Monday, December 19, 2016

Robbed hit of the week 12/19/16 - Jaya's "If You Leave Me Now"...

"If You Leave Me Now" - Jaya
from the album Jaya (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #44

This week's "robbed hit" comes from dance music singer Jaya (Maria Ramsey), who was born in the Philippines (her mother was a local entertainment celebrity), and moved to the United States in the 80s. After singing backup for freestyle dance music king Stevie B., he helped to write and record Maria's solo album under the moniker "Jaya". The first single from the record would end up being one of the most loved and biggest-selling independent freestyle records of the decade. "If You Leave Me Now", written and produced by Stevie B. who also provided background vocals, was a frenetic call for romantic reconciliation that resonated in a lot of fans' minds (especially the women), and even without a flashy video or a major media presence, this record was everywhere in New York and Chicago radio, which was at the final months of its dance music heyday...


"If You Leave Me Now" is probably the most "robbed" of the "robbed hits" I've ever done, climbing up and down the American pop chart before peaking right under the top-40 in February of 1990. The single stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 continuously for six months (26 weeks). But its position totally underestimates the record's impact in the urban community, where black, Latino, and LGBT audiences gave the song such a following.

She would release a second single from Jaya, "One Kiss Per Minute", which did manage to become a moderate club hit at #24, but nothing would ever come close to her success with that one classic. Though her star faded in the U.S., Jaya would continue to have a successful career back in the Philippines, where she's released records and hosted TV shows.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Stevie B also recorded a version of the song more recently with him more prominently, with a female singer named Alexia backing up...


and finally, here's Jaya with a live band on a TV appearance in 2005...


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