In 1999, singing songbird Shanice released her forth album and first on LaFace Records. The self-titled albums lead single was the mid-tempo single “When I Close My Eyes,” in the video Shanice and her dancers used sign language as apart of the choreography. Making it one of the best and most creative videos that year. The single reached #4 on the R&B charts and cracked the top 15 on Billboards Hot 100. On April 3rd, 1999, the single made chart history when it made the sixth biggest jump in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, moving 75 positions from number 91 to number 16.
Unfortunately, “When I Close My Eyes” would be the only official single released from that album. The follow-up single “Yesterday” was released to retail and radio, but later canceled after the video wasn’t what the label wanted to put out. That was followed-up by the release of “You Need A Man” which was later canceled as well and the video never released. No official reason has ever been given. The album as a whole is a gem to anyone that has it. Babyface, Warryn Campbell, Dallas Austin, Jazz The Man and Rashad Coes did the production on the album.
UrbanBridgez.com talked to Shanice about that release to get her thoughts on it as a whole!
UrbanBridgez.com: What do you remember being excited about the most when you started recording “Shanice?”
Shanice: The thing I was the most excited about was working with Babyface! Alot of people don’t know this but when I was 10 years old he wrote a song for me called “Personality” when I was on A&M. This was before the world knew about Babyface. I remember the demo and everything and he was singing on it, I really wanted it on the album. But when they brought in Brian Lorenz they wanted one producer for the album instead of having a bunch of different producers. I loved what Brian did with that album, he did the whole thing. But I had always wanted to work with Kenny since I was 10, so when I got signed to LaFace I was like wow, this is my time to do that. We had worked together before on “Turn Down The Lights” and the Boomerang soundtrack. But I was excited about going in with him for this album. One thing I remember is I’m a very shy person and the day I had to go in with him I was so scared to sing. Then I listened back to my vocals and was like that doesn’t sound right, I had to loosen up a little bit.
UrbanBridgez.com: How did you first find out When I Close My Eyes had broken the record for the biggest jump in Billboard History & what was your first reaction?
Shanice: I don’t remember where I was when I found out but I remember screaming and jumping up and down acting a fool (laughs). I was so excited, I mean I’ve been in the business since basically I was born. But everything is still exciting to me. Like if I hear I Love Your Smile on the radio I freak out still. I’m just thankful for everything and excited everytime something great happens for me. That was a great time!
UrbanBridgez.com: The video for When I Close My Eyes is still till this day one of the most creatively chorographed videos ever to me with the sign language and dancing mixed in. Who came up with that and was it difficult to learn?
Shanice: Thank you! Rosario McCoy and Jamal Sims (chorographers) came up with that. I thought it was amazing, I remember trying to learn it. It really wasn’t easy trying to dance and do sign language.
But they were patient with me and we just went over it and over it and I finally got it. Then when we started doing it live, they added blind-folds. So not only did we do sign language but we blind-folded ourselves. And we were actually blind-folded like we couldn’t see, like we could see our feet just a little bit but not much. So we was really taking a chance out there. It was fun, a really, really good time.
UrbanBridgez.com: If you had your choice which song would of been released that wasn’t?
Shanice: Fall For You would of been released! We never got a chance to release it or shoot a video. Also Yesterday definitely would of. I mean we shot a video but they never released it. I mean was Yesterday a single?
UrbanBridgez.com: Yeah they put it out, but later canceled it.
Shanice: Yeah, that’s right, they just kind of threw it out there (laughs). So yeah I really wish Yesterday would of gotten more of a push and we would of released the video. That was one of my favorite songs on the album. Oh and Fly Away, I really wish that would of been released!
UrbanBridgez.com: You and Babyface created some magic on that album and word is he’s one of the producers on the new album, can you tell fans a little about the new magic you two have created?
Shanice: We just started back working together, so right now it’s kind of hard to say what the sound is going to be. But I was just in with him and helping him with this Barbra Streisand project he’s working on. It was really cool, me and Kenny use to do alot of backgrounds together. If you listen to alot of those records he use to produce, he would bring me in on the backgrounds and together our blend is really cool. So on the Barbra Streisand project, he brought me in to sing with him and while we were doing that he said I want to work with you again, I want us to do this. I said yes, I’m ready (laughs)! So we actually just started, so it’s still early to tell what it’s going to be. But I’m excited!