, 1983)
03 – Mtume – So You Wanna Be A Star (Snippet) (In Search Of The Rainbow Seekers, 1980)
04 – Chris Brown – Juicy Booty (feat. Jhené Aiko and R. Kelly) (Heartbreak On A Full Moon, 2017)
05 – Mtume – Prime Time (You, Me and He, 1984)
06 – Mtume – Breathless (Theater Of The Mind, 1986)
07 – Tawatha – Thigh Ride (Welcome To My Dream, 1987)
08 – Aeroplane (feat. Tawatha Agee) – Love On Hold (Single, 2017)
Background music during the interview:
Dr Dru & Adana Twins – Juicy Fruit, Mtume – Kiss The World Goodbye, Mtume – So You Wanna Be A Star, Mtume – The After 6 Mix (Juicy Fruit Part II), Mtume – Green Light, Mtume – You, Me and He, Mtume – P.O.P. Generation, Tawatha – Did I Dream You, Tawatha – Welcome To My Dream