Shola Ama

Last updated

Shola Ama
Birth nameShola Ama Mathurin- Campbell
Born (1979-03-08) 8 March 1979 (age 40)
London, England
Genres Soul, R&B
Years active1995–present
Associated acts

Shola Ama (born 8 March 1979) is an English singer from London, who scored her biggest hits with a cover of Turley Richards' "You Might Need Somebody" (1997) and "Still Believe" (1999) which was one of the first productions by the Norwegian producing team Stargate.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Cover version later version of a song already established with a different earlier performer

In popular music, a cover version, remake, cover song, revival, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording by someone other than the original artist or composer of a previously recorded, commercially released song.

Turley Richards is an American singer and guitarist.



At 15, Ama was singing to herself on a platform at Hammersmith tube station, and was overheard by Kwame Kwaten, a producer at the FreakStreet record label. [1] In 1995, an unknown independent label released a single titled "Celebrate", which was a ballad produced by D'Influence. Although the single was not a commercial success, it did draw attention to Shola Ama as an artist. On her 16th birthday, she signed a recording contract with WEA.

Kwame Kwaten British musician

Kwame Amankwa Kwaten is a British manager, music consultant, musician and record producer. He owns an artist management and consultancy company called Ferocious Talent and is a co-founder of Cr8ing Vision, a non-profit company that offers young people a range of educational programmes, seminars, workshops and opportunities in both the music and sport industries. Past and present artists managed by Kwaten include Laura Mvula, The Night VI, Steve Brown, Shannon Saunders and Kerry Leatham.

D'Influence is a British production team and acid jazz band. Formerly of The Echo Label they founded their own label, Freakstreet Records. Original members include Kwame Kwaten, Sarah-Ann Webb, Ed Baden-Powell, and Steve Marston.

A recording contract is a legal agreement between a record label and a recording artist, where the artist makes a record for the label to sell and promote. Artists under contract are normally only allowed to record for that label exclusively; guest appearances on other artists' records will carry a notice "By courtesy of ", and that label may receive a percentage of sales.

The single "You're the One I Love" was her first single release for WEA in 1996; it barely made an impact on the charts, only managing to reach No. 85. Her second WEA single, "You Might Need Somebody", remains her biggest hit. This Turley Richards cover reached No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart [2] in April 1997. It remained in the top 40 for almost two months, becoming one of 1997's biggest hits. A re-release of "You're the One I Love" followed in August 1997 and reached #3. [2] Her third single "Who's Loving My Baby" was released in November 1997 and reached #13. [2] At the age of 18, Shola Ama released her debut album Much Love (1997).

"You Might Need Somebody" is a 1980 song by Tom Snow and Nan O'Byrne, first recorded by American singer and guitarist Turley Richards. His version reached number 54 in the US, but the song is best known from Randy Crawford's 1981 version which was successful world wide and was critically acclaimed for its arrangement and musicianship.

UK Singles Chart British singles sales chart

The UK Singles Chart is compiled by the Official Charts Company (OCC), on behalf of the British record industry, listing the top-selling singles in the United Kingdom, based upon physical sales, paid-for downloads and streaming. The Official Chart, broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and MTV, is the UK music industry's recognised official measure of singles and albums popularity because it is the most comprehensive research panel of its kind, today surveying over 15,000 retailers and digital services daily, capturing 99.9% of all singles consumed in Britain across the week, and over 98% of albums. To be eligible for the chart, a single is currently defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as either a 'single bundle' having no more than four tracks and not lasting longer than 25 minutes or one digital audio track not longer than 15 minutes with a minimum sale price of 40 pence. The rules have changed many times as technology has developed, the most notable being the inclusion of digital downloads in 2005 and streaming in July 2014.

<i>Much Love</i> 1997 studio album by Shola Ama

Much Love is the debut album by English R&B singer Shola Ama, released in 1997 on WEA Records. The album features two UK Top 10 singles; her cover of "You Might Need Somebody" and "You're the One I Love", along with two further singles; "Who's Loving My Baby" and "Much Love". The album reached number 6 in the UK Albums Chart.

