Shola Ama

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Shola Ama
Birth nameShola Ama Mathurin- Campbell
Born (1979-03-08) 8 March 1979 (age 40)
London, England
Genres R&B, soul, garage
Years active1995–present
Associated actsA-List, Craig David, Devlin, Giggs, Mz. Bratt, Sadie Ama, Toddla T, Wiley Bugzy Malone

Shola Ama (born 8 March 1979) is an English R&B 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.

Contemporary R&B is a music genre that combines elements of rhythm and blues, pop, soul, funk, hip hop and electronic music.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both 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, 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.



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.

Turley Richards is an American singer and guitarist.

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.

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 team sport, code of rugby football

Rugby league football is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field. 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 collective formed in 1985 and originally composed of MC and main producer Q-Tip, MC Phife Dawg, DJ and co-producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and MC 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 band 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). [6]

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. [7] 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. [8]

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 fea. 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

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  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. "Sadie Ama". Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  7. "Perempay & Dee feat. Shola Ama – DJ Play". Buzzin Electronic Music. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  8. "Westwood – Wiley introducing the A-List (Radio 1)". YouTube. 4 March 2010.
  9. 1 2 "Shola Ama Top 75 Releases". The Official Charts Company . Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  10. "Offizielle Deutsche Charts". Offizielle Deutsche Charts. Retrieved 20 January 2017.