Shirley Brown was born in West Memphis, Arkansas, in January 6, 1947, and later moved with her family to St. Louis, Missouri. There she started to sing in a Baptist church in St Louis, Missouri at the age of 10. Shirley delivered a Gospel song with such power and emotion that it earned her credentials as a solo vocal artist throughout the city of St. Louis. Then in her late teens she focused more on secular music and sang with many of the city's soul singers. Then finally she found Oliver Sain who helped her record some songs like "I Ain't Gonna Tell" and "Love is Built on a Strong Foundation" which only made it locally, not nationally. However, these songs were noticed by blues musician Albert King who then became her manager.
King negotiated a recording deal with Stax Records in Memphis and gained Brown national attention with the hit "Woman to Woman", taken from the 1974 album of the same name. Once there, she began to audition a song with the Bar Kays, but was cut short by Stax impresario Jim Stewart. Shirley said of the event, "Jim was quite excited. He wanted to sign me and wouldn't even let us finish the song!" It was at Stax that Brown recorded the song that she will forever be remembered, Woman To Woman. One year later, 1975, Stax folded and a bemused Brown searched for another label. In 1977, Brown found Arista Records where she stayed until 1979. But it was in 1989, that Shirley Brown found her home at Malaco Records.
In 1989, four years after her last album "Intimate Storm", Brown came out with a comeback album Fire & Ice which reached #66 on the U.S. R&B charts, in this album she had one of her hit single songs Ain't Nothin' Like The Lovin' We Got which peaked at #46 on the U.S. R&B charts. It wasn't as big as her first album, but it was more successful than her more recent recordings.
Then she came out with her other big hit albums such as Timeless and Diva of Soul. The Timeless made #63 on the U.S. R&B charts, and Diva of Soul made #67 on the U.S. R&B it also had a single that made it on to #80 on the U.S. R&B charts. Since then she has come out with albums such as The Soul of a Woman and Three Way Love Affair.
Shirley Brown will always be remembered for her highly acclaimed million seller-Grammy nominated hit "Woman To Woman". This songstress has managed to survive the changes and fads of the ever changing and competitive music industry.
Shirley Brown and Malaco Records have been a winning combination for the past ten years. The secret to Shirley's success is her almost operatically big, voice. She describes her voice as "Music from the heart." If given the chance, one must witness Shirley Brown at a live performance. She carries such an uncanny ability to carry an audience through a wide range of emotions from song to song.
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