In the fall of 1991, Shanice released “I Love Your Smile,” a single that peaked at No. 2 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the U.K. Singles Chart. Unfortunately, not many people know what happened to this extremely talented 5-octave range 11-year-old.
On the television show, Junior Star Search, Shanice performed “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and thus won a $5,000 label deal with A&M. When she switched to Motown label, she teamed up with Narada Michael Walden, who originated the music for her pop hit on her Inner Child album, “I Love Your Smile,” which became a No. 1 hit in 22 countries, along with a popular duet with Johnny Grill, “Silent Prayer.”
Executives at Motown believed Shanice needed a more urban image and thus recruited hip-hop producers for her second album with the label, “21 ... Ways to Grow.” The album panned, with the exception of a handful of singles, like “Somewhere,” which reached No. 28 on the R&B charts and “Turn Down the Lights,” which got to No. 21 on the R&B charts. Her last studio self-titled album featured the hit “When I Close My Eyes.” In between touring, Shanice even became the first African-American actress to play Éponine in Les Miserables on Broadway.
She would then marry actor-comedian Flex Alexander, one of her best friends and when she was five months pregnant, she would receive a call that changed her life for the worse: Motown said it was dropping her from the label.
Shanice’s road to recovery from depression, bankruptcy, losing her home, etc. was a long and arduous one and bless her heart for making things go right to come all the way back and release a single, “Breakdown,” on iTunes.
However, the biggest mystery lay in why she was dropped by Motown in the first place. Maybe she was “too” talented and labels had a rough time figuring out where to direct her image and music? We DEFINITELY know that it was not due to lack of talent. In fact, Babyface stated, “Her capabilities were much older and you didn’t know exactly what to write for her because she could sing much more than a kid could do.”
Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds is currently also a mentor at Isina.com, where he continues what can best be described as a passion for helping others discover their true talent potential.Get started