August 28, 2017 – Melissa Bell (Soul II Soul) was born Melissa Cecelia Ewen Bell on March 5, 1964 in London, England. Her Jamaican heritage included musical pedigree. From the age of four, music filled every corner of Melissa’s life: she could play the piano, was constantly singing, and even ran her own “radio station” from the upstairs window of the house, calling out to passers-by and begging them to stop and listen. It was when Melissa saw the 14-year-old Lena Zavaroni performing on Opportunity Knocks that she knew her life’s dream was to be a singer. Her break in the music world came when she was spotted at a talent show at the Hackney Empire.
After high school she started working at the famous London retailer Marks and Spencer, while venturing out into the London music scene with appearances on various records by London performers.
In 1992 she released her debut single “Reconsider” which received major airplay and led to another single, titled “Crystal Clear”.
In 1993, Bell joined British Grammy Winning musical group Soul II Soul after Jazzie B heard her single “Reconsider” and asked her to join the group. She recorded a single called “Wish”, which was released on their greatest hits album Volume IV The Classic Singles 88–93 in 1993. The single peaked at number 24 on the UK Singles Chart. The success of the song invited her to perform the song on Top of the Pops. She continued to record and tour with the group as one of their featured singers. In 1995, she performed lead vocals on the song “Be a Man” on their fourth studio album Volume V: Believe. In 1996, she departed from the group to continue her solo career.
In 1997, Bell released four singles “Rumbled Sex”, “Surrender”, “Mixed Up”, and “Nothing Gonna Stop Me Now”; which featured Potential Bad Boy. In 1999, she formed a new soul band called Soul Explosion. In 2000, she released two singles “Into My World” and “Love’s in Need of Love Today” with a group called Dazz. In 2002, she released another single “(No More) Searching”.
In June 2010, she released her autobiography Heart and Soul: The Emotional Autobiography of Melissa Bell.
Her daughter, former U.K. X Factor winner and TV personality Alexandra Burke, confirmed her mother’s passing on Twitter with the following message:
It is with the heaviest and saddest of hearts that the family inform you our beautiful, funny and loving mum, Melissa Bell has passed away.
Our beautiful mother gained her wings on Monday 28th August 2017, a day that has changed our lives forever. We will never forget her unconditional love, support, charisma, strength and courage throughout her life. We are eternally proud & thankful to call her our mummy.
Melissa Bell who died aged 53 on August 28, 2017 also worked during her career with Whitney Houston, Liza Minelli and Stevie Wonder.