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Shannon (born Brenda Shannon Greene, May 2, 1958) is an American singer. She is best known for her 1983 million-selling record, “Let the Music Play”. The record re-defined the electro funk sound that Arthur Baker and John Rocca (who produced “I.O.U” by Freeez) developed in 1982, which would eventually be called freestyle music.
In the spring of 1983, Greene was enrolled at York College and toured with the New York Jazz Ensemble. Quintin Hicks, an associate of the production team of Mark Liggett and Chris Barbosa, later saw Shannon singing with a live band in her cousin’s recording studio. Shannon auditioned for Liggett and Barbosa with the song “She Can’t Love You Like I Do”. They introduced her to the track “Fire and Ice”, which would later evolve into Shannon’s signature song, “Let the Music Play”. This title would also be applied to Shannon’s debut album.
In July 1983, the “Let the Music Play” single was released and Shannon was invited back to record more songs with Liggett and Barbosa. The single reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard”s United States R&B and Hot Dance and Club Play Chart chart. Today, it is ranked #23 among Billboard’s best dance songs of all time.
Her debut album, Let the Music Play, was released in February 1984. The follow-up single from the album was “Give Me Tonight”, which hit the top spot on the Hot Dance, Club Play and R&B chart. It also became a significant hit on Urban radio. It was one of Billboard’s top 30 dance songs for the year 1985. In the U.S., the third single was “My Heart’s Divided”, another Latin freestyle track, featuring Jimmy Choo as one of the back up vocalists. “Sweet Somebody”, a mid-tempo soul effort, made the Top 20 in Europe.
Let the Music Play went on to sell over 2 million copies worldwide. Shannon was nominated for a Grammy and received numerous other awards, including the Dianah Washington (Jack the Rapper) Award, the Hall of Fame Award, the Gold Ampex Reel Award, a certified gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America, and the Best Billboard Top 10 female R&B vocalist.
In 1985, Shannon released her second album, Do You Wanna Get Away, which sported a sound similar to that of her debut album. The title track became her third #1 on the Dance charts and became her third hit on the Billboard Hot 100. She scored three more dance hits from the album, including “Stronger Together”, a cover of “Urgent” by Foreigner, and “Stop the Noise”, with a video sponsored by Pepsi and Black Angus. Her third album was 1986’s Love Goes All the Way. This album was not as successful as her previous LPs. Shannon was Executive Producer against all odds.
Shannon asked to be released from her recording contract with Atlantic Records in 1987. She recorded soundtracks and jingles, Criminal”, for the movie Fatal Beauty and budweiser . While touring the world, Shannon attended and graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.
In the late 1990s interest in Shannon rekindled, when VH1 spotlighted her on their One Hit Wonders series. Entertainment Tonight also taped a special about her life. In 1998, she co-wrote and sang on multi tracks produced by Todd Terri, Tony Moran, Germany’s Sash Les Rythmes Digitales Les Rythmes Digitales
In 1999, Shannon released her fourth studio album, The Best Is Yet to Come, on which she is credited as 50% writer of the album (contracted by BMG). Chris Barbosa was invited back as a producer, along with Andy “Panda” Tripoli and Tony Moran. A greatest hits album was released in November 2004 without Shannon’s knowledge and agreement.
On April 20, 2006, Shannon participated in the Freestyle Extranvaganza concert along with Judy Torres, George Lamond, Cynthia, Lisette Melendez, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, The Cover Girls, Hanson and Davis, Coro, and Stevie B.. The event was sponsored by WKTU, WSKQ, and WCAA in New York.
A fifth studio album, “A Beauty Returns”, was released in 2007 without the knowledge and agreement of Shannon.
Today Shannon is a voting member of the Grammy’s (Recording Academy) touring the world (Kuwait, Badghdad and Iraq) with the US Soldiers. She is also in the studio working on new hits for the year 2010.