In May 1997, Shola performed her single 'You Might Need Somebody' at Wembley Stadium as part of the build-up to the rugby league Challenge Cup Final.

Rugby league Full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field

Rugby league is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field measuring 68 m wide and 112-122 m long. One of the two codes of rugby, it originated in Northern England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to players. Its rules progressively changed with the aim of producing a faster, more entertaining game for spectators.

On the success of the album, Shola Ama won a Brit Award for Best British Female and two MOBO Awards for Best Newcomer and Best R&B Act. [3]

In Return

In 1999, Shola Ama released her second album In Return. The project saw her working with the record producers Fred Jerkins III, Stargate, Shaun Labelle, Full Crew, D-Influence Productions and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (formerly of A Tribe Called Quest). Co-writers included Angie Stone and Babyface with David Foster.

Fred Jerkins III, also known as Uncle Freddie, is an American songwriter and record producer who is best known for his work with his brother Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins. Jerkins has co-written several hit songs with Rodney Jerkins and LaShawn Daniels, among them "The Boy Is Mine" by Brandy and Monica, "Say My Name" and "Lose My Breath" by Destiny's Child, "It's Not Right but It's Okay" by Whitney Houston, "Man Enough" by Toni Braxton, and multiple tracks from Michael Jackson's album Invincible. He has also produced a number of songs under the Darkchild imprint for artists such as Brandy, Shola Ama, Men Of Vizion, Keith Washington, & JoJo.

Ali Shaheed Muhammad American DJ, rapper and record producer

Ali Shaheed Muhammad is an American hip hop DJ, record producer, and rapper, best known as a member of A Tribe Called Quest. With Q-Tip and Phife Dawg, the group released six studio albums from 1990 to 2016.

A Tribe Called Quest American hip-hop group

A Tribe Called Quest was an American hip hop group formed in 1985 and originally composed of rapper and main producer Q-Tip, rapper Phife Dawg, DJ and co-producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and rapper Jarobi White, who left the group amicably in 1991. Later that year, the group released its jazz-influenced second album, The Low End Theory, regarded for helping shape alternative hip hop in the 1990s. Along with De La Soul, the group was a central part of the Native Tongues, enjoying the most commercial success out of all the groups to emerge from that collective. In 1998, the group broke up shortly before releasing its fifth album, The Love Movement, but in 2006, the group's original members reunited and toured the United States. In 2016, the group released its sixth and final album, We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service, which was still incomplete when Phife Dawg died suddenly in March 2016, and was completed by the other members after his death.

Despite having support from her record label, In Return was a commercial flop. Following this, Shola Ama took a break from recording. [4] [5]


In 2002, she went back into the recording studio to record her third album, Supersonic. Unable to obtain a major label deal, she instead formed a distribution deal with Pony Canyon.

In 2004, she featured on the track "You Should Really Know" by The Pirates, a response in song to Mario Winans' "I Don't Wanna Know" which reached #8 on the UK chart.

She also mentored her sister Sadie Ama, who signed her own recording contract and released "So Sure" (2004) and "Fallin" (2007).

Shola Ama featured as vocalist on the Perempay & Dee single "DJ Play". The song was released in October 2009 and received heavy rotation on the radio. [6] She also featured on one of rapper Giggs' songs, "Cut Above the Rest", and later featured on the bonus disc to his album, Let Em Ave It , on a song called "Blow Em Away".


In February 2010, Shola Ama joined a new collective group formed by Wiley called A-List, alongside her sister Sadie Ama and grime musicians Roll Deep, Mz. Bratt, Wrigley, Margs, Young Kye and Kivanc. [7]

Recent work

In April 2010, Shola Ama was a guest judge for a girl group on the Sky 1 television docusoap Pineapple Dance Studios alongside reality TV star Dean Rowland.[ citation needed ]

In 2013, during Black History Month in the UK, Shola Ama narrated on the show My Crazy Jamaican Life. The show featured two white girls who are associated with Jamaican men living in England. It received mixed reviews by UK viewers of all ethnicities.[ citation needed ]

In October 2015, she released a new 8 track EP featuring new reggae influenced tracks titled Surreal on Necessary Mayhem Records, 13 years after her last album Supersonic in 2002.

