King was born in Spanish Town, in St. Catherine's Parish, not far
from Kingston, one of 15 children. She grew up singing hymns in
the St. Phillipo Baptist Church, listening to Aretha Franklin and
all those R&B singers (there were not many female Jamaican
reggae singers). However her devoutly religious family disapproved
of pop music and when she was just 13 Diana ran away from home.
Taking a bus to Ocho Rios, she got a singing job that same night
in a hotel band.
different hotels, she sang R&B, pop, house etc. But, because
they were for tourists, some of the hotels wouldn't let her do
reggae. So she left the hotels and started singing with the City
Heat band, touring Jamaica. She quit that band a couple years
later when producer Handel Tucker suggested that she record some
original material. However, her single, "Change Of
Heart," failed to take off, so she accepted an offer to tour
Europe and the U.S. with Shabba Ranks.
By chance her
demo tracks came to the attention of Columbia Record's Maxine
Stowe. She ended up doing "Stir It Up" which was
accepted for the movie "Cool Runnings". After her
appearance on the Notorious B.I.G.'s 1994 album "Ready to
Die", Diana King received a contract with the Work label.
"Tougher Than Love", her debut album was recorded and/or
mixed at Sony Studios, the Quad Studios, and Battery Studios, and
the Loft in New York. Diana poured her heart and soul into the ten
tracks combining the exuberant syncopated energy of hip-hop and
dancehall reggae with the dynamic emotional range of pure R&B.
"Shy Guy" the first single from the album was produced
with Andy Marvel; he asked her what type of guy she liked and she
answered "a shy guy". So she wrote the lyrics and he
wrote the music.
King-Marvel collaboration, "Love Triangle," was
triggered by a real life experience. Waiting for a train, Diana
met two girls with whom she struck up a conversation, one of the
girls had a boyfriend in jail who was coming out soon, but in the
meantime she had met another guy and didn't know what to do. That
was the same day that she was writing the song and thought "I
should really do this song, because I'm sure a lot of women could
probably relate to it." "Ain't Nobody" a remake of
a Chaka Khan song was recorded and mixed at Tuff Gong and
Mainstreet in Jamaica. She is one of the most gifted female
vocalists to emerge from Jamaica in memory.
Albums: 95 "Tougher
Than Love", 97 "Think Like A Girl"