Deborah Christine "Siedah" Garrett is an American singer and songwriter who has written songs and performed backing vocals for many recording artists in the music industry, such as Michael Jackson, The Pointer Sisters, Brand New Heavies, Quincy Jones, Tevin Campbell, Donna Summer, Madonna, Jennifer Hudson among others. Garrett has been nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Original Song, and won the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 50th Grammy Awards for co-writing "Love You I Do" for the 2006 musical film, Dreamgirls.
BiographyGarrett was born in Los Angeles and raised in Compton, where she started singing as a child. Born Deborah Christine Garrett, she opted to change her name at age 13, because of the disdain she had towards her birth name. Garrett said, "It's a pretty name but nobody called me Deborah. It was always abbreviated to Deb, Debbie, or DeeDee. I hated it". She later changed it to Siedah, which meant "shining and star-like". As a teenager, Garrett was part of a five piece band called Black Velvet & Satin Soul, which performed Top 40 hits around various clubs. Garrett's mother was an interior designer who had singer D.J. Rogers as one of her clients. Rogers heard Garrett's singing abilities and recruited her as a background vocalist on his 1977 album, Love, Music and Life.
CareerSiedah Garrett appeared as a contestant on Password Plus in 1980. Later, she joined the soul/funk outfit Plush, who released their self-titled album in 1982 on RCA Records. She soon began stepping out on her own as a solo artist. Her hits include "Don't Look Any Further" with Dennis Edwards ; "Do You Want It Right Now?" in 1985 from the Fast Forward soundtrack, which was covered by Taylor Dayne in 1988 and later covered by Armand Van Helden in 2007 under the title "I Want Your Soul"; "Everchanging Times" from the movie Baby Boom, and "K.I.S.S.I.N.G.". The latter song went to on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. In the mid-1980s, she also toured and recorded with Sergio Mendes, appearing on three of his albums.
In 1987 Garrett was involved in Michael Jackson's Bad album, singing a duet with Jackson on "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" in several different languages. She co-wrote Jackson's single "Man in the Mirror". In a 2013 interview with Luka Neskovic, Garrett said: "All I wanted to do was give Michael something he would want to say to the world, and I knew it couldn't be another 'Oh baby, I love you' song. It had to be a little bit more than that. It needed to have some substance. He hadn't recorded anything like this to that point. I was just taking the risk that he might not get it, you know. First of all, I need to send it through Quincy because if Quincy didn't like it there is no way that Michael would've ever heard it. It was a huge privilege for me when Quincy decided that the song was good enough to play for Michael."
Garrett and Jackson recorded a Spanish version of "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", titled "Todo Mi Amor Eres Tu". Also now available is a French version titled "Je Ne Veux Pas La Fin De Nous" which was also recorded during the same recording sessions for the "Bad" album. A gifted musical sight reader with perfect vocal pitch, the initial duet for "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" came as a total surprise to Garrett who simply answered the call expecting to only appear as a background vocalist. She initially felt intimidated with excitement when she entered the recording booth and noticed two music stands with sheet music that had lyric parts labeled "Michael" and "Siedah".
Garrett's association with Jackson enabled her to sing on several Quincy Jones albums of the 1980s and 1990s. Affectionately dubbed "Sid" by Quincy Jones, she co-wrote the hit songs "Tomorrow ", "Back On The Block", and "The Secret Garden ", in addition to performing lead vocals for "I Don't Go for That", "One Man Woman" and "The Places You Find Love", all on Jones' Grammy-Award-winning 1989 Back on the Block album. Garrett also toured with Michael Jackson from 1992 to 1993 on his Dangerous World Tour, singing backing vocals and duetting with him for "I Just Can't Stop Loving You". In the Dangerous album, Garrett also wrote a song "Keep the Faith" with Michael Jackson and Glen Ballard, the co-songwriter of Man in the Mirror. She appears in the concert film "Michael Jackson Live in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour".
In addition, Garrett's 1988 solo album Kiss Of Life includes "Baby's Got It Bad", a version of Jackson's "Got The Hots" with rewritten lyrics. "Got The Hots" was an unreleased track from the Thriller sessions at the time, but has since been released.
In 1989, she forayed into the acting world, starring in a TV sitcom pilot for NBC called "Wally and the Valentines" opposite William Ragsdale, Audrey Meadows, Tatyana Ali, Tevin Campbell and Cindy Herron.
In 1990, she became host of the show America's Top 10. In 1995 Garrett was also involved with Maysa Leak's solo debut album as co-writer of the track "Sexy" in which she also sang backing vocals.
In 1996 she joined the Brand New Heavies, collaborating on just one album, 1997's Shelter. As part of the band, she co-wrote their top 5 hit "Sometimes" and enjoyed a minor hit with a cover of Carole King's "You've Got A Friend". Garrett left the group in early 1998 to concentrate on her own songwriting. In 1997, she wrote "Be Good or Be Gone" for Edyta Górniak.
