Infinite amounts of souls have been touched by Tawatha Agee.
Though you may be unfamiliar with her name, you’re certain to have heard her voice. Singer/songwriter extraordinaire Tawatha Agee’s far-reaching musical talents, whether live or recorded, have graced a myriad of productions throughout her stellar career. Agee is a shining example of the adage that states – “variety is the spice of life.” She’s living a musically spicy life through her varied projects, covering multiple genres of music.
Best know as the voice behind the classic Mtume slow jam “Juicy Fruit”, that song is actually just the tip of the musical iceberg for Tawatha. In a career that now spans almost three decades, she has worked with everyone from Lenny Kravitz and Luther Vandross to David Bowie and the Dave Matthews Band. Moreover, she has become a recurring presence both in the studio and on the stage, singing on numerous TV and radio jingles and even hired other vocalists for recording sessions. In the music business, she is a primary “go-to” person.
Tawatha Agee was born in Pittsburgh –not in Philadelphia, as many sources claim. “I’m from Pittsburgh but I grew up in Newark, New Jersey, surrounded by music,” she says. “I sang in my choir and played piano at the local church.” She later attended Arts High School in Newark and then Howard University, where she majored in music education. During her senior year at Howard, Tawatha met the noted producer and musician James Mtume and his partner Reggie Lucas. “They had just come off the road with Miles Davis and Roberta Flack and were looking for a group to produce,” she remembers. Tawatha was a part of that original group, which also included folks like Angela Winbush and gospel artist Richard Smallwood. An audition for CBS Records didn’t work out, but she and James Mtume stayed in touch and then he put the Mtume Band together.
Mtume enjoyed a smash hit with the title track of their 1983 album “Juicy Fruit”, which featured Tawatha’s sultry lead vocals and occupied the #1 spot on the Billboard R&B charts for an incredible eight weeks. All these years later, “Juicy Fruit” still turns up on compilations and urban radio and is one of the most sampled songs in all of Hip Hop – most notably Biggie Smalls mega hit “Juicy”.
Mtume’s next album, 1984’s “You, Me, and He”, also produced a hit with its title track. The song “You, Me, and He” reached #2 on the R&B chart. In 1986, Tawatha recorded her first solo album, “Welcome to My Dream”.
Since then, Tawatha Agee has amassed a stellar array of credits which includes: