Tanita Tikaram emerged as an extraordinary proposition in 1988. With her husky voice and drab clothes, the 19 year old tricked the world into liking her with the jolly "Good Tradition" before unleashing lots of dull songs on the charts.
She was born in Germany but it's less well-known that she was actually raised in Basingstoke, as perhaps this would have made Eastern-sounding songs like the musky, mystical "Twist in my Sobriety" seem slightly less exotic.
On the back of the rousing and great "Good Tradition", which went Top 10, and the dreary-but-still-somehow-fantastic "Twist in My Sobriety", Tanita's album "Ancient Heart" sold 4 million copies and featured the song "Poor Cow". Alas, the hits then dried up and "Cathedral Song" flopped, maybe due to its less-than-exciting sounding title. What next, "Museum Song"? "Library Song"?
In 1994 she performed a cameo in hit lesbian film "Erotique". She played a woman who walks in on two fanny feelers.
Tanita banged out lots more albums in the 1990's but none of them sold as well as her debut - "The Sweet Keeper" (1990), "Everybody's Angel" (1991) and "Eleven Kinds of Loneliness" (1992) were followed by "Lovers In The City" (1995). Meanwhile the BBC commissioned her to set the poems of a lost person called Stevie Smith to music, which must at least have passed the time.
But the moody mite wasn't happy - after her initial flush of success, nobody knew who she was, and "Hot Pork Sandwiches" had failed to become a hit single. "I had reached the point where I wasn't having much fun. A friend told me I needed to rediscover my sense of play." she says, fascinatingly.
In 1996 a "Greatest Hits" was released as a stop-gap, featuring all the biggest songs from her career including "Good Tradition", "Twist in my Sobriety" (twice) and "Happy Taxi".
In 1998 she attempted a comeback and hooked up with highly respected producer Marco Sabiu, famed for his work with Kylie and Dubstar. "The Cappucino Songs" was born, featuring a Finnish String Quartet and a "spooky, electro" version of "The Day Before You Came" by Abba. Amazon commented: "by this stage the bus had well and truly left". Poor Cow.
Tanita is back back back! In 2005 she released "Sentimental", featuring lots of "beguiling and rewarding" new songs (it says here). It was released on Naieve Records.
Her MySpace page scores something of a misfire by noting that she has "faded into obscurity" (talk her up, why don't you!)
Tanita's entire back catalogue is available on Amazon Marketplace for the price of two bottles of Aftersun. The new album is probably on the Internet somewhere.