In April 2016, she featured on album System Killer by Frisco on the song "Rocket".



Singles (as main artist)

YearTitleChart positionsAlbum
Much Love
1996"You're the One I Love"
1997"You Might Need Somebody"
"You're the One I Love" (re-issue)
"Who's Loving My Baby"
1998"Much Love"
"Someday I'll Find You" (feat. Craig Armstrong)
Twentieth-Century Blues: The Songs of Noel Coward
1999"Still Believe"
In Return
2002"This I Promise You" (with D'Influence & D-Vas)
"Symphony" (feat. Moïse)
YearTitleChart positionsAlbum
1999"Taboo" (Glamma Kid feat. Shola Ama)
Single only
"Mai più" (Sottotono feat. Shola Ama)
Sotto lo stesso effetto
2004"You Should Really Know" (The Pirates feat. Shola Ama, Naila Boss, Ishani & Enya)
Single only
2009"DJ Play" (Perempay & Dee feat. Shola Ama)
Written in My History
"Cut Above the Rest" (Giggs feat. Shola Ama)
Single only
2010"Blow Em Away" (Giggs feat. Shola Ama)
Let Em Ave It
2011"Take It Back" (Toddla T feat. Shola Ama & J2K)
Watch Me Dance

Related Research Articles

Mary Hopkin British singer

Mary Hopkin, credited on some recordings as Mary Visconti, is a Welsh folk singer best known for her 1968 UK number one single "Those Were the Days". She was one of the first to sign to the Beatles' Apple label.

Sonia (singer) English pop singer

Sonia Evans, known mononymously as Sonia, is an English pop singer from Liverpool. She is perhaps best known for her 1989 UK number one hit "You'll Never Stop Me Loving You" and for representing the United Kingdom in the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest, where she finished second with the song "Better the Devil You Know". Between 1989 and 1993, she had 11 UK Top 30 hits, including "Listen to Your Heart" (1989), "Counting Every Minute" (1990) and "Only Fools " (1991). In 1994, she starred as Sandy in a West End revival of the musical Grease, while on television she appeared as Bunty in the 1998 BBC comedy series The Lily Savage Show.

Mark Morrison is a British R&B singer. His single, "Return of the Mack", became a No. 1 or Top 10 hit in several European countries in 1996. The song peaked at No. 2 in the United States the following year.

Alison Moira Clarkson, better known as Betty Boo, is an English singer, songwriter and pop-rap artist. She first came to mainstream prominence in the late 1980s following a collaboration with the Beatmasters on the song "Hey DJ/I Can't Dance ". Between 1990 and 1992 she had a successful solo career, which spawned a number of chart-placing singles, most notably "Doin' the Do", "Where Are You Baby?", and "Let Me Take You There".

Eternal (group) English R&B girl group

Eternal were a British R&B girl group formed in 1992 with the line-up consisting of Easther Bennett and her older sister Vernie Bennett, with Kéllé Bryan and her friend and classmate Louise Nurding, who were also recruited into the group by the label. The group became an international success, selling around 10 million records worldwide. Louise Redknapp left the group after the release of their debut album to focus on her solo career with the same label. Kéllé Bryan left the group under undisclosed circumstances. Sisters Easther Bennett and Vernie Bennett were the only members left when they disbanded in 2000. Eternal made a brief comeback in 2013, with Kéllé Bryan returning to the group, only for the group to disband once again in 2014. They were considered the UK's answer to the American girl group En Vogue.

Adeva is an American singer. She had a string of successful house and R&B hits in the late 1980s to early 1990s, including "Warning", "I Thank You" and "Respect".

