She has performed on two number one singles, co-written a variety of hits, and boasts Quincy Jones as a mentor. Working with everyone from Michael Jackson to Sergio Mendes, she has enjoyed a stellar career as a singer and songwriter since the early 1980s. Yet she remains unfairly obscure, an artist that most people know by voice, but not by name. Due to her vast accomplishments, Siedah Garrett deserves a prominent place in modern R&B and pop.
As she told SingersRoom.com in 2008, her career began after Jones signed her to a deal with his label Qwest. First performing in a Jones-created group, Deco, Garrett began writing songs after being forced to sign a publishing deal. Her big break arrived in 1984, when she sang on Dennis Edwards' classic jam "Don't Look Any Further." After achieving this success on the R&B charts, she scored another opportunity by working with Jackson on his album Bad. Along with her collaborator Glen Ballard (who went on to work with Alanis Morissette on her breakout disc Jagged Little Pill), she submitted a song for Jackson's consideration: "Man in the Mirror." Her soulful performance on the demo won over Jackson and Jones, and the track became one of the biggest hits of Jackson's career. In addition, she duetted with him on "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," another number one single.
While Garrett had clearly achieved songwriting success, she also attracted attention as a performer. In 1987 she sang on "Ever Changing Times," a Burt Bacharach, Carol Bayer Sager, and Bill Conti composition, for the Diane Keaton film Baby Boom. The accompanying video earned frequent rotation on VH1, and now serves as a time capsule of the 1980s working woman. Garrett's expressive voice effectively captures the lead character's struggle maintaining her career and motherhood. When she sings lyrics such as "Caught in between, it comes back to/You and me running out of time, got to find me a better understanding/Every day I keep forgetting what's mine/Got to find me a way less demanding," the listener can sense her torment. Aretha Franklin and Michael McDonald covered "Ever Changing Times" in 1991, but they did not quite capture the deep emotion of the original. The following year Garrett released a solo album, Kiss of Life, which spawned the single "K.I.S.S.I.N.G." Unfortunately the album met with modest success, reaching number 41 on the Billboard R&B charts.