Garrett supported Madonna as a backing singer and dancer on The Re-Invention Tour in 2004. Garrett's professional involvement with Madonna goes back some years as she previously supplied backing vocals on some of Madonna's earlier material including True Blue, and Who's That Girl.
In 2006, Garrett contributed her songwriting services to Bill Condon's film adaptation of Dreamgirls, providing lyrics for two of the four new songs added to the score. One of her compositions, the Jennifer Hudson solo "Love You I Do", earned Garrett a nomination for the 2007 Academy Award for Best Original Song. At the 50th Grammy Awards Garrett along with Henry Krieger won the Grammy for Best Song-Motion Picture TV, Visual Media for "Love You I Do".
She represented America in the opening ceremony of 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games singing the song "I Know I Can", and in the opening ceremony of Expo 2010 Shanghai China, singing the song "Better City, Better Life" with Jonathan Buck, both songs which she co-wrote with Quincy Jones.
Garrett co-wrote four songs for the 2011 film Rio, where she is also a featured artist on the soundtrack on the song "Funky Monkey". The song "Real In Rio" was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song.
In 2011, she appeared on American Idol singing with contestants Haley Reinhart, and most notably Jacob Lusk, with whom she sang her song "Man in the Mirror".
Garrett's single "Keep On Lovin' You", a tribute to Michael Jackson and an answer to their duet IJCSLY, was made available on iTunes September 11, 2012.
In 2014, Garrett was invited by producer Gerry Gallagher to record with Latin rock legends El Chicano as well as Alphonse Mouzon, Brian Auger, Alex Ligertwood, Ray Parker Jr., Vikki Carr, David Paich, Spencer Davis, Lenny Castro, Jessy J, Marcos J. Reyes, Salvador Santana, Walfredo Reyes Jr., Pete Escovedo and Peter Michael Escovedo and she is featured on vocals with David Paich on Gallagher's arrangement and remake of the Toto song "Africa" on Gallagher's most recent studio album due out in 2019.
In 2017, Garrett was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by The National R&B Music Society in Philadelphia, Pa. The award was presented to Garrett by recording artist Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge.
In 2019, Garrett attended Kingvention, the European Michael Jackson Convention which took place in Central London on September 21, 2019. Garrett spoke about her time with Michael Jackson in a live interview with Pez Jax and performed "Man In The Mirror".
Personal lifeShe announced that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when performing at the "Race To Erase MS" event in 2017.
- Kiss of Life
Brand New Heavies albums
- "Supernatural Love"
- "There Goes My Baby"
- "Fine Fine Fella "
- "The Collector"
- "Love Rusts"
- "Baby Love"
- "Prove Me Right"
- "Love Goes All The Way"
- "The Flat Horizon"
- "This Is This"
- "Face the Face"
- "Jungle Stuff"
- "Papa, Don't Preach"
- "Where's the Party"
- "True Blue"
- "La Isla Bonita"
- "Love Makes The World Go Round"
- "What I Like"
- "Your Smile"
- "Man in the Mirror"
- "Each Time You Break My Heart"
- "Right Out of My Head"
- "Crimes of Passion"
- "The Night of Van Gogh"
- "The Places You Find Love"
- "Best of Times"
- "Peace of Mind"
- "Kiss Me the Way You Did Last Night"
- "The Secret Garden"
- "Higher Than High"
- "The Best Man"
- "What He Has"
- "Do You Love As Good As You Look"
- "Tell Me"
- "Commitment Of The Heart"
- "I Never Even Told You"
- "Love Talk to Me"
- "This Too Shall Pass"
- "Jook Joint Intro"
- "You Put a Move on My Heart"
- "What You Give You Get Back"
- "Sweet Freedom"
- "I Live For Your Love"
- "On the Way to Love"
- "The Game of Love"
- "Seasons Change"
- "Left Outside Alone"
- "Are You Man Enough? / Orange Wig Skit"
- "A Public Affair"
- "The Lover in Me"
- "Man in the Mirror"
- "Cats Without Claws"
- "One More Story"
- "Harry's Cafe De Wheels"
- "Pink Mischief"
- "Stupid Man"
- "Bête Noire"
- "I'm Going to Tell You a Secret" all tracks
- "My Promise",
Brand New Heavies singles
- "You Are the Universe"
- "You've Got a Friend"
Awards and nominations
- Grammy Award 2008 Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media – "Love You I Do" from Dreamgirls
- Academy Award: Best Original Song – "Love You I Do"
- Academy Award: Best Original Song – "Real in Rio"
- Satellite Awards: Best Original Song – "Love You I Do"