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  Terence Trent D'Arby
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One of the most talented performers of the last twenty years, Terence Trent D'Arby remains an enigma to the vast majority of fans who proclaimed him the next great soul man in the wake of his dazzling debut Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D'Arby.  

Born in Florida, D'Arby enlisted in the Army at the age of 18 and eventually found himself in Germany.  It was during this time that he began performing with a group called Touch; they released one EP in 1984.  

D'Arby moved to England and was signed to Columbia in 1986.  He began generating attention for his marvelous voice, reminiscent of Sam Cooke, and frenetic live shows, which were equal parts Prince, Jackie Wilson, and Mick Jagger. The promise of all these influences was realized in full when Hardline sold 12 million copies worldwide on the strength of the singles "Sign Your Name," "Wishing Well," and "If You Let Me Stay." It stands as one of the definitive soul albums of its time. 

As his fame grew, D'Arby took to adopting an outrageous persona that included everything from posing as a Christ figure for a magazine to insisting his future music would be the equal of the Beatles.  While these antics (which he later stated were not meant to be taken seriously) certainly kept him in the spotlight, the flipside was the beginning of a backlash by a segment of the media and music industry that seemingly could not wait to see him fail.  

An example of this was the reception given to the ambitious Neither Fish Nor Flesh project.  The album contained the gorgeous ballad "To Know Someone Deeply Is To Know Someone Softly" and one of the first songs to address AIDS in "Billy Don't Fall."   This was also the record where D'Arby began to showcase his versatility by playing a majority of the instruments. None of the songs were hits on the level of Hardline's singles, but powered by the album cuts "This Side Of Love" and "I'll Be Alright," Neither Fish Nor Flesh sold an impressive two million copies. Yet this album is often portrayed as a failure.  

1993's Symphony Or Damn was another uniformly strong work that had the additional bonus of returning him to the singles chart with "Delicate," a duet with Des'Ree. Other highlights were the country-tinged "I Still Love You" and rollicking "She Kissed Me."  Vibrator completed his obligations to Columbia and thus began a  journey into the tricky politics of labels that stalled his career for a good five years. 

In the late 1990s, D'Arby was signed as the flagship artist to Java Records, a would-be subsidiary of Capitol. But as time moved on, the label never got established.  Subsequently, the album that he had intended to be his return to glory, Terence Trent D'Arby's Soular Return, was not released.   

D'Arby, always an individualist who felt restricted by the machinations of the record industry, finally moved towards complete independence after moving to Germany in 2001.  After buying the rights to his scrapped album, he was one of the first major artists to utilize the Internet, giving Soular Return the new title Wild Card and allowing fans to download it for free for a number of months prior to an official pressing later in the year.  He has continued to develop his online presence,  frequently posting commentary in addition to live and collectable songs on his site.

2001 was also the year that D'Arby changed his name to Sananda Maitreya, a result of his desire for a new identity.  He has since distanced himself from the D'Arby name. As often happens when a black artist expresses self-determination, he was widely ridiculed for this move, and has been largely marginalized although his music retains the soul/rock fusion that made him so popular and other artists are praised for shifting their base of operations to the Internet. His latest set, Angels and Vampires, set a new standard for innovation by being released online in sections as Maitreya completed them.

You can visit him at http://www.sanandamaitreya.com

Terence Trent D'Arby's Deepest Grooves

Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D'Arby (Columbia, 1987) 

Neither Fish nor Flesh (Columbia, 1989)

Symphony Or Damn (Columbia, 1993)

TTD's Vibrator (Columbia, 1995)

Wild Card (Sananda Records, 2001)

Wild Card (Jokers Edition) (Sananda Records, 2002)
The difference between this and the original issue is a different track listing and 4 additional songs. 

Angels and Vampires Volume I (Sananda Records, 2004-2005)

Angels and Vampires Volume II (Sananda Records, 2005-2006)

Do You Love Me Like You Say : The Very Best Of (Sony, 2006)
Good overview of the Columbia years, which will satisfy most fans.  This is essentially a US version of the more comprehensive Greatest Hits set, which includes a second disc of live material and rarities.  Hardcore fans are advised to seek out the import. 
  

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