Tasmin Archer is an English pop singer. Her first album, Great Expectations, spawned the hit "Sleeping Satellite," which reached number one in the United Kingdom and Ireland. She won the Brit Award for British Breakthrough Act in 1993 and went on to release other albums.

Jamie ONeal Australian singer

Jamie O'Neal is an Australian country singer and songwriter.

Estelle (musician) singer-songwriter

Estelle Fanta Swaray is a British singer, songwriter, rapper, record producer, and actress from West London, England. Estelle is known for her eclectic mix of various musical genres including R&B, soul, reggae, grime, hip hop and dance. She has experienced mainstream success with the single "American Boy" featuring Kanye West, reaching number 1 in the United Kingdom, and her collaboration with David Guetta in "One Love".

Sabrina Washington British singer

Sabrina Fredrica Washington is an English singer, songwriter, dancer and television personality who originally rose to fame as the lead singer of British garage/R&B girl group, Mis-Teeq.

Hinda Hicks is a Tunisian-born singer, with British nationality having moved to West Sussex as a child.

Raghav Canadian singer

Raghav Mathur, known professionally as Raghav, is a Canadian singer/songwriter. He has released three studio albums: the debut Storyteller in 2004, Identity in 2009 and The Phoenix in 2012. His most known commercial success was with "Angel Eyes" which peaked at number 7 in the UK in 2005. His singles "So Confused", "Can't Get Enough" and "It Can't Be Right" also reached the UK top ten in 2004. Raghav continues to have success on Canadian charts in 2010s with subsequent hits like "So Much" with Kardinal Offishall, "Fire", "Top of the World", "Woohoo" and "Until the Sun Comes Up" (featuring Indian actor Abhishek Bachchan and US artist Nelly.

Sadie Ama is an English R&B singer who grew up in Kilburn, London. She is best known for featuring on the Tom Zanetti track "You Want Me", which peaked at number #22 on the UK Singles Chart. Sadie stated in 2005 that Aaliyah and her sister Shola Ama were both her inspirations.

<i>G-A-Y</i> (album) 2000 compilation album

G-A-Y was a 40-track compilation album which was released by London Records in the UK on Monday 3 July 2000. The album featured songs by 40 different artists who had appeared at London club G-A-Y, and was released on CD and cassette.

Desirée Annette "Des’ree" Weekes, known by her stage name Des'ree, is a British R&B recording artist who rose to popularity during the 1990s. She is well known for her hits: "Feel So High", "You Gotta Be", "Life", and "Kissing You". At the 1999 Brit Awards she received the Brit Award for Best British female solo artist.

Katy B British singer-songwriter

Kathleen Anne Brien is an English singer and songwriter. She released her debut studio album, On a Mission, in 2011, which spawned two top five hits, "Katy on a Mission" and "Lights On". In 2014 she released her second studio album, Little Red, which produced her third top five hit, "Crying for No Reason". She was nominated for the 2011 Mercury Prize.


  1. Callan, Jessica (12 December 1998). "Dream comes true for Shola". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 4 September 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Brown, Tony; Neil Warwick; Jon Kutner (2004). The Complete Book of the British Charts: Singles and Albums. London: Omnibus Press. p. 63. ISBN   1-84449-058-0.
  3. . Retrieved 6 February 2011.Missing or empty |title= (help)[ dead link ]
  4. "Ama ruined by cocaine". 21 July 2004. Archived from the original on 1 July 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008.
  5. "R&B singer tells of cocaine fight". BBC News. 20 July 2004. Archived from the original on 1 July 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008.
  6. "Perempay & Dee feat. Shola Ama – DJ Play". Buzzin Electronic Music. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  7. "Westwood – Wiley introducing the A-List (Radio 1)". YouTube. 4 March 2010.
  8. 1 2 "Shola Ama Top 75 Releases". The Official Charts Company . Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  9. "Offizielle Deutsche Charts". Offizielle Deutsche Charts. Retrieved 20 January 2017.