Mica Paris chats to Jackie Brambles on her Greatest Hits Radio show tonight (Tuesday) ahead of their appearance on the London Palladium stage together at this Friday’s very special Greatest Hits Live show. The 80s soul legend talks about playing footsie with Whitney Houston, how Prince launched her career and why she was so bad at Strictly Come Dancing.
Jackie asks Mica about her break in the music business and meeting Whitney Houston: ‘There’s no way I would have got signed if Whitney Houston not been blowing up the charts at that time. The UK was looking for their own Whitney and that’s why I got signed, because really I’m a church singer - you can hear that gospel. Whitney and I first met in Germany when we did a TV show together, both just kids, and she had so many bodyguards whilst I was sat there with just one A&R guy and I remember going ‘why don’t I have that?!’
But she was lovely and asked me out for dinner but we were chatting away and she was playing footsie under the table. I’ve never said it, but I think she had a little crush on me and to be honest I was a bit intimidated by it. I wasn’t used to that – I'd just come out of the church. But she was a really good person and sometimes I sit down and I think I’m so grateful I’m still here…’
Mica on how Prince gave her her big break: ‘I hadn’t released a record but Prince had heard from someone about me - one of the guys from Aswad I found out years later – and called to invite me to an after-show gig he was doing in Camden. I literally couldn’t feel my feet touch the ground as I had grown up listening to him, even though I used to have to hide his records under my bed because my grandparents were Pentecostal Ministers and we weren’t allowed to have that kind of music in the house.
At the gig I took the mic and sang Just My Imagination and the next day we were in all the papers and then My One Temptation came out and I really think that Prince played a massive part in that song being such a big hit. Strangely the last time I saw him was at another gig at Camden Palace about four months before he died - and he looked so different . I was shocked that he was so thin and I knew something wasn’t right but I didn’t think that we were going to lose him.’
Mica on her short-lived Strictly Come Dancing appearance back in 2007: ‘I was shocking at Strictly, I was so bad at that show – second out that’s how bad I was! Thank God it was so long ago no one remembers. The trouble is I come from the 80s and in our time everyone did the dancing for us! All I did was stand there with the wind machine going and that was dancing in the 80s! In my head I thought ‘I can do this, I’ll be fine’ but I was a mess. Even my dad called me up and said; ‘you know Mica, you have an amazing voice you’re very talented but don’t dance’.
My Strictly pro Ian [Waite, her professional dance partner on the show] was great, he was fabulous, but I was begging him not to lift me up as I’d only had a baby seven months before doing the show. It was great for getting back in shape though...’
Listen to Mica Paris chat to Jackie Brambles tonight on Greatest Hits Radio from 7pm.