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Sananda Maitreya, born March 15, 1962 as Terence Trent Howard in Manhattan, New York, known to childhood friends as Terry Darby, and formerly known as Terence Trent D'Arby, is an American singer-songwriter currently living in Milan, Italy. He is recognizable through his trademark voice resembling that of Sam Cooke, and the fact that, like such artists as Stevie Wonder, Todd Rundgren and Prince before him, he produces his own albums and plays most of the instruments.
A graduate of DeLand High School, Maitreya joined the army after leaving college, serving in Elvis Presley's old regiment in Germany. He was formally discharged by the army in 1985 after going absent without leave. While in Germany, he also worked with the band The Touch, releasing an album of material called Love On Time (1984). It was later re-issued in 1989 as Early Works after Maitreya's world-wide success as a solo artist. In 1986 he left Germany for London, where he briefly joined the band The Bojangels, after which he signed a solo recording deal.
His debut solo album, Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby, released in 1987, is his best-known and, in commercial terms, most successful work. The album, which produced such hits as "If You Let Me Stay," "Wishing Well," "Dance Little Sister," and "Sign Your Name," sold over a million copies in the first three days of its release, and its sales currently total over 12 million. The album also earned D'Arby a Grammy Award in March 1988 in the category Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male. In that same year, he earned a Soul Train Award nomination for Best New Artist.
Darby's follow-up was the somewhat more experimental and serious Neither Fish Nor Flesh: A Soundtrack of Love, Faith, Hope & Destruction (1989). It gathered generally hostile reviews from the critics, and was not commercially as successful as its predecessor. Nevertheless, it sold over 2 million copies.
It took four more years and a move to Los Angeles until his next project, Symphony or Damn: Exploring the Tension Inside the Sweetness (1993) was released. The record touched many of the issues that had been raised also in Neither Fish Nor Flesh, but was musically more straightforward and rock-influenced than its predecessors. It gathered favourable reviews and gained much airplay in major music stations.
In 1995 Darby released Vibrator, which largely followed Symphony or Damn in its musical direction. It was well received, but like the previous album, failed to return the artist back to the public status that he had enjoyed at the time of his first release.
During the 1990s the relations between the artist and his record label Columbia Records became strained, eventually leading to the artist's departure in 1996. This was followed by a four-year spell on Java Records, during which he recorded Terence Trent D'Arby's Solar Return, which was not released. In 2000, he bought the rights to his unreleased album and left the record company as well as his then-management-team Lippman Entertainment.
In 1999, Darby was briefly hired by INXS to replace his friend, late vocalist Michael Hutchence, so the band could play at the opening of facilities for the Sydney Olympics.
Following a series of dreams, the artist adopted the name Sananda Maitreya. His name was legally changed to that on October 4, 2001.
2001 also saw Maitreya moving back to Europe and Germany, as he resettled in Munich and started his own independent record label, Treehouse Pub. The year also marked his first album release in six years, as the unreleased Terence Trent D'Arby's Solar Return was revamped into Wildcard. The album, which received a warm critical welcome, was at first available for free through his website, and later gained also a commercial release through a one-album distribution deal with Universal Music.
In 2002 Maitreya moved to Milan, Italy, and began working on his next project, Angels & Vampires - Volume I. Rough demo versions of the songs were initially released through Weedshare, allowing the fans to get a glimpse of the work as it evolved. In July 29, 2005, the fully mastered album was finally released through his webshop utilizing the mp3 format.
In July 2005 Maitreya started working on Angels & Vampires - Volume II, he released chapter after chapter online as soon he finished recording the songs. On April 29, 2006 he released the fully finished and mastered album in his webshop.
Maitreya has appeared in two films, as well the TV mini-series Shake, Rattle and Roll where he played the part of Jackie Wilson. His music has also been included on several movie soundtracks, most notably as the theme song of 1991's Frankie and Johnny.
Sananda Maitreya was born as Terence Trent Howard. His stage name, Terence Trent D'Arby, came from taking his adoptive father's, James Benjamin Darby's, family name, and including an apostrophe. At the early years when he joined the Band The Touch he used Terence Trent Darby as his stage name without an apostrophe. The name Sananda Maitreya, on the other hand, purportedly came to the artist in a series of dreams, after which he considered it to reflect his present self better than his stage name. Said Maitreya: "After intense pain I meditated for a new spirit, a new will, a new identity."
Maitreya was featured on 'A Stronger Man', a dance single by Everything But The Girl's Ben Watt. (Buzzin' Fly BFLYCD01)
|Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby||Terence Trent D'Arby's Neither Fish Nor Flesh |
(A Soundtrack of Love, Faith, Hope & Destruction)
|Terence Trent D'Arby's Symphony or Damn* (*Exploring the Tension Inside the Sweetness)|
|Image:Angels vampires 135px.jpg|
|Terence Trent D'Arby's Vibrator||Wildcard |
Reissued in 2002 as Terence Trent D'Arby's Wildcard! - The Jokers' Edition
|Angels & Vampires - Volume I |
Only available through his Webshop
|Image:Angels vampires II 280px.jpg|
|Angels & Vampires - Volume II |
Only available through his Webshop