Classics: Taja Sevelle – Love Is Contagious (Ben Liebrand Remix) (Paisley Park)
“Love is contagious when it`s alright. Love is contagious…” As many words remaining as the one of the song of a lifetime. And, by that, I mean of Taja Sevelle‘s one who, despite an undeniable talent, never managed to generate a greater following. With the same applying to her debut-album featuring ‘Love Is Contagious’. With none of its follow-ups doin’neither any better as a matter of fact.
Despite the fact she’d signed with Paisley Park imprint, not much more would be done to her. With the label CEO – Prince – limiting himself to co-writing a majority of the songs. ‘Love Is Contagious’ being an exception though. And leavin’ the production work to other people. And, more precisely to Chico Benett for the occasion.
Originally comin’ up in a Quiet Stormy vein, ‘Love Is Contagious’ resurfaced the year after (in 1988). Meanwhile receiving some remixing treatment courtesy of Ben Liebrand that would takin’ it to a brand new level. Thus bringin’ it a friendly and classy Dance feel.
Now with the time, hearin’ Liebrand‘s approach on this has been of an influence on Stock, Aitken & Waterman‘s productions wouldn’t come as a surprise…
A native of Minneapolis, MN Nancy Richardson, whom you might better know as Taja Sevelle, made her way from a step to another. Working as a prime time music DJ and news reporter. But also singing in local Jazz and R&B bands before putting her own together. Then applying to the Berklee College of Music where she got accepted simultaneously to being offered a record deal by Prince on his Paisley Park label.
Her eponymous debut-album, which saw the light in 1987, is also her only album that featured writing input by Prince. This on ‘Wouldn’t You Love To Love Me?’ and ‘If I Could Get Your Attention’. Although Chico Benett happened to produce the whole at the end.
She remains better known for the lazy ‘Love Is Contagious’. With thanks to her outstanding vocal performance. DMC famous Dutch remixer Ben Liebrand givin’ it a classy Dance feel. With a release the year after. Although as the B-side of the Prince penned ‘Wouldn’t You Love To Love Me?’.
Among the other highlights of her debut-album, ‘Popular’. A cut that had that typical Minneapolis Dance/Funk feel one could find on Janet Jackson‘s ‘What Have You Done For Me Lately’. Meanwhile the groovy ‘Trouble Having You Near’, the opening cut to her 1991 ‘Fountains Free’ album would certainly have deserved a better recognition. With thanks to its firing remixing work courtesy of Tommy Musto.
A third album – ‘Toys Of Vanity’ – saw the light in 1997 on Epic sublabel 550 Music. But it flopped. Most likely because of a lack of precision in terms if direction. With Sevelle most likely disappearing from the radars from then.
By 2005, Taja founded the Urban Farming non-profit organization. This with the aim “to create an abundance of food for people in need by supporting and encouraging the establishment of gardens on unused land…” The organization began by planting three gardens of free food in Detroit. And there are now more than 64,000 gardens in 61 countries around the world that are part of the Urban Farming Global Food Chain®. Prince donated a portion of his perfume sales to Urban Farming and performed a benefit concert for the organization in New York City [More…]